Ford has spent the last few months teasing fans with shadowy images of the forthcoming 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500, and now Jalopnik reports that the model seems likely to hit the market with a dual-clutch gearbox as its only transmission option. The move will likely prove divisive for fans of the latest Mustang in all its iterations, but also suggests that the GT500 will feature an engine powerful enough to compete for legitimate supercar status.
Many sports car manufacturers have opted to forego manual transmissions in favor of the quicker-shifting, more efficient dual-clutch automatic route—highlighted by the likes of McLaren and even Ferrari, whose head of product marketing, Nicola Boari, went so far as to state, “We develop our cars to have class-leading levels of performance, grip, and handling. For the technological level of integration our cars offer, a manual gearbox would reduce the performance capabilities—which, for Ferrari, is unacceptable.”
Jalopnik attributes their report to a “source that is familiar with internal spec sheets” who claims that the GT500 is currently listed only with a seven-speed dual clutch, though the ‘box won’t be the same exact transmission that is currently utilized by the Ford GT supercar. A Ford spokesman responded to the rumor with an ambiguous statement, saying only, “Regarding the upcoming, Mustang Shelby GT500 model, we have not announced any powertrain specifics yet. More to come as we get closer to the market introduction.”
The Jalopnik article confirms industry suspicions which were fueled by a video posted to YouTube that featured a heavily-camouflaged GT500 test vehicle driving through a residential neighborhood, with lightning-fast shifts far too quick for a manual transmission. The GT500’s engine, meanwhile, has been claimed to produce over 700 horsepower, which will make it “the most powerful street-legal Ford ever.” With teaser images showing plenty of venting, a hood bulge, and copious application of aero bits, the GT500 will almost certainly pump for power and torque out of its supercharged V8 than many drivers could hope to contain with a stick shift.
Of course, for those fans who need to row the gears in their Mustangs, the special edition Bullitt package, as well as the GT350 in all its iterations offer a normally aspirated 5.2-liter V8 and can be had with a third pedal.