Jarstang

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Tested: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Hauls Even on Street Tires

Ford's 760-hp Mustang GT500 accelerates even harder on its standard summer tires than it does on the optional track rubber, and it's no less exhilarating.

December 18, 2020

A car can only be as good as the tires it's wearing. Those four rubber donuts translate the driver's every intention into acceleration, braking, and cornering. So, it stands to reason that the most powerful Ford ever made—the 760-hp Mustang Shelby GT500—should be significantly better when it's wearing the stickiest tires available. In the GT500's case, that means plunking down an extra $18,500 for its Carbon Fiber Track Pack, which includes carbon-fiber wheels wrapped in gummy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.
HIGHS: A high point in the history of internal combustion;
sports-car handling; quicker, cheaper, and
just as fun without the track tires.

However, we've now spent two weeks with the latest mega Mustang on its standard Michelin Pilot Super Sports and can vouch that it delivers an experience just as exhilarating on these summer tires as when it's fitted with track rubber. We've previously tested the GT500 with its full go-fast outfit, so we have the seat time and the data to draw a complete comparison. Here's the big surprise: The GT500 gets off the line quicker and posts faster acceleration times on its standard street tires. At 3.4 seconds to 60 mph and 6.9 seconds to 100 mph, the Super Sports are good for two-tenths of a second compared to the Cup 2s.

Predictably, the advantage swings in the opposite direction—and by a much larger margin—when you look at its cornering grip. Equipped with the Track Pack, the GT500 posted a mind-scrambling 1.13 g's on the skidpad. The Super Sports managed a mere 0.99 g, although on both meandering back roads and our favorite local road course, these tires will trick you into believing they're cornering harder. We attribute that to the GT500's direct reflexes and finely balanced handling. The tires approach their limit of adhesion with predictable and easily controlled manners. The car will tend toward understeer if you enter a corner too fast and gentle oversteer if you rush the exit. In other words, it does exactly what it should do, with a precision and repeatability that reminds us of Porsche's best sports cars.

LOWS: None, nada, zip.

This car is so well-rounded that it's hard to pick out the star of the show. An engine that pulls with this much intensity and emits a bellow that can be heard for miles would be the obvious choice. But the excellence of its chassis is more unexpected, which strengthens the argument for giving it the nod. This car manages to feel hundreds of pounds lighter than its 4171-pound curb weight suggests. And the standard MagneRide dampers give the GT500 the uncanny ride quality of something costing three times its $74,095 base price. Then there's the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is so adept at picking the right gear it would disappear from this discussion altogether if its shifts weren't so perfectly punchy.

That the Shelby GT500 preserves its excellence on its standard street tires proves that there are no flaws hiding behind the immense grip of the optional track tires. The GT500 is a beautifully balanced car—an all-around performer with no glaring weaknesses even when the tires are limiting its full capabilities.

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CVCashmere

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If you can find one at that price...it is an awesome experience!

Now...where's the convertible version?

CVCashmere
 

Epiphany

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Egads, I hope they don't dilute this monster into a parade king. Monies are being diverted for electrification and as such I don't think you'll see an S550 GT500 ragtop variant.
 

Mikthehun1

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So track tires are optimized toward lateral rather than straight line grip? Aren't we so lucky that the heroes at C&D are doing this kind of hard hitting, no nonsense journalism :facepalm:

I wonder if drag radials and slicks are better for pure acceleration too 🤔
 

Epiphany

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To be fair, there have been a few others saying that the Cup2's provide better straight line acceleration.
 

SEERED

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So...
"That the Shelby GT500 preserves its excellence on its standard street tires proves that there are no flaws hiding behind the immense grip of the optional track tires. The GT500 is a beautifully balanced car—an all-around performer with no glaring weaknesses even when the tires are limiting its full capabilities."
When I look at Tire Rack, only 2 choices and 2 brands. Pirelli and Michelin. How long until a affordable (not crap) tire is available. I don't need a rain or snow tire just a "everymans" type tire and under $400 a corner.

Picky, picky...
 

V00D00

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If you recall, this time last year, we were hounded by the p***s that the hellcats, zl1 and c8s were gonna eat the cars lunch and give it wedgies in the parking lot.. Today, we can blindfoldedly throw a dart and find a review where the drivers/writers are astonoshgly thrilled with what the car is..
 

Hi-PO Stang

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The Ford engineers are getting the IRS figured out. A number of Ford engineers said just wait until we get an IRS to work with in the Mustang. I would say the Ford suspension engineers have learned real quick how to make the IRS work after having to work with a SRA for so long. I can hardly wait to see how well the Mach 1 will handle. I bet the Mach 1 will surprise a lot of auto writers.
 

Strokerswild

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Egads, I hope they don't dilute this monster into a parade king. Monies are being diverted for electrification and as such I don't think you'll see an S550 GT500 ragtop variant.
Agreed.

My '07 GT500 was a vert, biggest mistake of a car purchase I've ever made and I doubt I'll top it...
 

Seven

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So...
"That the Shelby GT500 preserves its excellence on its standard street tires proves that there are no flaws hiding behind the immense grip of the optional track tires. The GT500 is a beautifully balanced car—an all-around performer with no glaring weaknesses even when the tires are limiting its full capabilities."
When I look at Tire Rack, only 2 choices and 2 brands. Pirelli and Michelin. How long until a affordable (not crap) tire is available. I don't need a rain or snow tire just a "everymans" type tire and under $400 a corner.

Picky, picky...

Buy an $80K car and complain about $2k in tires :giggle:

Honestly the fact that they're still putting Super Sports on this type of car is crazy (and also shows how good the chassis and electronics are), the PS4S has been out for 2 years now (maybe more), but it's likely because of sizing and with that in mind...

Honestly, just do what more 350R folks do who want more street tire variety, go 325 in the rear.
This has little affect on anything and opens up to a TON more tires. 315s simply aren't a common size.

305/325 combo opens it up to PS4S, Goodyear SuperCar3 and Supercar3R, NT01s, Continental ExtremeContact Sport, some Hankook tires too (which Ventus V12s are your "cheap everyman tires" - they suck compared to PSS let alone something like a PS4S)

Personally if PS4S are too spendy for you, then buy the Contintentals, they reasonably priced and nice street tires, great in the wet also.
 

Epiphany

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All true.
 

1958cyclist

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Wanna really bend your mind...put a set of Hoosier Race boots on it...
 

Idaho2018GTPremium

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Great results and high praise - we've reached peak Pony car with this, the ZL1, and the Hellcat variants (although they have a different mission). 11.3 @ 132 mph is certainly quick on street tires and on an asphalt surface. 132 mph is really moving (although I realize that was the same speed as before)! And 60-100 mph in 3.5 seconds matches previous C&D tests (MotorTrend actually got 3.4 seconds 60-100 mph in their test).

I got a kick out of this, I don't think I've ever seen "none" on any car review in the past by C&D:
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That's interesting considering the 4,171 lbs weight. That would be a negative in my mind, even if it handles lighter than it weighs, it's still a bit unfortunate (I know, it is what it is though). The ZL1 A10 is 3,925 lbs, nearly 250 lbs lighter, but by no means would I consider the ZL1 a light car, although I guess it sort of is compared to the base GT500 and any of the Hellcat variants.

That GT500 is a great looking car, too. Ford did well.

All the comparison tests I've seen have been ZL1 1LE vs CFTP GT500. Has anyone seen a decent ZL1 vs. base GT500 comparison? I realize the ZL1 isn't as powerful and doesn't accelerate as quickly (but it's still very powerful), but I'm curious about C&D's, MT's, Road and Track, or another publications take on ZL1 vs. GT500 handling/driving dynamics, etc.
 

9secondko

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These guys can’t drive. If those are the best numbers they can put up, they should hand over the keys to those who genuinely push the car to find out why it’s made of.
 

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