DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 1, 2009 – The new 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 delivers the most power and refinement ever for a Ford SVT-tuned performance Mustang – and a few surprises, too.
“We’re proud of the many enhancements that were developed jointly by the Ford and Shelby Automobiles team last year that we’ve now incorporated into the new 2010 Shelby GT500,” said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby Automobiles. “Building on what we learned to create the Shelby GT500KR, this new car offers a great combination of power, handling and braking. It is truly a special car that is a great deal of fun to drive.”
The 2010 Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine expected to produce 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. The redline is 6,250 rpm. The car’s aluminum power dome hood not only adds to the Shelby’s appearance, it helps cool the engine through a hood extractor.
The Shelby’s open-element air induction system features a conical air filter instead of a flat-panel closed system to reduce air restriction. This approach allows more air to be pumped through the engine, producing more power and increasing the engine’s efficiency. A cold-air intake feeds the coolest air possible directly into the air box, helping further increase horsepower. The intake necessitated moving the Cobra snake badge to the other side of the grille to enable maximum airflow.
The twin-disc clutch on the six-speed manual transmission has been significantly upgraded, improving drivability and NVH. The discs on the 2010 Shelby GT500 are larger – 250 mm in diameter compared with 215 mm in diameter on the outgoing model – and made of copper and fiberglass to make them more robust.
A unique component of the twin-disc system is the control of the intermediate disc. Rather than floating, it instead has six straps that control the engagement of the clutch, improving drivability.
The 2010 Shelby GT500 offers customers improved straight-line acceleration, plus fuel savings when cruising on the highway in the top gears. Gears 1-4 remain the same, but fifth gear changes from .80 to .74 while sixth gear goes from .63 to .50, meaning that the 2010 Shelby GT500 will turn lower engine RPMs in those gears and deliver improved fuel efficiency. The new final drive ratio, from 3.31 to 3.55, enables the improved acceleration in lower gears while complementing the revised fifth and sixth gear ratios.
Driving dynamics also are improved, thanks to SVT’s signature chassis tuning as well as new 19-inch Goodyear F1 Supercar tires and forged aluminum wheels on the 2010 Shelby GT500 coupe and 18s on the convertible. Spring and dampers have been optimized for better roll control, giving customers more confidence when braking, accelerating or turning. The new chassis tuning takes its philosophy from the KR program, with a greater emphasis placed on primary body control.
Numerous aerodynamic upgrades, including a redesigned splitter, were made to the front end of the 2010 Shelby GT500. “We worked hard to get as much downforce with as little drag as possible,” Baldori said. “We worked to seal off the air that comes in the front so it can’t go underneath the car. We spent a lot time sealing components such as the radiator and intercoolor to get rid of all the leak paths. “The result of this evolution of aerodynamics is we’ve increased downforce, reduced drag and improved the overall efficiency of the 2010 Shelby GT500.”
Directing the air so it’s used most efficiently was a painstaking process that ultimately will be rewarding to customers. The design of the front fascia and the car’s “flush” hood helps focus air flow. The top grille focuses air into the radiator, with a rubber flap inside the engine compartment helping to seal the system. The lower grille helps cool the intercooler. SVT engineers also went as far to block off specific diamonds in the front of the 2010 Shelby GT500’s distinctive grille to help maintain the correct cooling and aerodynamic balance.
The base 2010 Mustang received a powerful new interior design. For the GT500, the interior design team members challenged themselves to raise the bar even higher to create the ultimate Shelby Mustang interior.
Using genuine materials such as real leather in all seats, real aluminum on the instrument panel and Alcantara inserts on the seats and steering wheel gave the appearance a precisely crafted, jewel-like yet functional feel. “You’ll definitely know you’re in a Shelby,” said Douglas Gaffka, Chief Designer, Shelby GT500.
The genuine aluminum finish panels have a unique-to-GT500 three-dimensional dimpled texture pattern inspired by racing clutch plates, braided hoses and cross-drilled racing brake rotors. The pattern has been painstakingly tuned to compensate for the compound curvature of the instrument panels. In addition, the “GT500” logo has been discretely engraved into the aluminum in front of the passenger as a nod to classic Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s.
This unique aluminum finish panel is fully encapsulated by an exquisite soft seamless TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) instrument panel with a shape that resonates with Mustang’s powerful heritage. The center stack flows into the console and features a sub-flush shifter trim ring, flush cup holder door and lockable console stowage featuring the word “SHELBY” engraved in its Satin Liquid Chrome release button.
All 2010 Mustangs and Shelbys feature bright 360-degree rings surrounding the gauge cluster, uninterrupted by the steering column. These rings will come in chrome for the Mustang and a Satin Liquid Chrome finish for the GT500. This finish is featured throughout the interior. An intricate cobra is etched into the center of the aluminum steering wheel badge. The Shelby Cobra appears at startup on the navigation screen, and the familiar red “SVT” logo utilizes new ambient lighting to illuminate the door scuffplate.
“When customers drive this car, they’re not only going to be impressed by the performance and the Shelby heritage, but they’re going to see all these carefully designed details and know they’ve bought a well-crafted car,” Saridakis said.
Even the classic white shift knob – an icon of Shelby Mustang DNA from years past – received special attention. First, it had to be the traditional white. It also had to be specific to the Shelby. The answer was to combine the racing-stripes theme with the traditional “H” pattern found on shifters to create a one-of-a-kind knob. Like the exterior, the racing stripes wrap from end to end, encircling the knob.
The 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms in spring. The cars will be built at the Auto Alliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.