The 2010 Shelby GT500, with more horsepower and torque than the outgoing model, is definitely faster on the road and on the track. Faster responding, too.

Ford's Special Vehicles Team used advances pioneered on the Shelby GT500KR "King of the Road" Mustang to improve the driving dynamics of the 2010 Shelby GT500. SVT engineers lowered the chassis and worked to reduce the ride heights while also stiffening the coupe and convertible to improve the overall body control, roll stiffness and roll gradient (how much the car rolls).

"What we came out with was a chassis that feels more controlled and reacts faster," said Kerry Baldori, chief functional engineer for SVT.

The front damping and spring rates on the 2010 Shelby GT500 were increased and share the same setup on the front end as the KR. Overall, the goal with the 2010 Shelby GT500 was to maintain the high-performance attributes of the KR, but in a more-refined manner.

"We focused most on improving the steering and dry handling attributes because they are the ones that matter most to the customer," said Andrew Vrenko, vehicle dynamics engineer. "We wanted to give the steering more feel and have the car really feel as if it's more connected to the road."

The 2010 Shelby GT500 delivers with a high-performance vehicle that is substantially improved in terms of aerodynamic balance, which customers who take their Shelbys to the track will immediately notice and appreciate.

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"Using data from the wind tunnel and the track, the new Shelby GT500 is near neutral at 120 mph – it makes about 20 pounds of lift," said John Pfeiffer, product development engineer. "This is 50 percent better than the KR and 75 percent better than the outgoing model."

SVT also managed to reduce the downforce on the rear by 50 percent compared with the outgoing model as it worked to reduce drag and maximize balance. The new Shelby GT500 reacts the same at 120 mph as it does at much lower speeds because the center of gravity doesn't change from aerodynamic forces as you get up to speed.

The coupe adds 19-inch bright machined aluminum wheels as a standard feature. In addition to the larger wheel, SVT worked with Goodyear to help upgrade the F1 Supercar 19-inch tires to improve grip, handling and NVH properties.

One of the new tunable components on the new Shelby GT500 is the addition of a wicker bill or "Gurney Flap" on the rear. Introduced by racing legend Dan Gurney nearly 40 years ago, the Gurney Flap is essentially a tunable element on a low-drag spoiler. On the 2010 Shelby GT500 it sticks up about 6 mm and is positioned at a right angle to help create downforce. Tuning options include using Gurney Flaps of different heights or removing it altogether.

From the track to the highway, the 2010 Shelby GT500 gives drivers all the performance improvements of the KR: maximum lateral acceleration; the fun-to-drive aspects; the 0-60 time (4.3 seconds) and, the quarter-mile time (12.5 seconds at 116 mph).

"These are all the attributes that customers want in an on-the-edge performance car, but we've also delivered a comfortable daily driver as well," said Baldori.