In designing the 2020 Shelby GT500 that is set to be introduced this fall, Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn leveraged its design simulation tools, including the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, N.C., and rapid 3-D prototyping systems at its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford Township to validate and streamline the design process. In addition, the automaker utilized its wind tunnels in Michigan and the wind shear rolling wind tunnel in Concord to test various design concepts.
The Shelby GT500 team also ran extended high-speed tests on such racetracks as GingerMan Raceway west of Kalamazoo; Virginia International Raceway north of Durham; and NOLA Motorsports Park southwest of New Orleans.
In turn, more than 500 3-D cooling and aerodynamic designs were analyzed to maximize aero performance and cooling, with more advanced design models driven on full chassis simulators at the Ford technical center with professional racing drivers. Key modeling simulations included cooling systems, front fascia and splitter designs, along with brake ducting, rear spoiler designs, and a large 6.03-square-foot louvered hood vent.
Speeding development time, the most promising designs were printed in a matter of days, not months, allowing the team to increase the fidelity of performance and aerodynamic refinement. For example, more than 10 front splitter wickers were printed and tested, some with minute modifications to perfect their design, with multiple versions of parts simultaneously sent out for track evaluation.
The team achieved maximum rear downforce of 550 pounds at 180 mph, leveraging the Mustang GT4 race-proven rear track wing to deliver the most downforce ever on a street-legal Mustang with available Carbon Fiber Track Package. An innovative new rear spoiler design, standard on the base 2020 Shelby GT500 and known by the aero team as “the swing” – a hybrid between a spoiler and a wing – is a result of the advanced simulations and prototyping process. With available Handling Package and Gurney flap (also known as a wicker bill) installed, the swing works to deliver 379 pounds of rear downforce at 180 mph.
High-performance cooling targets also factored into the design and virtual testing to help ensure consistent heat management and power delivery over extended sessions at the track. This includes a new performance fascia design that doubles the front opening volume and increases cooling pack airflow through six heat exchangers at top speed by 50 percent versus the existing Mustang GT350 design.
A removable rain tray further aids cooling and works to reduce under-hood air pressure at high speeds, while a Shelby-specific rear diffuser helps channel under-car airflow.
A new dual-side thermostat routes coolant to a new auxiliary radiator, and a 600-watt brushless electric fan motor and performance aero fan shroud with 16 speed flaps improves cooling pack airflow while mitigating drag and front-end lift. Two new race-style oil and transmission coolers further improve powertrain cooling.
“This all-new aero design merges state-of-the-art design and materials technology with the craftsmanship of Ford racing expertise to create the most aero-capable Mustang ever,” says Steve Thompson, Ford Performance vehicle dynamics engineer. “It’s powerful, balanced, and consistent – even over extended track runs – which works to deliver more fun and greater confidence for drivers.”
The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 goes on sale this fall.
In related news, Ford today announced Grabber Lime as a new exterior color for the 2020 Mustang, which was inspired by a vintage Mustang color from the 1970s. Other available colors for the vehicle, which will go on sale in the fall, include Twister Orange, Iconic Silver, and Red Hot Metallic. The colors also will be available on Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500 models.