There are still a lot of specifics we don’t really know about the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Other than the fact it’ll be the most powerful production Ford ever, “more than 700 horsepower” is as much as we’ve got so far.
However, Ford has released a bunch of new, juicy tidbits to tired us over, and hidden among it all is one particularly juicy nugget - the GT500 will have a limited top speed.
Now, at 180mph it isn’t exactly slow, but it’s interesting to note because manufacturers like to use top speed for bragging rights. For reference, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat can scoot past 200mph.
Jalopnik got in touch with Ford to ask why the top speed was limited. Here’s what they were told:
“Our Ford Performance engineers and professional drivers were given a goal of making the all-new Shelby GT500 as fast as possible at both road courses and the drag strip, all while remaining comfortable and engaging on the open road.
“The GT500 also had to flatter the novice while rewarding the most skilled drivers. The top speed of the GT500 supports the best drivers at every track the vehicle was tested at, in both physical and virtual form, without compromising the other attributes of the car.”
The spokesperson also told them 180mph was a higher speed than their professional drivers managed to achieve at any of the tracks or drag strips they tested at, either in the real world or in simulations.
Simply put, Ford was more concerned with making it incredibly capable on track than giving owners top speed bragging rights, and a bunch of new details demonstrate how they achieved that.
The simple answer is a huge focus on downforce and cooling. Ford says it spent most of its time optimising cooling at the front of the car, working through more than 500 3D models to constantly optimise airflow.
At the rear, a Mustang GT4 racer-inspired wing is available as part of the Track Package to help offer the most downforce ever seen on a street-legal ‘Stang.
So while it might not outrun its rivals on an infinite salt plain, it looks like Ford’s pretty confident it’ll blitz their lap times on any given race track.