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Horsepower and torque are great but what makes for a well-balanced vehicle useful for track day drivers like us? 


Shelby American Mustang GT/SC

by Michael Allen


ShelbyGTSCfrontview2In case you haven’t noticed, there appears to be a new horsepower war going on among American automotive manufacturers.  Thankfully, we have drag strips and track days available because I cannot imagine the danger on our streets with all these 600 plus HP vehicles let loose.  Ford recently proclaimed themselves as the horsepower leader by announcing in a press release that the “2014 Ford Shelby GT500 is powered by an aluminum 5.8-liter supercharged V8 producing 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful production V8 engine in the world.”  Well, on July 1, 2014 Dodge announced the following.  “The all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT, with its supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat engine, produces an unprecedented 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful Challenger ever, Dodge's most powerful V-8 ever and the most powerful muscle car ever.”  707 horsepower?  The Chevy Camaro ZL1 makes only 580 horsepower.  Snore.


Horsepower and torque are great but what makes for a well-balanced vehicle useful for track day drivers like us?  Shelby American has a long history of road course racing experience, so let’s turn to them for some answers and maybe a little rationality too.  Shelby American was founded by Carroll Shelby in 1962.  Today they have a manufacturing facility located in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Current Mustang-based vehicles for sale directly from Shelby include the Shelby 1000, the Shelby SuperSnake, the Shelby GTS and the Shelby GT/SC.  If the Ford Motor Company Mustang Shelby GT500 with 662 HP is not enough, the SuperSnake boasts 850 HP.  If that is not enough, the Shelby 1000 has 1100 HP.  So why not call it the Shelby 1100?  The Shelby GTS is just a six cylinder, so let’s move on.  The 8 cylinder GT/SC is billed by Shelby American as the most well-balanced track day car that can also be used on the streets.  In fact, in a question and answer session with Gary Patterson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the company, here is what Patterson had to say:  “It is great that you are working on a story like this.  Shelby is clearly the answer for the performance enthusiast who wants a dual purpose vehicle to use daily with occasional track driving in mind.  The Shelby GT/SC would be the car that I would most recommend for driving daily and for track use.”


Here is the rest of our conversation:


How do Shelby enhancements make the Mustang more suitable for track days?


“The Shelby GT/SC starts with a Mustang GT and its fabulous 5.0 liter Coyote power plant.  We make the engine breathe better with a twin screw SuperchargerShelbyGTSCengine with improvements in power of 204HP (624HP total) and the vehicle is emission legal on pump gas.  We have an optional cooling system and several levels of brakes.  The suspension is tuned with new springs, struts and sway bars.  Tires and wheels are improved as well as featuring Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires which give an excellent road feel, very little road noise and great grip on the pavement.  The Brakes are 6 piston Wilwoods up front with 4 piston calipers in the rear. Combined, they give repeatable stops corner after corner.  For serious track days, dedicated track tires, competition pads and high temperature fluid are a must. Customers may want to go for the optional Watt’s link in the rear to further enhance out of the corner grip and feel.  The standard Shelby spec shifter gets the job done more reliably and has a very positive feel to it.”


Please list the most relevant features for HPDE performance and reliability.


“The features listed in the paragraph above certainly help with durability and reliability of critical components as used on the track.”


Who is your target audience for this car?


“Our target audience is enthusiasts that need and want a great dual purpose car that performs at an exceptional level while being a great investment.”


How are the cars tested?  Are they track tested?  Do you have lap times at benchmark tracks and how do they compare to regular Mustang models as well as others?


ShelbyGTSCwheel“The cars are track tested and demonstrated at various tracks throughout the country.  Although we don’t have lap time comparisons, we do have independent magazine tests which list performance numbers with the stock tires that the car is delivered with.  For example, 0-60 MPH is in the mid to upper 3s, the quarter mile is in the mid 11s @ 122mph and we get 1.05g on the skid pad.  As you would know, the most important thing with brakes is that they work and are repeatable in track situations lap after lap….not some 1 time stop from 60….. For best results track pads and high temp fluid are recommended.”


Is the car covered under a Ford warranty or your own warranty?  Is this warranty in force even if a car is driven on the track (not raced)?


“Most packages void the power train warranty.  However, extended warranties are available for additional cost.  Shelby warrants Shelby installed parts and labor for 12K miles or 1 year.”


Do you sell track packages and what do they consist of?  Are there options you recommend for track cars?


“I would make sure that you get the optional brakes and then specify competition pads.  A Watts link is best for road course types of cars.”  (Watt's linkage is used in the rear axle of suspensions as an improvement over the Panhard rod and is intended to prevent relative sideways motion between the axle and body of the car.  It is available from Shelby Performance Parts, Ed.)


How do your cars differ from the Mustang Shelby GT500, which seems to be a pretty potent vehicle sold directly by Ford?


“Our cars compare well to the Shelby GT500.  Although we have models like the SuperSnake and Shelby 1000 that clearly exceed the GT500’s 662HP (850HP to over 1000HP), the Shelby GT/SC is about balanced performance.  It gets better fuel economy and has less overall weight and has a better balance with brakes and cooling systems that are up to the task of road course racing.”


The Shelby GT/SC can be built based upon any 2011 to 2014 Mustang GT V8.  Depending upon a range of choices, horsepower can range from 525 with theShelbyGTSCplaque standard GT/SC Whipple supercharger to 624 with a larger Whipple supercharger or up to 725 with upgrades.  Shelby points out that at 725 HP, the GT/SC may not be emissions legal in all states and is really intended for track only use.  The “milder” 525 and 624 HP versions are emissions legal and fully streetable.  The GT/SC package starts at $27,995.00, which does not include the cost of the “base” Mustang GT.  If you are looking for a track car with huge horsepower and brakes, a track suspension, component coolers, those iconic double stripes and the Shelby American DNA with a lineage going back to the Cobra, the Daytona Coupe and the GT40, this could be for you.  Realize that to effectively harness all the high horsepower numbers we are seeing these days for track day use, the car also needs to be equipped with big brakes, beefed-up suspension components and upgrades to the transmission and clutch to name just a few modifications.  You can research these enhancements yourself, or you can rely on the professionals at Shelby American to put together a track day package for you.  This is the company that helped Ford beat Ferrari from 1966 to 1969 at Le Mans. 


Here is a sample track car build:



    Functional Features


Shelby/Ford Racing Suspension


Short-Throw Shifter (Manual Trans Only)


Adjustable Panhard Bar


20x9 Shelby GT Wheels

    Exterior Features


Front Fascia including Grille and Badging


Shelby-specific Hood


"Powered by Ford" Fender-Mounted Badging


Engine Plate with Shelby CSM Sequential Serial Number

    Interior Features


Dash Plate with Shelby CSM Sequential Serial Number


Embroidered Headrests





Shelby/Ford Racing/Whipple Supercharger, 624 HP, Black  ($7,750)

Shelby/Wilwood 4-Piston Rear Brake Upgrade  ($2,995)

Shelby/Wilwood 6-Piston Front Brake Upgrade  ($3,195)

Shelby High Performance Cooling Package  ($2,995)

Billet Watts Link Rear Suspension  ($1,995)

Shelby/Eibach Coil-Over Suspension and Sway Bar Kit  ($995)

Shelby GT Stripes  ($0)

BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp-2 Tires  ($0)

Base Vehicle MSRP:  $31,095

Package Price:             $14,995

Shelby Options:          $19,925

Nevada Tire Tax:        $4

Total MSRP:               $66,019



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