From the moment our friends at Ford's Special Vehicle Team announced the '13 Shelby GT500, we knew it was one for the ages. It would be the stuff of legends in stock form. Once it was released into the aftermarket wild, it would carve new legends into the pavement. To say we were stoked would be an understatement.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the crew at Evolution Performance was just as excited as we were. Fred Cook, Nelson Whitlock, and crew have made a name for the shop by being first and fast with numerous modern Mustangs, from the preceding Condor GT500s to the current Coyote GTs.
For a year or more, Fred hatched a plan to hit the ground running with the new king of the hill from SVT. Some of the bits were familiar enough, but others required some planning and creative thinking. The programming is a bit different, as is the crank damper. The suspension is the same, as is the throttle body and air inlet.
"We have been gathering information for this project since July 2011," said Fred. "Over the last couple of months, we lined up some great product manufacturers and shared the information with them to ensure this project would be a success.ö
Whether the '13 required new or existing parts, the Evolution crew started compiling gear and planning for an all-out assault as soon as the car arrived at its Pennsylvania headquarters. Of course, modifying a Mustang in the modern era cannot happen without a computer. Thankfully, Evo has a not-so-secret weapon in the form of Jon Lund of Lund Racing manning the laptop.
For the average person, the...
For the average person, the 662 flywheel horsepower offered by the Trinity 5.8 in the latest GT500 would be more than enough. In our world, this platform is just the beginning. Ford SVT knows how to build factory-supercharged V-8s that readily accept bolt-on muscle. With just a custom Lund Racing tune, the Trinity 5.8 pounded out nearly 50 more horsepower and lb-ft of torque to the rear tires.
As you start to turn up with...
As you start to turn up with the wick with timing and boost, it's important to run a cooler plug with a reduced gap. The stock plugs are gapped anywhere from .041- to .047-inch, but Evolution installed a fresh set of NGK TR-6 plugs to get the party started. For stock boost levels, they would normally gap the plugs at .032-inch, but they went ahead and moved them down to .030-inch in anticipation of more boost. Be sure to disconnect the battery before you swap plugs to ensure that you don't pop a fuse.
JLT's 127mm Big Air induction...
JLT's 127mm Big Air induction system (PN CAIP-GT500-10; $349) is a proven performer on the prior GT500s and on aftermarket supercharged Coyotes. It was a natural first step in the transformation of the '13 GT500. The kit features a massive inlet tube, a 5x9-inch conical filter, and a heat shield that accepts the factory fresh-air ducting. The filter even includes a screen to straighten out the airflow for the mass air meter, just like the factory inlet. This simplifies tuning the combination.
"The 2013 GT500 tunes really no different than previous '11-'12. However, Ford added some new features with AdvanceTrac and Launch Control combinations," explained Jon. "These new logics posed some power-limiting features that I worked through. Being able to datalog all available data management routines and parameter IDs was a huge help in defeating the new logics, and even modifying them to work with the additional power."
With Jon's knowledge of Copperhead logic, Evolution was able to quickly squeeze more power out of the stock 5.8, but when the parts left their boxes and joined the party, that's when the real magic happened. The results were impressive at the rollers and on the 1,320, but what you are about to read was achieved with a stock supercharger.
"It responds much like the '07-'12 Shelby GT500s," Fred added. "We have been using the Eaton TVS 2.3-liter supercharger for the past five years, so when it was confirmed to be the stock supercharger of choice for the '13 Shelby GT500, we already knew what combination to go with."
As we move to phase two, a 3.6-liter Kenne Bell Mammoth supercharger was already waiting in the wings as this story was written. Stay tuned as your favorite magazine documents a new legend. It's the one you'll be telling your grandkids about. When 9-second e.t.'s and 787 hp are the introduction, you know it's gonna be a good read.
Horse Sense: Knowing the value of pioneering performance, Evolution Performance took the '07-'12 GT500 platform into the 9-, 8-, and 7-second ranges. Likewise, the company pushed the '11-'12 GTs into the 10s, 9s, and 8s.
Start by removing the factory...
Start by removing the factory induction. You can unplug the mass air sensor, loosen the clamp at the throttle body, and remove the induction in one piece.
Next unbolt the factory, slot-style...
Next unbolt the factory, slot-style mass air sensor and swap it into the 127mm JLT inlet tube.
That's more like it. The JLT...
That's more like it. The JLT Big Air looks right at home feeding the Trinity's TVS with plenty of unrestricted airflow.
Nelson Whitlock wheeled the '13 GT500 to a 10.02 on its first outing, which was tantalizing. On the second outing, a headwind kept things in the low 10s. After a move up to 4.30 gears and some additional at-the-track tuning from Jon Lund, the team cracked into the mythical 9-second zone with a 9.95 at 142.36 mph.
Nelson launched the '13 at 6,000 rpm, and the Steeda suspension planted the rear tires with a 1.50-second short time. Using Barton's new GT500 shifter, he banged his way through the gears at 7,200 rpm. Yup, you read that right. The Evo '13 took the Over Rev feature to a whole new level to get things done.
"The Steeda suspension was an integral part of the car performing at the track with 1.40-1.50 60-foots all day long," Fred said. "We knew how to setup the S197 chassis. We just needed the best components and that's where Steeda came in. Steeda makes some of the best suspension parts in the industry, which actually perform as good as they look."
After completing all the modifications,...
After completing all the modifications, Evolution headed to Atco Raceway (www.atcorace.com) in Atco, New Jersey, for a series of private test sessions.
Obviously street tires aren't...
Obviously street tires aren't going to cut it at the dragstrip, so Evo opted for Weld Racing wheels with Mickey Thompson slicks. They also moved up to 4.10 and eventually 4.30 gears to run the big number.
The much larger front and...
The much larger front and rear brakes on the '13 GT500 were a bit of a curveball. Rather than waiting for custom wheels, the Evolution crew installed Strange Engineering drag brakes in the front and used '11-'12 GT500 caliper mounting brackets and rotors in the back.
Like the factory tires, the factory suspension is not geared to putting down nearly 800 lb-ft at the dragstrip. To dial in the hook, Evo upgraded the '13 GT500 with a complete Steeda Hardcore suspension, including the control arms, Panhard bar, and antiroll bar. The resulting 1.40- to 1.50-second 60-foot times speak for the efficacy of the Steeda gear.