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Details of 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 - World's Most Powerful Production V8

The day before the opening of media days at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford has spilled the details about the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, which it is calling the world's most powerful production V8.

Sometimes you have fast and then what some people lovingly refer to as stupid fast. That would be the case with the details coming out about the 2013 Shelby GT500's 5.8-liter V8 aluminum-block engine that produces 650 horsepower and 600 lb. ft. of torque.

There's a line from the Spiderman movies that is apropos to the new Shelby: "With great power comes great responsibility." It applies here because with great horsepower comes the responsibility to make sure the underlying vehicle can handle it and not shred parts under massive amounts of torque.

Nearly every part of the powertrain has been optimized for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle. A larger, more-efficient supercharger flowing more air through the engine is key to helping produce the 650 horsepower. The new TVS series 2300 creates 2.3 liters of displacement and is a unique design to the 5.8-liter engine. The entire cooling system has been significantly updated. It now includes a larger cooling fan, fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, a more efficient charge air cooler, a higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger with volume increased 36 percent.

A key piece of the driveline, the six-speed manual transmission, offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing so it can properly manage the torque. The final drive ratio is now 3.31:1 for optimized overall vehicle gearing to complement the massive torque. Every gear besides fourth was optimized for competing performance metrics. The clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity and uses a dual-disc design.

In addition to great acceleration, the world's most powerful production V8 needs to be able to stop pretty quickly, too. A new Brembo brake system offers enhanced stopping power. New six-piston calipers in front along with larger front and rear rotors help improve brake fade. New brake pads that are more aggressive also help the car achieve high deceleration and further robustness for more driver confidence.

Looking for a way to shred through the Goodyear Eagle® F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires? A new launch control system lets drivers set the desired launch rpm depending on tire temperature, street surface or other conditions. Unique to SVT's launch control is that it is integrated with both the engine control and traction control.

The 2013 Shelby GT500 comes with two optional track packages for customers ready to take the action off the street once in a while. Available as part of the optional Performance Package, SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers are accessed on the dash with a simple push of a button. Normal mode gives customers a more comfortable ride. Sport mode is all about performance, delivering improved response time on the track and less body roll while cornering and pitch under braking. The Torsen limited-slip differential also comes with the Performance Package.

Enthusiasts can upgrade their Performance Package with an additional Track Package for all-out performance because, you know, sometimes 650 horsepower just isn't enough. The option comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability. The coolers play an essential role in preventing crucial components from overheating under high-speed conditions.

Want to hear one of the most amazing details about the 2012 Shelby GT500? It has the most powerful production V8 in the world but the 3,850-pound car also stays exempt from the gas-guzzler tax. (Once again fuel efficiency manages to creep into a discussion about freakishly fast cars.) Ford did not release fuel economy figures for the car but the Shelby would have to get above a combined 22.0 mpg to be exempt.