I love the fact that there all of these new American Muscle cars, despite having the power to rip up a drag strip, are also incredible track cars. For some reason the ‘only fast in a straight line’ stereotype is still at large, but cars like the Mustang are now embracing aerodynamics and weight saving tactics to compete against their Euro and Jap counterparts.
The new Mustang GT500 will be no different, with its talents still laying on almost any track you throw at it. But Ford has given this car a strange limitation: a 180mph top speed. Because of this, competition such as the Challenger can easily outrun the Pony Car, in this example, by over 20mph.
Jalopnik asked Ford about this, here’s what they said:
“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.”
To summarise, it’s fair to say that anything over 180mph is useless, so pushing the car over that limit is a waste of resources for Ford. Not only that, but as the top speed increases, so does the need to have tyres that can deal with the higher speed, a suspension system that allows for high speed control, and aerodynamics that keeps the car planted at around 200mph. Without having to think about those listed, Ford can focus on 180 and below.
For example, Ford have put plenty of time and effort into maximising cooling and air movement at the front of the car. They worked their way through 500 3D models to optimise its efficiency so it can stay cool, calm, and collected while being pummelled on a track.
At the rear, they’ve optimised downforce to give it the most downforce ever to find its way onto a street legal Mustang. So while, yes, it hasn’t got the top speed of its rivals, I think Ford is more than confident that it won’t make a difference when it comes down to it.