Dale Amy
January 4, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense:
Though the late-model Shelby has become Evolution Performance's primary breadwinner, the company's website (www.evoperform.com) also lists goodies for '05-and-up Mustang GTs and V-6s, and F-150s, along with the Edge and Lincoln MKX.

In terms of Mustang drag-racing lore on the world-wide web, the black 2007 Shelby GT500 campaigned in NMRA by Evolution Performance has earned itself quite a reputation, while probably also adding quite handsomely to the company's bottom line in the process. But credit where credit is due: that menacing black snake out of Aston, Pennsylvania, was proclaimed to be the first GT500 in the 8-second club, having crossed that ballistic barrier in surprisingly stock form, right down to its factory short-block and full interior. That kind of performance garners both attention and customers.

But, hey, why stop at the 8s? Well, in terms of the black car, there were two good reasons: traction and safety, though not necessarily in that order. With those things in mind-along with higher horsepower and even quicker e.t. goals-in November 2008, the crew at Evo acquired another '07 GT500 and promptly sent it off to S&W Race Cars (of Spring City, Pennsylvania) to be back-halved and have a serious funny-car cage installed. This second '07 was, in other words, built for strip duty (though it remains street-licensed.) And while basic black is indeed menacing and understated, we magazine types tend to prefer brighter hues, so they sprayed this one in Grabber Blue with red stripes, probably in an unabashed attempt to get our attention. And yours. So, yes, it worked but, to be honest, for a car with credentials like this one's, we wouldn't have cared if it was painted at all.

Traditionally, Evolution has harnessed twin-screw or Eaton TVS superchargers (along with in-house tuning) to service the forced-induction needs of its GT500 customers (who now constitute about 70 percent of the company's business, according to Evo's Fred Cook.) But for the speed needs of the new Grabber car, they opted for a twin-turbo setup that originally saw duty on the black GT500 for a couple months in 2008. The hairdryer duo consists of a pair of 67mm units from Precision Turbo which, at around 23 pounds of boost, help deliver a monstrous 1,272 hp to the rear wheels through a relatively inefficient Turbo 400 tranny. Fred informs us its flywheel output is 1,550 ponies.

Though a factory GT500's 5.4-liter bottom end is undeniably strong, it's likely not that strong, so the Evolution crew got the wrenches out and built a new one in-house for the Grabber Blue car. Whereas the company's black '07 still uses a stock iron short-block, this new car's foundation began with an FRPP Ford GT aluminum block, filled with race-ready reciprocating hardware detailed in our spec box. Along with all the other turbo plumbing, Evolution designed and built the aluminum "top hat" that sits above the stock-style (but ported) intake manifold/intercooler assembly. This directs air into heads that were CNC ported in-house, and are fed by 160-lb/hr injectors.

This straight-line Shelby was built over the winter and finished just in time to head south for the NMRA '09 season opener in Bradenton. On the way, the crew stopped at a track in Georgia for a couple shakedown passes by Evo's shoe Nelson Whitlock. Fred Cook tells us that-right off the trailer and with a safe 14 psi of boost-the car's debut pass was an 8.70. By only its fifth pass, with more boost but no chassis tweaking, that was whittled down to 7.89 seconds at 175 mph, with a 1.19 60-foot.

An upgrade to 76mm turbos is in the works as we write this, hopefully as a means of achieving the 6-second goal set for the car. Not a regular NMRA competitor, this Shelby is more of an exhibition piece running at select venues, an example being the Speed Channel's PINKS All Out event at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek last July. Still, getting the company's GT500 into the rarified atmosphere of the 6-second club certainly wouldn't be bad for business.