By now, it’s well documented that the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a monster in any racing discipline. It’s no surprise that the most powerful production Mustang to wear the Cobra badge yet can put up impressive times on the drag strip, but it’s around the track where the handling is in a different league than any GT500 before it. Now that 2020 is almost over, Motor Trend is rolling out hot lap videos from their Best Drivers Car competition, and the Mustang video is hugely impressive.
The Shelby GT500 in question, rather unsurprisingly, features the Carbon Fiber Track Package. It adds carbon fiber wheels, rear spoiler and splitter wickets, removes the rear seats for weight savings, and adds super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R compound tires. The results are a ridiculously fast lap time. With professional racing driver Randy Pobst at the wheel, the Mustang Shelby GT500 clocked a 1:33.84. For comparison, the Mustang Shelby GT350R managed a 1:36.11 a few years ago. The GT500’s chief rival, the Camaro ZL1 1LE, couldn’t match the mighty Mustang either, at 1:34.30. That being said, that result isn’t unexpected, as the Mustang’s 110 hp advantage helps around a high speed, flowing track like Laguna Seca.
That lap time is more staggering when you compare it to vehicles outside of the Shelby GT500’s muscle car competition. It’s within a half second of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and within a second of a Mercedes AMG GT R and C7 Corvette Z06. These comparison lap times are all by Pobst at the wheel. The key point here is the Mustang Shelby GT500 starts life under $30,000, whereas everything else the Mustang comes near is significantly more. This means the work Ford put into the Mustang made it punch far above its original class, a testament to the performance all muscle cars have at their top levels these days.
After the hot lap, Pobst said the GT500 is, “a huge success for Ford Performance,” and complimented the car’s on track power, handling grip, and brakes. It’s also quite loud, as the GT500 set a 107 decibel noise record at Laguna Seca. Even if the Mustang Shelby GT500 can’t match hypercars like the McLaren Senna for outright lap records, it still wins another title and shows what a capable performance vehicle Ford has made.