2013 Shelby GT500 Bolt Ons - Let It Eat!
Lethal Performance takes its New Shelby right to the mod buffet and into the 9-second Zone.
From the November, 2012 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Steve Turner
Photography by Courtesy Of Lethal Performance
From the minute we heard about the '13 Shelby GT500, we've wanted to own one. However, that hasn't happened just yet. Maybe one day we'll put one in the driveway, but for now it helps to have friends that are ready to buy one right away and tear right into it.
Enter our friends at Lethal Performance. Jared Rosen and crew have set a standard for buying the latest hot Mustang and pushing its performance to untold levels just hours after they take delivery. No matter how rare the car is, Team Lethal is not shy about modding it for crazy power. Just hours after bringing home this '13 Shelby GT500, Jared texted us a photo of a drill plunging through the trunk floor to make way for a nitrous line. Yeah, they aren't shy.
"While some are content with how the car comes from the factory, we're not. I'd say that the majority of our customers are the same way as well," Jared explained. "All we want is more. Think of it as leading the way for the rest of the community. Someone has to do it, so why not us? (Yes, we also touched hot stoves and played with electrical outlets when we were kids.)"
While with prior cars the mission was to take the car to the ultimate performance on the dragstrip, the goal with this one is to make big power and run great e.t.'s without giving up all the car's streetability. Of course, most of us start out with that mission and end up going too far, but at least at the beginning that's the goal.
As we have documented with...
As we have documented with several other Team Lethal projects, they don't stay stock long. Shortly after driving this spanking-new '13 GT500 from Weikert Ford in Lake Wales, Florida, it hit the Dynojet at Power by the Hour (www.pbhperformance.com) for tuning and modding.
As with any modern Mustang,...
As with any modern Mustang, modifying a '13 Shelby GT500 starts with modifying to the programming inside the Copperhead PCM for more performance. Fortunately for Lethal, they have Jon Lund and Ken Bjonnes of Lund Racing (www.lundracing.com) on the case for tuning their cars and customer cars. Accordingly, the first mod was a custom tune (PN LP-JLCUSTOMTUNE-2013GT500; $200). It yielded gains of 34.55 hp and 15.27 lb-ft of torque without a single hardware change. Then the parts mods began.
Obviously the big, blown 5.8...
Obviously the big, blown 5.8 is moving a lot of air, so Lethal wanted to uncork the exhaust with one of its own midpipes (PN LP-2013GT500ORX; $299) to see how much the stock cats are holding back performance. This pipe is a direct swap for the factory pipe, and definitely opens things up with a 15.43 hp and 11.7 lb-ft of torque at the feet. Of course, as with any hardware change, this mod requires a tune to make it work properly.
"We're committed to keeping the car streetable for now, as we really enjoy how well this car drives. However, in our quest for more power and speed, that usually gets lost in the mix," Jared confessed. "I really prefer not to put a spooled rear or cage in this car, but as you've seen with our other projects, that could change at any point."
As such, it makes sense to start with the basic bolt-ons to document what they will do for the car. Of course, that didn't stop Lethal from taking a short nitrous detour to put the car in the 10.00s before coming back to wrap up our bolt-on documentation. With that fun out of the way, we got down to business with Power by The Hour doing the wrenching and Lund Racing doing the tuning. We think you'll be impressed by the results.
"This car is no joke. It's unreal how much power it makes with such simple mods. We've almost gone as fast as our '10 GT500 went, and that car had way more into it than this one," Jared enthused. "The fact that we're still using the stock supercharger and we're able to run as quick as we have is amazing. I could only imagine what it will do with a big 4.0-liter Whipple on top..."
As impressive as the numbers were for this round of modifications, this is really just the beginning for Lethal's '13 GT500. Next up is that much larger supercharger and a lot more boost, so strap in. This is gonna be a fun ride.
Horse Sense: The Lethal Performance garage is full of sick cars, including a '10 GT500, a '12 Boss, and the '13 GT500 you see here. However, our favorite car in the bunch might be Jared Rosen's newly Grabber Blue '03 Cobra. The updated color on the classic Terminator is a magnetic combo. The big 4.0-liter blower underhood doesn't hurt either. Look for a story on that car in an upcoming issue.
Before we got down to bolt-on...
Before we got down to bolt-on fun, Team Lethal had a little fun with nitrous on the stock engine and the stock clutch started to give way as we started bolting on parts. To cure that, Lethal turned to Mcleod's '10-'13 GT500 Sprung Hub RXT StreetTwin Clutch Kit (PN 6975-07M; $1,341). This clutch is designed to corral 1,000 horsepower and still retain streetable clutch effort, as Jared assures us this ride is retaining its street manners.
An early step for most enthusiasts...
An early step for most enthusiasts is a free-flowing inlet. For the heavy breathing Trinity 5.8, Lethal chose JLT's Big Air 127mm CAI (PN CFCAI127-GT500-10; $469) with the optional paint matching. It seems it was a little early in the game for this combo, as peak output nudged up by 3.35 hp and 1.64 lb-ft of torque. Based on our own work with PVT, we know this system excels as the boost goes up, so it definitely will help as Lethal turns up the wick.
It turns out that the stock...
It turns out that the stock throttle body might have been holding back our gains with the CAI. In retrospect, we probably should have tried Whipple's Big Bore 160mm monoblade throttle body first to pave the way (PN WTB-SGT2100; $588). By bolting this on and tweaking the tune, the rear-wheel numbers leapt up by 40.24 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque.
Before we wrapped up our bolt-on build, Lethal first installed a Wilson Manifolds' nitrous system on the '13. That addition put the white GT500 solidly into the 10-second zone on drag radials. After we wrapped up our testing, they hit the combination with a 100-shot; power spiked up to 832 hp and 927 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
With this combo tuned, Team Lethal headed to the Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida, with Jeremy Martorella launching at 3,500 rpm and shifting at 6,900 rpm. It laid down an impressive 9.77 at 148.80 mph pass to put the car into rarified territory. This was achieved with the factory 3.31 gears, so there's still plenty of potential left with more gear.
And, lest you underestimate the potential of the latest GT500, these runs were achieved with the stock suspension. The only modification was to install smaller rear brake rotors to allow for the use of rear Bogart racing wheels with 28x10.5-inch Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks. Of course, this is just the beginning.
To ramp up boost and retain...
To ramp up boost and retain proper belt wrap, Lethal chose to install a 15-percent overdriven damper from Innovators West (PN IW-828; $649). This SFI-approved harmonic balancer obviously spins the supercharger 15 percent faster, which results in a couple extra pounds of boost. You do have to trim down the crank trigger mounting boss to gain the necessary clearance, but the 38.24 hp and 54.53 lb-ft of torque peak gains make that effort worthwhile.
If you own a '13 Shelby GT500...
If you own a '13 Shelby GT500 with the Track Pack, the 15-percent damper gets a bit cozy with the oil cooler plumbing. You can reroute the connections with new fittings and hoses, and gain enough clearance to make it all work together, but in the interest of moving our project along and getting right to the track, the Power By the Hour crew capped off the oil cooler and completed the install.
While cast manifolds are durable...
While cast manifolds are durable and leak-free, it is amazing the kind of power the Trinity 5.8 can produce via the stock manifolds. It's painfully obvious that American Racing Headers' 17?8-inch-primary long-tubes are more free-flowing.
The ARH headers are part of...
The ARH headers are part of a system that includes a matching 2.75-inch midpipe (PN ARH-SH1178NC; $1,484). Installing headers on a modern Mustang does take a bit of jacking and jostling to get them into place, but 17.94 hp and 16.64 lb-ft peak gains show that they will release every last bit of power. Besides, the Team Lethal '13 GT500 is going to see a lot more boost in the future.
With engine temps hovering...
With engine temps hovering in the 200-degree range during the car's initial testing, it was time to swap in a lower temperature thermostat to reduce those numbers and improve performance.
As we found, power-shifting...
As we found, power-shifting with the '13 GT500's stock shifter can be a challenge. To make hot-shoe Jeremy Martorella's (of UPR fame) job easier, Team Lethal opted for one of Barton Industries new GT500 shifters (PN BI-5003BM-3; $350).
Lethal carries the Reische...
Lethal carries the Reische thermostats 170-degree units (PN RP-GT500THERMO-2; $60), which are specifically designed for modern Mustangs. Here's a comparison of the Reische 170 and the stock 192 (right). You don't want to run just any thermostat in your GT500, as they must have the proper reach and depth for the car's unique thermostat housing.
While not a testable bolt-on,...
While not a testable bolt-on, it certainly doesn't hurt to have a 5.0&SF license plate on the Team Lethal '13 GT500. Power By the Hour did all the installation work, while Ken Bjonnes and Jon Lund of Lund Racing did the tuning to make the most of the new hardware.
We dialed up the smoothing...
We dialed up the smoothing on the Dynojet WinPep software to five to make these graphs more legible. As you can see, each addition gained power until we hit the 740-rwhp mark. Turning down the smoothing leaves more peaks and valleys in place, thus the numbers are a bit higher. With the smoothing set to zero, our peak number for final combination was 750, or about 10 ponies higher. This difference is similar across the board. So it's safe to call this bolt-on combo worth 750 at the feet.
To think you could take a stock Mustang to the mid-700-rwhp level with simple bolt-ons would have been crazy just a decade ago. Today it's to be expected when your stock '13 GT500 lays down about 600 at the tire.
As you can see in this chart, each modification helped extract more and more power across the entire powerband. While the big gainers were the tuning, throttle body, and overdrive damper, it's really the sum of the parts when it comes to hot-rodding a Mustang. If you pick the right combination of parts, as Lethal did, then you can end up with triple-digit gains of 156 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque at the tire.
It's important to note that some people are confused by our charts and graphs. Everyone likes the graphs. They are simple, to the point, and include every data point on the curve. The charts are limited to specific rpm increments, so they don't show every possible data point. Thus they may leave out the absolute peak numbers if they don't fall at one of the specified rpm increments. We run both to give you a more complete picture of the changes in power and torque. Everyone loves the peak numbers, but it's the gains throughout the powerband that make your car faster.
||JLT Big Air
||Baseline vs. Long-Tubes