Ford continues to define power and performance with its 2020 Shelby GT500, capable of 0-100-0 in 10.6 seconds. Take a moment to let that sink in.
From a standstill, the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine gives the GT500 enough power to reach 100 mph by sending 625 ft-lb of torque through the transmission and carbon fiber driveshaft to the 3.73:1 Torsen limited-slip differential and independent rear suspension before it returns to a stop in just 10.6 seconds thanks to the largest front brakes seen on any domestic sports coupe.
To get up to 100 mph quickly, Ford knew the car needed a gearbox that would be capable of applying the power and offer maximum driver control.
The GT500 received the controversial Tremec TR-9070 DCT 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the result of a collaboration between Ford Performance engineers and Tremec.
“In many ways, this is like having two transmissions in one,” said Pat Morgan, Ford Performance powertrain manager.
“On one hand, it enables performance at the outer reaches of straight-line quickness with minimal torque interruption, yet provides an incredible amount of finesse and control in track environments for maximum stability and predictability at the limits of lateral acceleration.”
The TR-9070 DCT dual-clutch transmission is a wet clutch system that utilizes five friction plates in the odd-gear pack for a total of 155 square inches of surface area. The even-gear pack has 136 square inches of surface area with six friction plates.
According to Ford, the clutch surfaces receive transmission fluid only during thermal events for optimal cooling and minimal parasitic loss.
Additionally, seven non-sequential helical forward gears with advanced triple cone synchros match the engine’s torque curve. They are pre-selected by an electrohydraulic shift mechanism using energy-efficient low-leak solenoids.
“Contrary to popular belief, fast shifts do not always equate to better road performance,” said Morgan. The transmission emulates professional drivers in various driving situations to deliver the perfect shift each time.
Shift points and clutch modulation is orchestrated by a computer-controlled mechatronics system that simultaneously reads dozens of vehicle and environmental factors. These factors include clutch and shift fork positions, engine and transmission RPM, to driver input and g-forces to pre-select and engage the optimum shift for every driving situation.
Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are wired directly to the transmission to avoid CAN-bus vehicle communication system delays. As a result, shifts occur as fast as 130 milliseconds, which further enhances its responsiveness and connected feel.
“Every aspect of the Shelby GT500 driving experience changes with the mode,” said Morgan. He added that the drive modes create a multi-sensory visceral experience for the driver by altering ride dampening, stability control, anti-lock brake modulation, steering feel, and the sound.
Selectable drive modes also influence transmission shift points.
Normal mode is for everyday driving with moderated gears and seamless shift timing. Shift timing is reduced about 20-percent in Sport mode, and throttle tip-in is more responsive while RPM ranges extend longer into the maximum torque curve.
According to Ford, by selecting the Track or Drag mode, the shift characteristics are further altered for performance.
For straight-line performance, “over-torque” shifts allow for uninterrupted power during gear changes. The method is similar to powershifts that give an extra torque hit in between upshifts.
Once the GT500 goes into a turn, the transmission adapts for smooth, quick and seamless shifts that ensure maximum lateral g cornering by minimizing driveline disturbances.
Track Apps let GT500 drivers utilize RPM-selectable launch control and electronic line-lock to deliver optimum quarter-mile runs.
Because enthusiasts designed the car, the GT500 also features an always-on pseudo launch control that enables spirited launches at any time without having to select a drive mode.
According to Ford, pricing for the 2020 Shelby GT500 starts at $73,995 with $1,095 destination fee and $2,600 gas guzzler tax. Additionally, horsepower and torque ratings are based on the use of premium fuel per SAE J1349 standard; actual performance may vary.