Where else better to show the Brits some American brashness than at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and what better vehicle for the task than the upcoming Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 - where the car made its official UK debut.
As you’d expect, there was a cloud of tyre smoke right off the line as the supercharged 5.2-litre V8 producing in excess 522kW was let loose. Clearly even fat rear tyres aren’t much of a match for that kind of muscle. Or was it on purpose, given that it was drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr behind the wheel? We’ll never know I suppose.
It’s easy to dismiss the car as another blunt American point-and-squirt stormer, especially with its unapologetic neon green paint and giant vent on the bonnet above its supercharger. There’s more to it than that, though, and the 6th-generation Mustang has already proven its salt as a worthy driver’s car.
After the first couple of bends, though, Gittin Jr let the GT500’s inherent sharpness come into play. The apparent lack of drama and sheer traction it maintained was impressive, which only compounded as the car picked up speed. No doubt thanks to that massive fixed rear wing and extensive aero kit overall.
It’s the most powerful road legal car Ford would have ever produced, so it certainly deserves to wear that coiled cobra emblem. Ironically, the company also fielded the GT Mk II at this year’s Goodwood, a more hardcore version of the company’s supercar with its 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 tuned to 700hp or thereabouts. Luckily, all 45 examples of those are not allowed on the streets.
The GT500 also packs a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the first time a production Mustang has ever had that kind of shift technology. While Ford has kept quiet about its origins, there’s a good chance it shares quite a bit with the Getrag unit found in the GT.
Then there’s still the small matter of the competition. Dodge has its Hellcats in two-door Challenger and four-door Charger form, the latter of which is now offered with a factory-fitted wide-body kit. There’s also the 626kW Challenger Demon, but we’d wager it won’t go around a bend anywhere half as good as the new range-topping Mustang can.
Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 can offer both immense power and torque while being a strong contender around a technical circuit. It’s undoubtedly the Mustang’s closest competitor, at it always has been. If the rumours prove true, though, the Chevy’s premature shelving will leave only more room for the Ford to conquer unopposed.