Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Bright and early on a Sunday morning of October 2019, I hopped into my rental car and drove the few miles from my hotel to Las Vegas Speedway. As I neared the speedway, I followed the signs leading to the Ford Performance Shelby GT500 Track Tour event. In the distance I could see a group of brand new 2020 Shelby GT500's waiting in the parking lot. I parked my econobox and hurried over to the registration tent, where I was assigned a group, and signed my life away on various track waivers.
When the event started, we found out that our group would be participating in each of three different areas: the road course, the product demonstration, and the drag strip. My group was to start at the road course, the first group out on track. Instead of previous events where a Ford Performance Racing School driver rode shotgun, this time the laps were lead follow. I put on my helmet and strapped on the modified HANS device, and climbed into my assigned vehicle, a Velocity Blue GT500 with the Carbon Fiber Track Pack and white vinyl stripes.
The first time around was a warm up lap, where we could follow the racing line of the lead car. The next couple of laps were more or less flat out, based on what the instructor observed in his rearview mirror. When I first heard the GT500 wasn't going to be offered with a proper manual transmission I was a bit disappointed. That is, until I drove it. The DCT transmission was always a step ahead of you, always in the right gear, and offered lightning fast shifts. So easy your grandmother can drive it, almost. The acceleration from the 760 horsepower supercharged 5.2L V8 is brutal. Stab the throttle, release, apply brakes, repeat. This car corners, too. Push it into a turn and hang on. The grip of the factory Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires holds the track, as the Recaro seats keep you in position, at insane speeds. Almost as quickly as it started, our track session was over.
After pulling into pit lane, we were instructed to move over to the passenger seat, while a driver from the Ford Performance Racing School took the wheel. As much fun as I had driving the car, the hot lap ride along was brutally awesome. There's no doubt in my mind they meant it when the new GT500 was labeled the "most track capable Mustang ever".
Next up was the product demonstration. In a huge garage filled with the latest and greatest vehicles from Ford Performance we were given a presentation on the parts that make the new GT500 what it is. If you've never hear Jim Owens from Ford Performance speak, you're missing out. His enthusiasm for Mustangs and the Ford brand is contagious.
The final stop on the tour was the drag strip. After a smoky demonstration of the line lock feature, we each made two passes down the 1/4 mile drag strip. The launch control in these cars is amazing. Press the foot brake, push the throttle to the floor, let off the brake, and hang on. The Shelby squats, hooks, and goes with no more than a little tire noise on the prepped track. The combination is good for some seriously impressive times. The record set during one of the media events was a 10.6 second 1/4 mile run at 132 MPH.
The GT500 Track Tour is a great advertisement of the vehicle's capabilities, in a setting that is sure to impress current Mustang owners and competitive brand owners alike.