2011 Ford Shelby GT500 Goes Lightweight with Aluminum Engine, Offers Ultimate in Handling

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2011_GT500-Conv01.jpgFord’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) engineers are taking high
performance to a new level with the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500, resulting in
a car that has an all-new aluminum-block engine, even better driving
dynamics and handling, improved fuel economy and more horsepower than

“The SVT team continues to push the performance standards of the
Shelby to even higher levels and better refinement,” said Jost Capito,
director of global performance vehicles and motorsports business
development. “All the changes we made reflect a desire for even better
handling and outstanding driving dynamics – from weight savings to
improved balance.”

Weight savings, new technology headline all-new aluminum

The 2011 Shelby GT500 is powered by an all-new aluminum-block 5.4-liter
supercharged V-8 engine, which produces 550 horsepower and 510 ft.-lb.
of torque, a 10 horsepower increase versus the 2010 model. The engine
also is 102 pounds lighter than its predecessor, delivering a better
power-to-weight ratio, improved fuel economy, acceleration, handling and
steering precision.

“Cutting weight to improve performance is a tradition among hot
rodders,” said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby American. “It might not
be as sexy as adding more horsepower or bigger brakes, but shaving
pounds off of a car is the single smartest move you can make.”

The new engine uses state-of-the-art Plasma Transferred Wire Arc
(PTWA) liner coating, a process that applies a 150-micron composite
coating that contains nanoparticles on the internal surfaces of engine
cylinder bores, replacing cast-iron liners typically used in aluminum
engine blocks. The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation
honored the inventors of the Ford-patented PTWA technology with the 2009
National Inventor of the Year Award.

This is the first Ford application of the technology, and it offers
improved overall performance and durability, along with functional
benefits of reduced friction between piston rings and cylinder bores,
improved heat transfer due to increased surface contact area and a
weight savings of 8.5 pounds compared to a typical steel-sleeved
aluminum block. A mechanical roughening process provides higher material
adhesion for the spray coating.

The PTWA process uses air and electricity to create a plasma jet of
35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which melts a steel wire that is fed into a
rotating spray gun. Using atomized air, the melted steel wire is blown
into a specially machined surface of the aluminum-block engine cylinder
bore. In the process of melting and applying the metal to the surface,
the steel wire oxidizes, creating a composite coating consisting of both
iron and iron oxide.

“Ford’s Global Research and Advanced Engineering looks to all
industries for advanced technologies – and this comes from aerospace.
It’s the same technology you would find on aircraft engines,” said Glenn
Jorgensen, SVT powertrain team leader. “We’ve invented a coating as a
replacement for cast iron that delivers improvements in power and
performance and fuel economy.”

The new engine also has its roots in the iconic Ford GT. The new
5.4-liter engine is an evolution of the GT engine, with improved block
structure through the use of a unique bulkhead chilled process and
six-bolt billet main bearing caps. This new advanced engine will exceed
Ford GT performance with its traditional supercharger technology.

“The Ford GT has solidified itself as one of the world’s most coveted
supercars. To make improvements to the engine from this supercar and
make it available in a Mustang is impressive,” said Kerry Baldori, SVT
global performance vehicle chief functional engineer. “The
aluminum-block engine is robust and strong enough to produce the
performance numbers and durability our customers demand.”

Increased power and increased fuel economy
The 2011 Shelby GT500 combines power and fuel economy into one
impressive package. This 2011 Shelby GT500 will be the first modern
Shelby without the gas guzzler tax, thanks to the EPA-projected 23 mpg
highway and 15 mpg city it will deliver. This is up from 22 mpg highway
and 14 mpg city for the 2010 model.

The 5.4-liter V-8 achieves 80 percent of its torque between 1,750 and
6,250 rpm, giving the car a higher level of performance feel. A larger
two-row intercooler for the supercharger system has 40 percent more
cooling capacity, helping to make power more consistent in higher
ambient conditions.

Fuel economy gains come from the new 102-pound-lighter aluminum-block
engine, EPAS and detailed aerodynamic changes to the underside of the

Dramatic performance upgrades
New for 2011 is an SVT Performance Package for enthusiasts who want even
more performance out of their Shelby GT500 for racetrack-ready driving
dynamics. Complete with all-new Goodyear Eagle® F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires
that SVT engineers worked directly with Goodyear to develop, the car is
ready to race. The tires offer superb dry traction and precise handling,
complete with a race-inspired high-performance tread compound.

The optional package also offers unique styling, lighter wheels, a
higher rear axle ratio and stiffer springs, and it is available on both
the convertible and coupe. Data show the 2011 coupe with the SVT
Performance Package is 3.0 seconds faster per lap than the 2010 Shelby
GT500 on a 2.3-mile test track.

Carried over from 2010, the 2011 Shelby GT500 features AdvanceTrac®,
Ford’s stability control system with several options for performance.
Calibration of the system for the 2011 Shelby has been uniquely tailored
to each vehicle configuration (base or optional) to optimize the

SVT has worked very hard to make EPAS better than the outgoing
hydraulic steering system. The addition of EPAS makes for a dramatic
contribution to Shelby GT500 driving dynamics, with improved torque
build-up and road feel that delivers quicker and more precise steering,
increased effort on the racetrack or winding roads, and reduced effort
in low-speed parking maneuvers.

Slotted brake dust shields were added to improve brake cooling and
handling, and a new pedal box improves clutch and pedal efforts even
more. A lowered ride height of 11 millimeters in front and 8 millimeters
at the rear provides a sportier attitude and improved handling.

More engine sound, less road noise
For 2011, Shelby GT500 also benefits from NVH (noise, vibration and
harshness) improvements. Overall road noise is reduced by 20 percent
versus the 2010 Shelby. Actions undertaken to achieve this improvement
include additional sound-deadening material on either
side of the instrument panel, additional sound absorption behind
interior trim panels, and a rear wheel arch liner to reduce noise on
gravel or wet surfaces – all resulting in the driver hearing more
exhaust and engine sound and less road and air noise.

The Shelby GT500 convertible model features enhanced structural
rigidity, with lateral stiffness improved by 12 percent versus the 2010
model. The V-brace has been stiffened by adding gussets. The secondary
crossmember also has been stiffened, while a front Z-brace has been
added, connecting primary and secondary crossmembers. A-pillar
stiffening foam has been added to increase rigidity.

The structural improvements to the convertible gave SVT the
opportunity to be more sport-oriented in the chassis tuning, without
trading comfort. Along with the chassis and structural improvements, the
2011 model also will get standard 19-inch aluminum wheels.

“One of the biggest changes for this Shelby is that the convertible
acts and feels like a coupe,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief nameplate
engineer. “Before, they had a very different character, and the
convertible is taking a big step in the sportiness and handling
precision area, without degrading the ride.”

GT500 gets a new exhaust for 2011, roaring with an even more
aggressive sound than the 2010 model. The 2.75-inch exhaust with all-new
tuning helped to deliver the additional 10 horsepower.

Added convenience content
New for 2011 is an optional glass roof, providing customers with a less
expensive option than a convertible and without compromising the coupe’s
versatility, headroom or climate-controlled environment.

The specially formulated glass also protects interior fabric material
from solar radiation deterioration and discoloration by reducing solar
light transmittance. To help improve acoustics and interior quietness,
the glass features a layer of vinyl that reduces noise, vibration and

Other new convenience technologies include:

  • Standard HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps
  • MyKey™
    programmable vehicle key
  • Integrated spotter mirror
  • Fold-down
    rear headrests

“Whether you’re looking to take the GT500 out on the streets or have
some fun at the track,” Capito says, “this car will satisfy the most
discriminating performance driving enthusiasts.”

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide,
the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and
Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit
Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

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