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Review (2/2)

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Debuts As Most Powerful Production V8 in the World with 662 Horsepower, Top Speed of 200+ mph

Source: Ford | Published: Thu May 24, 2012

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The 5.8-liter V8 aluminum-block engine produces 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the highest-horsepower engine ever produced in North America. Nearly every part of the powertrain has been optimized for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, an all-forged engine rotating assembly, updated camshaft profiles, upgraded head gaskets, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.

A larger and more efficient supercharger helping flow more air through the engine is key to producing the 662 horsepower. The new Twin Vortices Series 2300 blower creates 2.3 liters of displacement and is a unique design to the 5.8-liter engine.

The entire cooling system has been significantly updated on the new 5.8-liter engine. It now includes a high-capacity cooling fan, fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, a more efficient charge air cooler, a higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger whose volume is increased 36 percent. These components harmonize to consistently dissipate heat under extreme-use conditions.

"Every change we made is an improvement in horsepower and in airflow," said Jeff Albers, SVT Powertrain team leader. "The other changes are about making sure the parts can withstand the pressures when the engine is making that power."

The supercharger design includes four lobes with a 160-degree twist and has a drive ratio that spins 2.64 times faster than the previous model. The inlet air volume also has been increased 33 percent. Boost has been increased from 9 to 14 psi.

Other modifications for improved power include an upgraded camshaft profile, similar to the Ford GT. The cam lift for the intake and exhaust has been increased for improved airflow. Additionally, the redline is held at 6,250 rpm continuously, but allows for an over-rev to 7,000 rpm for eight seconds to extend the time to shift so that acceleration is higher and 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times can be faster.

The diameter of the bore has been upped from 90.5 to 93.5 millimeters to increase displacement and the fuel injector flow has been increased nearly 10 percent to get an equivalent amount of fuel to accompany the extra air.

Once the engine was able to make the power and pressures were increased, SVT made changes to ensure the engine was durable under those conditions. The connecting rods have been redesigned with a tapered, small end where they attach to the pistons. This improved design supports the load on the dome of the piston more efficiently.

Cooling fan capacity has been increased and a higher-efficiency intercooler added to keep the air entering the engine as cool as possible. An efficient, high-capacity flow pump has been added. These measures manage temperatures under extreme conditions.

To ensure the coolant flow is well balanced cylinder to cylinder, the block and heads have been cross-drilled for water to flow through.

A single-piece carbon fiber driveshaft has been upgraded from the current two-piece steel design, which is lighter and stiffer and offers a higher torque capacity and improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) qualities.

"With the driveshaft we were able to eliminate a joint and add enough stiffness and drive capacity to get us to our top speed and handle the torque," said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. "The car makes so much power and torque that we needed to go through the entire driveline system to ensure it moves to the wheels in a manageable way."

The clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity and uses a dual-disc design. The diameter and clamp load have been increased and the clutch-facing material has been revised for additional resistance to burst and improved transfer of power.

Another key piece of the driveline, the transmission, offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing so it can properly manage the torque. The final drive ratio has been changed to 3.31:1 for optimized overall vehicle gearing to complement the high-powered torque produced. Every gear besides fourth has been optimized for competing performance metrics.

The engine also carries over the use of the state-of-the-art Plasma Transferred Wire Arc liner coating, a process that applies a 150-micron composite coating that contains nanoparticles on the internal surfaces of engine cylinder bores, replacing cast-iron liners typically used in aluminum engine blocks.

The new engine also continues to be exempt from the gas-guzzler tax, delivering a projected 15 mpg city, 24 mpg highway. That is 5 mpg better than the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Superior Ride

The new Shelby GT500 driving dynamics have been overhauled, now working in concert with Goodyear tires. New BremboT brakes with six-piston calipers in front and the new wheels also required unique suspension tuning to ensure everything works harmoniously.

Handling, all AdvanceTrac The previously available unique traction control system and electronic stability control settings help drivers achieve maximum performance whether on the street or the track. settings and steering assist levels within selectable steering also have been tuned to account for the updated content on the car.

Both systems can be completely disabled in controlled track situations where maximum driver skill is utilized, or fully engaged for safety during normal driving or in less-than-ideal traction conditions. Intermediate sport mode allows drivers to push their cars hard at the track without completely disabling the safety systems, permitting more aggressive driving before the traction control and electronic stability control systems intervene.

The upgraded Brembo brake system complements the other changes on the 2013 Shelby GT500 for control and fade-free stops in road and race situations. The new system has 380-millimeter front rotors. The rear comes with 350-millimeter rotors. Both are larger than the previous model.

A high-tech, user-friendly launch control system is part of the new functionality on Shelby GT500. The system lets drivers set the tach needle to a desired launch rpm depending on the tire temperature, street surface or other conditions. Floor the throttle and the engine will rev to the preset rpm until the clutch is released, helping with acceleration and vehicle control from a standing start.

Going Further

Sometimes Ford Shelby GT500 customers want to enjoy their car on surface streets. Other times they just want to let loose on the track. Two new optional packages on the 2013 car give them the choice.

"The adjustable dampers 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."

Available as part of the optional Performance Package, the feature is accessed on the dash with a simple push of a button. Normal mode gives customers a comfortable ride over road irregularities. Sport mode is all about performance, delivering improved response time on the track, and less body roll while cornering and pitch under braking. A Torsen limited-slip differential also comes with the Performance Package, which helps the rear suspension deliver torque and traction under the most demanding conditions on the track.

The monotube damper is key in giving drivers fade-free performance for extended hot laps. Typical dampers will fade and soften, so they don't handle as well - the monotube design prevents that from happening.

SVT worked with BilsteinT for nearly a year to fine-tune the technology for Shelby GT500, the first production application of the product in North America.

The Torsen limited-slip differential with a 2.8:1 torque bias ratio helps the rear suspension deliver torque and traction under the demanding conditions encountered on the track. The differential is instrumental in improving torque bias so that the level of traction is increased.

Enthusiasts can upgrade their Performance Package with an additional Track Package for all-out racetrack performance. The option comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability. The cooling package also circulates air from an area of high-pressure stagnation with a low impact to drag and lift. The coolers play an essential role in preventing crucial components from overheating under high-speed conditions.

"The standard cooling systems are more than adequate for spirited driving, but for avid racers or track-day fans, we've provisioned for an upgraded cooling package," said Albers. "It will cool the car in almost any condition and let it live up to its performance capabilities."

SVT engineering focused on making the coupe with the Track Package completely geared toward racetrack performance. That meant making the suspension have superior control in high-speed turns and dips.

Information at Your Fingertips

Key to helping Shelby GT500 customers take advantage of all the capability is the new productivity screen. The screen offers menu options, giving the customer important information related to vehicle performance. The menu is navigated through a five-way control button located on the steering wheel. The LCD is positioned between the tachometer and speedometer; the SVT logo greets the customer at key-on.

A dashboard screen provides vehicle status information for important driving parameters such as launch control, AdvanceTrac, selectable steering or the Bilstein damper setting. There's also a shift light that appears as the SVT logo that illuminates and chimes when the rpm shift is reached.

Also unique to the productivity screen is Track AppsT, which delivers performance metrics for drivers who want to put their car through its paces on the track.

An accelerometer shows the g-force the car is pulling from left to right. Drivers also can track their fastest times with the acceleration timer screen, which offers options including 0-30 mph, 0-60 mph, 0-100 mph, eighth-mile and quarter-mile. Both an automatic start and countdown start complete with a drag racing start light are available.

The brake performance screen indicates stopping time and distance for speeds of 60-0 or 100-0. The view/clear results screen lets drivers take a look at their top times, including their all-time best. They can also review their last results and saved results from the acceleration timer and brake performance screen.


The 2013 Shelby GT500 also includes upgraded cluster features to give drivers even more information. The speedometer is now set to 220 mph and an over-rev feature allows the engine to operate up to 7,000 rpm for eight seconds before decreasing back to 6,250 rpm.

Coupled with that feature is a dual-color tachometer that provides amber warning at redline, when the over-rev feature is engaged. Once the over-rev times out, the redline returns to red.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is built at AutoAlliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Mich., and is available now.

Ford Shelby GT500: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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