Pete Epple Technical Editor
November 15, 2011
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

Rumors have been flying on the Internet for months as people have speculated about Ford's next iteration of the car that bares Carroll Shelby's name. With Brand X releasing more and more powerful American muscle cars, we hoped Ford would answer back. Looking at the 2011 and 2012 GT500s, it was hard to imagine how Ford could improve. With 650hp and a top of over 200 mph, it succeeded with flying colors!

"SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights," said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. "We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car - whether it's 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs."

Power comes from a larger-displacement (5.4L-based) 5.8L supercharged DOHC V-8 engine. Atop the new mill sits a TVS2300 2.3L supercharger. The upgraded supercharger uses Eaton's TVS rotor pack in a blower housing designed specifically for the GT500. The entire cooling system has been redesigned for the larger engine, including a larger electric fan and shroud, larger volume intercooler, higher-flow intercooler pump, and a more efficient heat exchanger.

The driveline has also received some significant changes for 2013. Almost every gear in the six-speed manual transmission has been changed to optimize performance and fuel efficiency. The transmission has been upgraded with new gears, bearing, and stronger housing to handle the added torque. The final drive gear is 3.31:1, which was picked to optimize overall vehicle gearing. The end result is a vehicle that has loads of power torque at any point in the rev range, and a top speed of over 200 mph.

"It might just seem like we're putting a bigger engine into the car. But it's been a balanced approach through and through," said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. "We've completely redone the car to be even more sophisticated in terms of handling and control than the prior model."

Other keys for improved traction management include:

  • Torsen limited-slip differential: When customers order the optional Performance Package, they will get a Torsen limited-slip differential that helps the rear suspension deliver maximum torque and traction better and longer under track conditions
  • Launch control: A new launch control system lets drivers set the desired launch rpm depending on tire temperature, street surface or other conditions. Unique to SVT's launch control is that it is integrated with both the engine control and traction control
  • Brembo braking system: A new Brembo brake system offers drivers enhanced stopping power to help keep their car under control, both on the road and the track. New six-piston calipers in front along with larger front and rear rotors help improve brake fade. New brake pads that are more aggressive also help the car achieve high deceleration and further robustness for more driver confidence

Ford has also made the GT500 available with two optional Performance Packs. The first will feature electric Bilstein shocks, which have two driving options that are accessible with a button on the dash. The Normal setting gives drivers a comfortable ride for everyday use. When you hit Sport mode, it's all about performance. Dampers change internally to give you a stiffer, more performance oriented ride, body roll is reduced, as well as nosedive under braking. The Performance Pack also comes with a Torsen limited-slip differential.

"The adjustable shocks let us develop our car on the track without any compromise," said Kerry Baldori, Ford SVT Global Performance Vehicles chief engineer. "Before, we had to tune the car with street implications in mind. Now we can go as extreme as we want on the track setting and still offer the customer a comfortable ride on the road."

The Performance Pack can be further upgraded with a Track Pack for all-out performance. The Track Pack adds and external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler, and transmission cooler to further increase durability

The 2013 Shelby is the most powerful and technologically advanced Mustang to ever roll off the assemble line. Although we said it last year, how can Ford improve on the 2013?

For more information and an exclusive 2013 GT500 development story, check out the February issue of Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords magazine on sale December 27th 2011.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery