First Privately Owned 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Confirms Drag Strip Abilities
When Ford Motor Company introduced the next chapter in the story of the fabled Shelby GT500 Mustang, the automotive world knew that it was going to be quick. When we learned that it had 760 horsepower and a standard dual-clutch automatic transmission, some Ford fans suggested that it might be able to beat the 797-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye in a drag race. However, with “only” 625 lb-ft of torque and a higher-than-expected curb weight of 4,225 pounds, a race between the GT500 and the Redeye didn’t have an obvious winner on paper.
Fortunately, when YouTuber Speed Phenom was driving his 2020 Shelby GT500 Mustang back to Southern California from the dealership in Michigan, he stopped at a drag strip in Texas. With some help from veteran racers at the track, the young Shelby Mustang owner was able to turn out some pretty impressive times – times that rival those of the Redeye Challenger.
First GT500 at the Track
If you have followed the reviews of the new Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, you likely know that hot shoe reviewer and pro Mustang drag racer Evan Smith ran a 10.61 with one of the preproduction test cars. Smith knows how to go fast on the drag strip and he proved that with the new Shelby Mustang. That 10.61 is easily quick enough to challenge the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, but that number was run in a controlled environment by a professional driver who is known for setting insane records with street cars. Smith run left many people wondering what a privately owned GT500 would run with someone who isn’t a pro at the wheel.
Fortunately, YouTuber Speed Phenom was one of the first people in the world to take delivery of a new 2020 Mustang GT500. He may have been the very first, but we don’t know that for sure. He was definitely the first owner to make it publicly known, so as far as we know, this young Ford lover was the first GT500 buyer in the world to receive his car.
After picking the car up in Michigan, he began the long drive to his home in Southern California. Along the way, he stopped in Texas for a private drag strip rental. He started off the day with a passenger providing some key information on how to drag race, running in the 10.90s. Without a passenger, he ran in the 10.70s before lowering his tire pressure, at which point he ran a 10.66 at 132.96 miles per hour.
Since these are the only quarter mile times for a privately owned GT500, his best number is officially the world record, but he has set the bar high with a strong number. This inexperienced drag racer, albeit in good air and on a good track, ran within a half-tenth of a second of Evan Smith’s number. You can check out the Speed Phenom track video below.
We are likely to see quicker stock times for the GT500 as more owners take delivery of their cars and get some seat time. Once some of those owners get drag radials, we expect to see times dip into the lower 10-second range and with some basic upgrades such as a pulley and a tune, we can expect to see new GT500s in the 9s.
Battling the Redeye
The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has proven itself of being capable of running 10.60s in good air with the stock tires. Those numbers are possible with the Challenger Redeye, but the Dodge comes with a much lower quality stock tire. Because of that, many Redeye owners quickly upgrade to something stickier and few bother to run on the stock Pirelli tires. As a result, we are likely to see quicker stock times for the GT500 than the Redeye, as the Shelby Mustang has a big advantage with the Michelin tires.
However, Redeyes with drag radials are running in the low 10s, which is where we expect the GT500 to be with drag radials. In other words, a drag race between the new GT500 and the Hellcat Challenger Redeye should come down to a driver’s race, with the launch making all the difference in who wins. A Redeye with good tires should be able to beat the GT500 with stock tires. When both cars have drag radials, every race will come down to who gets out of the hole harder.
It is a great time to be a fan of the American muscle car.
Patrick Rall is a professional writer and photographer with a passion for all things automotive. Patrick has been sharing his automotive expertise in automotive journalism from Detroit for more than a decade covering the Big Three. Having grown up in his father’s performance shop, he spent extensive time at the oval track and drag strip – both driving and wrenching on various types of vehicles. In addition to working as a writer, Patrick previously worked as an automotive technician before moving on to a business office position with a chain of dealerships, and this broad spectrum of experience in the industry allows him to offer a unique look on the automotive world. Follow Patrick on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.