Ford’s Mustang GTD With 800+ HP Sounds Great, But What About the Shelby Versions?

Ford’s Mustang GTD With 800+ HP Sounds Great, But What About the Shelby Versions?

The second-generation Ford GT powered by the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 with up to 700 hp is (finally or sadly, depending on your POV) dead, long live the $300k Ford Mustang GTD with 800+ ponies and no mid-engine configuration.

71 photos

Photo: Ford Motor Company

Oh, what? You thought the rumor mill always gets its stories right, and the bonkers Mustang-based supercar is a $300k thoroughbred ready to attack the C8 Chevy Corvette where it hurts the most? Well, guess again, and the hints were all there in the leaked presentation – the long front hood, the short rear, and the absolute craziness of adapting a front-engine RWD platform to a rear-mid-engine configuration on the fly.

It would have been nice to see a two-way American mid-engine battle, but the Mustang GTD and C8 Corvettes would not have crossed swords anyway, given the limited series’ extremely steep asking price. It seems that Ford getting away with an ultra-expensive and less-powerful than Ram TRX F-150 Raptor R has made them cocky. On the other hand, Canada’s Multimatic doesn’t work cheaply, and also turning a GT3 racer into a street-legal machine isn’t for everyone.

So, aside from the slight disappointment that we’re not seeing a mid-engine Ford Mustang, the GTD sounds like a great asset for the Blue Oval company, especially now that its Ford GT flagship is retired. Apparently, while Ford doesn’t want to invest in passenger cars for the North American market anymore, it’s entirely happy to make the Mustang sports car a dear exception. But, oh boy, how the times have changed – and now we have both $30k Mustangs and $300k Mustangs.

The limited-edition, street-legal performance car developed alongside the Mustang GT3 racer makes extensive use of carbon fiber panels, will be built to “be the quickest roadgoing Mustang ever,” targets a sub-seven-minute Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time, and also wants to come to market with more than 800 horsepower on tap. More so, the devil is in the details.

For example, there’s a pushrod suspension at the back with a first-of-its-kind overall setup (adjustable spring rate and ride height for track or street), active aerodynamics, an eight-speed dual-clutch rear transaxle gearbox connected to a carbon fiber driveshaft, and also a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 with a bespoke dry sump oil system. More so, there are also magnesium wheels, an optional titanium exhaust, and even carbon-ceramic brakes.

Ford Mustang GTD

Photo: Ford

For sure, some will say it’s still just a Mustang – while others will go berserk at the thought of a Mustang, the ‘freakin’ pony car’ being able to go toe-to-toe with something like a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. “Mustang GTD shatters every preconceived notion of a supercar,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “This is a new approach for us. We didn’t engineer a road car for the track, we created a race car for the road. Mustang GTD takes racing technology from our Mustang GT3 race car, wraps it in a carbon fiber Mustang body, and unleashes it for the street.”

Yep, it will probably end up as the star attraction of the Monterey Car Week during its second public apparition – the initial outing was during a Las Vegas event, and that’s where the leak came from. This is probably the first Mustang with near 50/50 weight distribution, and this “rocket ship for the road” trumps every other muscle car made by Ford before the GTD – including the S550-based Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

Interestingly, more than aiming to indirectly replace the Ford GT at the top of the Blue Oval roster, this Mustang GTD may be the direct successor of the Shelby models. And with around 800 or more horsepower, it goes to wonder – will Ford abandon the storied Shelby nameplate in favor of these new monikers like Dark Horse and GTD? For sure, given the limited-edition status and the humongous price tag, there’s enough space in the Mustang lineup for even a couple of Shelby models – a GT350 with around 600 ponies and an S650-based GT500 with about 700 horsepower. And please don’t get mad at me for lowering the pony count. Instead, Ford could go down the route of a corner-carving Shelby rather than a quarter-mile dragstrip hoot.

Look at the tricks up Mustang GTD’s sleeve and think about the Shelby models – they don’t need so much carbon fiber, only a little. They also don’t need titanium exhaust; an active setup will suffice for a meaty voice. And the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 could easily get detuned to make way for additional reliability while the aftermarket realm will eagerly take care of all the 1,000+ hp transformations. On the other hand, if they implement the suspension setup from the GTD into the Shelbys, they’ll probably make them canyon-carving material without a second guess.

And, in the end, maybe that’s what Ford is after in the first place as it tries to make the S650 Mustang lighter and nimbler, less of a pony or muscle car and more like any other sports car out there. But are diehard fans going to be happy about that? Probably only time will tell!


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