Ford set up a bunch of 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s with roll hoops/harness bars for our track testing and fitted them with six-point harnesses as well. As the nice Ford people helped clip me into the car for my run (it was like “wearing a backpack that’s strapped to a wall,” one Ford spokesperson remarked), I found myself wondering why all this was necessary. How fast would anyone actually be going? I certainly didn’t push the car hard enough to warrant such treatment.
(Full disclosure: Ford flew Jalopnik senior video producer Adam Milt and me out to Vegas to drive the GT500. It put us up in a nice hotel, paid for all our food and booze and rented out the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for us to use.)
We’ve seen the Shelby GT500, we’ve driven it, we’ve done burnouts in it and took it to a drag strip. Here are a few more driving impressions of it, but on video, so you can hear that sweet, sweet exhaust note.
Mostly, I’m excited to show you guys the on-track footage with Ford Performance Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Steve Thompson. As I have written before, I’m a huge fan of riding shotgun on a track session during these press drives when there’s a trained hot-shoe around. These people know the car and track much better than I do and are way better performance drivers than I am.
So, when it came time for me to go out with Thompson, I waved away the helpful hands that hovered near to tighten my harness in the passenger seat. It’s fine, I told them. This is fine.
Thompson cleared the pit lane, and because we were the first ones out on the track, nailed the throttle immediately toward the first corner. When he smashed on the brakes to take a corner, my whole torso flew forward. Beneath the exhilaration, fierce exasperation also bubbled up. I have fucked this up!
The GT500 roared through the corners, its grip just managing to catch what the engine put down. Inside, the sensation thundered between engaging in an aerial dogfight and a crazed pinball in an arcade machine.
Maybe it was because we just had more power, but Thompson’s lap was way more fun than the one I had with Mark Webber in a 992 Porsche 911 once. We weren’t wearing helmets or restraints for that, though.
All of this is on video. Go check it out!