Unfortunately, Ford still isn't telling us how much horsepower and torque this thing is going to have beyond the "over 700" figure we were told at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford engineers did tell us it's running sub-11-second quarter miles, though. So, yes, it's going to be fast. We know it's going to be fast around a road course, too, because Ford also told us it's the "fastest production Mustang left and right." This suggests the GT500 is going to behave like a more buttoned-down GT350R, except with an extra 200 horsepower. Breathing intensifies.
Matt Titus, a Ford Performance engineer who worked on the aerodynamics of the GT500, said this about the aero package: "We took everything we learned on GT350, and turned it up."
Vehicles like the last Shelby GT500 or Corvette Z06 take a lot of courage and skill to drive fast, but Ford appears to be appealing to a broader audience with this GT500. Said Titus, "We want this car to be available for everyone to drive fast near the limit." We'll learn how that effort turned out when we get behind the wheel for the first time.
Cooling was a major concern for Ford now that forced induction and all the extra power is on tap. The front opening for airflow is double what the GT350 offered. Larger coolers (oil, transmission, etc.) and heat exchangers are hidden behind the new front fascia along with a new 600-watt electric fan that's much larger than before. Ford says the temperatures get so hot that it decided to go to the F-Series Super Duty parts bin for the thermostat. There are two radiators sitting behind the new metal mesh grille to enhance cooling even more. Large brake ducts start in the front bumper to direct air toward those massive discs, too.
The hood vent is also the largest ever implemented on a Mustang, and it even needs its own rain tray. Ford suggests that you leave the rain tray in if you're going to park it outside or drive it while it's raining. Otherwise you risk water entering the engine bay and getting down into areas where it shouldn't be. This step of rain-proofing your brand-new car is a bit comical, but it's actually something engineers pushed hard for in order to get optimal cooling from the engine. You can take solace in the fact that your massive hood vents are 100 percent functional, unlike the fake ones shamefully found on many sports cars. We asked what you should do if it started to rain during a track day. The answer is to leave the rain tray out when on the track, but cover those holes back up after coming into the paddock.
This rain tray conundrum is part of the car's character. There are two settings to drive the GT500 in: track and street. For normal driving the rain tray goes in; the lowest front splitter pieces come off, and the massive wing can be set to its lower downforce position. You'll get the best fuel economy with this low downforce setup, but who cares about fuel economy when there's over 700 horsepower on tap.