After a daylong media drive, auto media and enthusiasts have only just opened the discussion on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Nevertheless, the only thing better than the great toy you have in your hands is the potentially greater toy you might one day get. That why, on a trip to the Shelby American Heritage Center during the GT500 launch, CarBuzz asked the folks at Shelby American how far they might push the GT500’s 5.2-liter supercharged Predator V8. Remember, Shelby already gets 800 horsepower out of the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 for its top-shelf Super Snake model, a gain of 340 hp over the current Mustang GT. It wasn’t a Shelby exec who answered the CarBuzz query, however, but Ford Performance marketing manager Jim Owens, who said, “at least 1,000 [horsepower.].” That sounds like an insider’s nod to how much firepower Ford left on the table waiting to be unlocked by a company like Shelby. An even four-figure number would, as with the Super Snake, add 240 hp to the stock GT500 tally.
Don’t expect the Super Snake to go away, though. CarBuzz also asked what such a car might be called, and this time Shelby answered. Company President Gary Patterson told the site that Super Snake belongs to models powered by the 5.0-liter V8. The Predator would need to be christened with something else, which “may be a new name, or may be a name from the past.”
Elsewhere on the same launch, The Drive cornered a Ford exec to ask about the 647-hp Ford GT. The regular, $450,000 GT is clearly Ford’s official halo car, right next to the track-only, 700-hp, $1.2 million GT Mk II. The standard GT has two more years to go to finish production, those years potentially out of the limelight since the coupe retired from racing. In the interim, the GT500’s supergiant star turn could outshine Ford’s intended angels by being the most powerful Ford to leave Dearborn, by being so close to so many GT performance specs, and by not yet having shown what’s its genuinely capable of. The GT500, for instance, is just 0.3 seconds shy of the GT’s 0 to 60 mph time and is faster through the quarter-mile even though the GT500 weighs 900 pounds more.
The unnamed Ford exec who spoke to The Drive explained the GT’s power figures as mandated by homologation rules, but now that competition concerns are moot, “Maybe we’re not done there.” When the outlet asked if there could be a road-legal GT Mk II or some other more aggressive variant on the way, the exec answered, “You’ll just have to wait.” On one hand, these could be artful deflections to forestall anyone trash-talking the GT for the moment. On the other, we’d be surprised Ford would let the GT stand still for two years in the face of in-house, cross-town, and overseas competition.