2011 Shelby Cobra GT500 is Faster and Lighter

Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: truck, vehicle | No Comments »

Driven: 2011 Shelby Cobra GT500
A Lighter, Faster Mustang

One way journalists get to evaluate new cars is to attend press events. These events are tightly choreographed. Schedules must be maintained and driving routes followed. But on a recent trip to North Carolina, serendipity struck.

Ford had scheduled a stop at a small, local racetrack called Ace Speedway. Of the dozen or so cars in our group, we were the first to reach the 4/10th-mile paved oval. Brad Allen, the track's general manager, met us, and without saying a word, motioned us to follow him. We dutifully followed his golf cart from the garage area to the entrance of the banked track. All along, my co-driver and I thought this was all part of the press program Ford arranged to showcase the 2011 Shelby GT500.

Then Allen leaned in the open window and said, "This wasn't part of the deal, but I thought maybe you'd like to take a few laps." He then swung the gate to the track wide open.

There are a few things as risky as letting a journalist loose on a racetrack with a 550-horsepower car that's not his own, even if it is fully insured. I took a few spins and managed to keep the shiny side up.

Allen had told me that he held the track record in one class, so I eagerly gave up the Cobra's wheel to see what he could do. He slid into the Shelby's leather bucket and quickly bested the laps I ran. His practiced line straightened out the oval's corners, enabling him to hustle up some serious speeds. The roar of the new exhaust mixed with the high-pitched whine of the supercharger produced a unique mechanical symphony that reverberated off the banking.

After a few laps, he drove up off the track and back to his golf cart. "I may have to drop the track's pace car sponsorship and see if I can get the local Ford dealer to give me one of these,” Allen said. “I think I just ran faster than most everybody else did last Saturday night."

Yes, the new Shelby Cobra GT500 created by Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) is racecar fast. Any doubters need to experience what zero-to-60 miles per hour feels like when it happens in just 4.2 seconds.

While it looks almost identical to the 2010 model, the 2011 GT500 is significantly different from the 2010 edition.

To find all that's new on the 2011 GT500, one needs to look under the hood. The engine now has an aluminum block that weighs 102 pounds less than the cast-iron block of 2010, a weight savings the nose-heavy GT500 really needed. While on the diet, the 5.4-liter V-8 gained 10 horsepower over the 2010 edition's 540. Torque remains at a substantial 510 lb.ft.

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