"We worked hard to get as much downforce with as little drag as possible," Baldori said. "We worked to seal off the air that comes in the front so it can't go underneath the car. We spent a lot time sealing components such as the radiator and intercooler to get rid of all the leak paths.
"The result of this evolution of aerodynamics is we've increased downforce, reduced drag and improved the overall efficiency of the 2010 Shelby GT500."
Directing the air so it's used most efficiently was a painstaking process that ultimately will be rewarding to customers. The design of the front fascia and the car's "flush" hood helps focus air flow. The top grille focuses air into the radiator, with a rubber flap inside the engine compartment helping to seal the system. The lower grille helps cool the intercooler. SVT engineers also went as far to block off specific diamonds in the front of the 2010 Shelby GT500's distinctive grille to help maintain the correct cooling and aerodynamic balance.
A meaner, reskinned snake ready to take to the streets
The 2010 Shelby GT500 is the most-robust design and most-distinctive model of the new 2010 Mustang lineup. "The design we chose was a 'flush' hood where the fascia defines the entire front of the vehicle," Hameedi said. "That's very hard to execute from an engineering standpoint, but it really sets the Shelby off as very, very different from the base Mustang."
"This epitomizes the ultimate Mustang," added George Saridakis, Exterior Design manager of the Mustang and Shelby GT500. "It's all about power and expressing power."
Saridakis said his team took a cue from the Shelby AC Cobra 427 with respect to the front grilles, which are gaping and appear ready to swallow the road.
Another obvious difference for the Shelby is the addition of racing stripes, which also will now be available on the convertible. "Racing stripes made their mark on 1960s-era Ford performance vehicles," Hameedi notes. "That's something we feel is a key part of the Shelby performance DNA -- maybe more so than some of our competition."
Rounding out the Shelby's exterior modifications are the unique signature coiled Cobra badges on the front grille and front fenders, a more aggressive front splitter and lower-drag rear spoiler, which added to improved aerodynamic features. "We wanted the spoiler raked back aggressively to minimize drag, but we also have an integrated Gurney Flap that provides the downforce," Saridakis said.
What's inside counts with the 2010 Shelby GT500
The base 2010 Mustang received a powerful new interior design. For the GT500, the interior design team members challenged themselves to raise the bar even higher to create the ultimate Shelby Mustang interior.
Using genuine materials such as real leather in all seats, real aluminum on the instrument panel and Alcantara inserts on the seats and steering wheel gave the appearance a precisely crafted, jewel-like yet functional feel. "You'll definitely know you're in a Shelby," said Douglas Gaffka, Chief Designer, Shelby GT500.
The genuine aluminum finish panels have a unique-to-GT500 three-dimensional dimpled texture pattern inspired by racing clutch plates, braided hoses and cross-drilled racing brake rotors. The pattern has been painstakingly tuned to compensate for the compound curvature of the instrument panels. In addition, the "GT500" logo has been discretely engraved into the aluminum in front of the passenger as a nod to classic Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s.
This unique aluminum finish panel is fully encapsulated by an exquisite soft seamless TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) instrument panel with a shape that resonates with Mustang's powerful heritage. The center stack flows into the console and features a sub-flush shifter trim ring, flush cup holder door and lockable console stowage featuring the word "SHELBY" engraved in its Satin Liquid Chrome release button.
All 2010 Mustangs and Shelbys feature bright 360-degree rings surrounding the gauge cluster, uninterrupted by the steering column. These rings will come in chrome for the Mustang and a Satin Liquid Chrome finish for the GT500. This finish is featured throughout the interior. An intricate cobra is etched into the center of the aluminum steering wheel badge. The Shelby Cobra appears at startup on the navigation screen, and the familiar red "SVT" logo utilizes new ambient lighting to illuminate the door scuffplate.
"When customers drive this car, they're not only going to be impressed by the performance and the Shelby heritage, but they're going to see all these carefully designed details and know they've bought a well-crafted car," Saridakis said.
Even the classic white shift knob -- an icon of Shelby Mustang DNA from years past -- received special attention. First, it had to be the traditional white. It also had to be specific to the Shelby. The answer was to combine the racing-stripes theme with the traditional "H" pattern found on shifters to create a one-of-a-kind knob. Like the exterior, the racing stripes wrap from end to end, encircling the knob.
Wide suite of standard features on the 2010 Shelby GT500
The 2010 Shelby GT500 includes several Ford innovations and industry- exclusive standard features, including:
-- SYNC: The voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players, providing customers hands-free cell phone and music selection capabilities - plus new 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report provided with no monthly fees. * 911 Assist: When a phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC, the system is ready to assist in placing a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an air bag-deploying accident. The key advantage of SYNC 911 Assist is speed, as calls are placed directly to local 911 operators. * Vehicle Health Report (VHR): SYNC gathers relevant information from the major vehicle control modules and packages diagnostic data into a usable format in a matter of minutes. That data packet is sent to Ford via an 800-number automatically dialed using the customer's paired and operable mobile phone. -- Ambient Lighting System with MyColor(TM) allows drivers to customize the interior lighting of the vehicle to suit their mood. The enhanced MyColor system features seven base colors - ice blue, purple, blue, orange, red, white and green. Customers also can create 125 custom colors by mixing the red-green-blue palette. Available options: -- Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link(TM) is an industry-leading technology that will provide users with a unique, information-rich in-car experience. The suite of data services includes up-to-the-minute real-time traffic data with accident and incident information for 78 markets, coast-to-coast weather data including current conditions and five-day forecasts and fuel price information for more than 120,000 gas stations. SIRIUS Travel Link also offers sports scores and schedules and a listing of more than 4,500 movie theaters with movie times, theater addresses, movie synopses and more.