New SVT Performance Package Readies 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 For The Track

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2011_GT500-Coupe01.jpgThe new 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 has a surprise in store for true
performance enthusiasts – an optional SVT Performance Package. One lap
around the racetrack, and drivers will feel the difference.

Data shows 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. Cars with the optional package will be able to pull 1.0 lateral g,
with stopping distances improved by 7 percent versus the base 2011
Shelby.

“More and more enthusiasts are putting their cars on the track to
have some fun,” said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby American. “It’s a
great way to enjoy the performance of your car in a safe environment.
No one likes to run at the back of the field, so a track-oriented
package is a smart option for the serious Shelby GT500 owner.”

Tires make the difference
The SVT Performance Package features the first application of the
all-new Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G: 2, a tire that offers superb dry
traction and precise handling, complete with a high-performance tread
compound with more grip. SVT engineers worked directly with Goodyear to
develop the new compound, and it’s only available on the 2011 Shelby
GT500. The tire is unidirectional, corner-specific – meaning the
directional tread must match its specific location.

“We wanted to couple the improved weight distribution and the
improved handling of the vehicle with the new tire, and with that offer
the customer one of the most advanced summer tires from a manufacturer,”
said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief nameplate engineer. “That led us down a
road to the new tire. It’s instantly recognizable with an all-new tread
pattern and construction.”

The new ultra-high-performance compound is made of a proprietary
blend of race-derived carbon black and high-stiffness polymers and
resins that help deliver enhanced wet and dry handling performance on
both the road and track. Asymmetrical, directional tread designs with
massive tread blocks on the outboard side of the tire help enhance dry
cornering grip. Sweeping Aquachannelâ„¢ grooves on the inboard side of the
tread help move water. An innovative multi-radius mold shape offers
precise handling and smooth, even wear.

“These tires are as close as you can get to a race car tire,” said
Eric Zinkosky, SVT technical specialist. “We have a tire that’s way more
capable, with better grip, is firmer and more race-oriented. From
there, we tuned the chassis around it. The tires told us what we had to
do.

“We took some lessons from the Shelby KR program and applied them to
these tires,” he added. “That was our first attempt at a similar
compound, and we learned a lot and rolled those lessons into the new
Shelby to provide an even better tire.”

Nineteen-inch forged-aluminum wheels in the front, which are 4.7
pounds lighter than the base Shelby GT500’s, complement the all-new
wider 265/40R-19 front tires. New 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels at the
rear are 2.8 pounds lighter than the standard 19-inch wheel, and the new
3.73 rear axle ratio takes advantage of the new larger rear wheels and
tires.

Little things add up
As a result of the increased tire performance, the chassis was tuned to
respond more like a race car. The front and rear shocks were also tuned,
adding control to work better with the chassis and tire. The front
springs are 20.5 percent stiffer than the base, and the rear springs are
9.5 percent stiffer, continuing an SVT performance tuning direction of
adding more stiffness in the front and keeping the rear softer to aid
acceleration traction. Roll stiffness also helps control cornering while
on the track.

A lowered ride height of 11 millimeters in front and 8 millimeters at
the rear improves handling and gives the car an even sportier attitude.
High-temperature dry shaft center bearing bushing and shifter bushings –
which are also on the base Shelby – ensure that no matter how hot the
conditions get, the car will still perform at its best.

“This car is track-ready. We really took the Shelby GT500 to the next
level and went through every detail,” said Kerry Baldori, SVT global
performance vehicle chief functional engineer. “It offers great
cornering and racetrack performance and proven durability, and that’s
something we want our customers to appreciate.”

A unique rear spoiler Gurney Flap was developed for increased rear
downforce and improves handling balance in high-speed corners.
Introduced by racing legend Dan Gurney nearly 40 years ago, the flap is
essentially a tunable element on a low-drag spoiler. Front downforce has
been increased 25 percent through improved cooling pack sealing and a
new front underbody closeout panel. Grippy bushing stabilizer bars
provide improved roll stiffness.

Even with the stiffer springs, lower ride heights and increased
damping, the ride remains very compliant, and the car can be easily
driven on everyday roads due to SVT’s chassis tuning philosophy.

Design cues are added to set the package apart from the base Shelby
GT500. The over-the-top stripes are narrower, and the stripes on the
shift knob were removed. The performance shocks also are painted red to
further differentiate the package. “This car has great handling and
dramatically improved performance, and that should come out in better
lap times and improved braking,” said Zinkosky.

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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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