Drew Phillips
September 1, 2009
Photos By: Mark Houlahan

Starting with the dragstrip, we eagerly hopped into the driver seat to see what the new Shelby could do. With the extra power and the more aggressive gearing we naturally hoped it to be faster than the '07-'09 model, but with relatively slick track conditions and a stiff head wind we had realistic expectations as well. At this point we were also able to experiment with Ford's AdvanceTrac three-stage stability control system. In default mode the electronic nanny intervenes when it senses tire slip, but it can also be set to "Sport" mode which allows for additional tire slip before interfering, as well as turned completely off. In our first run down the strip we left traction control fully on, but found that it didn't allow enough tire slip before cutting power to the rear wheels. Since we didn't have all day to practice the perfect launch, we settled on using Sport mode with a slow roll-off and eventually cracked the 12s with a 12.9 @ 110 mph. There's plenty of potential left in the Shelby, however. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, the best e.t. of the day was a 12.3, and we have no doubt that with the right driver and right conditions a stock '10 GT500 will be able to break into the 11s.

After the strip it was time to do some road racing. While we only had time to run a handful of laps, we still got a good impression of how the GT500 can handle the corners. Just like on public roads the day before, we felt the Shelby can handle the twisties much better than a two-ton vehicle should be able to. Steering is precise, quick, and accurate, and the car feels much more at home on a road course than the previous car. Kudos to Ford and SVT for building a GT500 that loves to hit apexes just as much as breaking the timing beams. Even on the ultra-tight figure eight course, the GT500 held its own. Despite the extra weight of the iron block V-8, the car was so well balanced that the front end never failed to pull around, and any hint of understeer could be resolved with a touch of trail-braking to settle the car.

Final Thoughts
So does the '10 GT500 live up to the Shelby name? A resounding, enthusiastic, and emphatic YES! Ford and SVT did everything we could have hoped for in the '10 GT500. It's faster because of the extra horsepower and torque, gets better fuel mileage thanks to the gearing, is more driveable due to the new clutch and shifter, handles better thanks to the suspension changes, has the best interior of any production Mustang, and looks like it will eat any car that gets in its way. With a base price of $48,175 (after destination charges and gas-guzzler tax), it's still plenty of bang for the buck too. The '10 GT500 more than lives up to the Shelby name, and will no doubt become just as much of a legend than the original.

The Details
The '10 Shelby GT500

Mechanical
Brakes
Power four-wheel discs with ABS (Brembo four-piston front calipers)Engine
- 5.4L DOHC Supercharged V-8Transmission
- Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual3.55 limited-slip rear axle

Safety & Security
Personal Safety System (seat belt pre-tensioners, load limiting retractors, dual stage front air bags, driver seat position sensing, and crash severity sensing)
AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control
- On, Sport, OffAirbags - Dual stage frontAirbags
- Side impactKeyless Entry - RemoteLatch (Lower Anchors & Tethers for CHildren) systemLighting
- Illuminated entrySecurity
- Anti-Theft Perimeter Alarm (incl. perimeter inclination & intrusion alarms)Security
- SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft (PATS)Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)Traction Control