Ford Explains Why Your 2020 Mustang GT500 Will Never Hit 180 MPH

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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 in a Crate

New GT500 Mustang won’t go faster than 180 because Ford doesn’t see the need to surpass those speeds.

The Mustang and muscle car community as a whole was full of negativity last week when it was revealed that the 2020 Shelby GT500 would be electronically limited to 180 miles per hour. That effectively makes the Mustang the “slowest” of the American muscle cars in terms of top speed and even though few drivers will ever reach speeds in excess of 180, a great many people in the American performance car community were put off by the Motor Company’s choice to cap the top end capabilities.

In seeing all of this negative press about the governed top speed, the folks at Jalopnik reached out to Ford to ask why their team decided to limit the top speed of the most powerful road-going Mustang ever. The answer may be surprising to some, although it is completely true and perfectly valid.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Engine

Why a Limiter?

Ford Motor Company provided Jalopnik with the following input as to why the new GT500 is limited to 180 miles per hour.

“Our Ford Performance engineers and professional drivers were given a goal of making the all-new Shelby GT500 as fast as possible at both road courses and the drag strip, all while remaining comfortable and engaging on the open road.

The GT500 also had to flatter the novice while rewarding the most skilled drivers. The top speed of the GT500 supports the best drivers at every track the vehicle was tested at, in both physical and virtual form, without compromising the other attributes of the car.”

The publication goes on to explain that the available top speed of 180 miles per hour is faster than the new Shelby Mustang moved at any point during testing. Mind you, that includes testing at NOLA Motorsports Park and Virginia International Raceway, so on big road courses, the 180-mile per hour limited never came into play.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Rear

Basically, Ford has limited the new Mustang to 180 because they don’t think that anyone will ever go faster than that in one of them. Needless to say, it isn’t legal or safe to go faster than 180 on any public road in North America and it seems that there are very few road course tracks in the world where the GT500 could go faster than that.

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Realistically, Ford is right. The odds are good that almost none of the people who buy a 2020 Shelby GT50 will ever want to go over 180 miles per hour even if they did have a safe place to do so. There are a few tracks, like the Nurburgring, which would allow the new pony car to eclipse the 180-mark if not for the limiter, but anyone who is serious enough to take their Mustang to Germany to go road racing will likely just have a tuner remove the limiter. That voids the warranty, but if you are an American racing in Germany on the world’s most famous road course, do you really care about your warranty? Probably not.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 High Front

The only reasonable time and location where the GT500 speed limiter will come into play is for those people who enjoy attending top speed events. At venues like the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida, you can make runs of up to 2.3-miles to test your vehicle’s top speed, but the odds seem to be very good that the new Shelby Mustang will hit the limiter well-before the end of that long straightaway.

However, even with the top speed being limited to 180 miles per hour, the new GT500 should prove to be the most road course-capable muscle car ever, along with being one of the quickest in the quarter-mile.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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