The race of the pony cars is gathering pace, with Ford about to unleash its most powerful thoroughbred.

What is it?

The crowning jewel of the Mustang lineup, the Shelby GT500 will be the most powerful street-legal Ford production car ever made. But even that might not be enough to beat rivals.

It will jump into the stable to gallop against some of America’s most powerful muscle car machines – the 485kW Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, 527kW Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and upcoming 594kW Challenger Hellcat Redeye. Beyond straight-line speed, Ford has also been benchmarking it against svelte rivals like the Porsche 911 GT3 - could this be a dragster thats not scared of corners?

What will it look like?

Thanks to an insta-leak on social media last week we know a fair bit about what the new model will look like. Sitting on the stage for a dealer conference ahead of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week, the GT500 is easily distinguished by its opened front grille that extends all the way down to a double-tip front lip spoiler. Front and centre of the pumped-up pony car is the iconic laced Cobra emblem and flanking each side are unique air ram vents with thin LED fog lights.

The bonnet gets a unique flared air vent to feed the supercharged V8 and its black wheels will likely be carbon-fibre items fitted with street-legal racing rubber. Adding to the black theme are dark mirror caps and a big carbon-fibre rear-mounted GT wing.

Inside will be race buckets seats and a collection of GT500 emblems and bespoke trim elements to highlight the Shelby model.

What’s new?

Using the same 5.2-litre V8 block of the Mustang GT350 as a base – Ford’s most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 engine – blue oval boffins have strapped on a supercharger and dialled peak output up to "over 700hp" according to Ford. Documents leaked on MustangG6.com this year suggest power will be a stonking 537kW at a screaming 7500rpm, but Dodge’s recently announced Hellcat Redeye may force Ford’s hand to pump it up even further.

Mated to the engine is tipped to be a toughened six-speed manual and if an automatic option is made available the ten-speed unit used on less-powerful engines might be swapped for the race-ready seven-speed dual-clutch automatic featured on the Ford GT.

Reaching a top speed in excess of 320km/h the brakes behind the Australian-made carbon-fibre wheels will be oversized discs with huge Brembo callipers and controlling the driveline will be specially tuned electronic control dynamics to match a trick suspension set-up.

What’s on the wish list?

Ford seems to be ticking all of the boxes by creating a manual-equipped monster that we would just love to drive, so the wish list transcends from adding more parts and becomes a plea: please, Ford, bring this to Australia.

We asked the question to the local arm’s director of communications and, unfortunately, it looks like an Aussie GT500 is off the table.

When is it coming?

Though it appears to have already unveiled itself during a private conference for top US Ford dealer executives, the official public debut of the Mustang Shelby GT500 will be during the 2019 Detroit motor show.

Source: Drive

October 31, 2018