Over the past few years, the iconic Mustang Shelby GT500 has been spied, teased, and rumoured to make a comeback since the last model was introduced 10 years ago. Well, it’s back for real this time, and it’s dubbed the most powerful street-legal Ford in history. Actually, the Shelby GT500 is by far the most advanced Mustang ever made for the street, track or drag strip.

Let’s kick things off with the engine. Under the bonnet rests a 5.2 litre supercharged V8 engine that’s built entirely by hand. A 2.65 litre air-to-liquid cooled roots-type supercharger (housed in the V) is tasked to ram more air into the engine, and the unit is inverted so as to deliver a lower centre of gravity. Its exact output remains undisclosed for now, but what’s certain is the engine makes over 700 hp.

Much like the Shelby GT350, the aluminium alloy block features weight-saving wire-arc cylinder liners and high-flow aluminium cylinder heads, as well as larger forged connecting rods, improved lubrication and cooling passages for increased performance. Beneath that, a structural oil pan adds strength, reduces vibration, and features a patented active baffle system to keep oil where it’s needed.

For transmission, Ford Performance decided to go with a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which it claims is able to shift smoothly in less than 100 milliseconds. A carbon-fibre driveshaft is employed to channel all that power to the rear wheels, and the transmission features a number of drive modes, such as Normal, Slippery, Sport, Drag and Track. It also has line-lock and rpm-selectable launch control through Track Apps.

Harnessing the power and torque for what is by far the most powerful Mustang ever made calls for a combination of cutting-edge active chassis technology, track-bred Michelin tyres and huge Brembo brakes. To start, the folks at Ford Performance have upgraded the car’s suspension geometry and fitted it with a new electronic power steering.

All four corners now benefit from lighter-weight coil springs, as well as next-generation active MagneRide suspension. Ford claims this setup provides the highest-ever lateral acceleration from a Mustang, and we’re inclined to believe that.

Even the wheels are state-of-the-art stuff – the truly hardcore can opt for the Carbon-Fibre Track Package which comes with 20-inch unpainted CF wheels (the rear wheels are half an inch wider at 11.5-inch), adjustable exposed CF GT4 track wing and splitter wickers with integrated dive plane. The rear seat is deleted to reduce more weight.

Those who can make do with a little less aggression can opt for the Handling Package, which comes with adjustable strut top mounts and spoiler with Gurney flap. Two types of tyres can be fitted, the first being a custom Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubbers, and the other is a stickier, custom-made Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with unique compounds and tread.

Now, the exterior shell of the Mustang Shelby GT500 has been extensively and purposefully redesigned. Ford design manager, Melvin Betancourt said “with a double front grille opening and 50% more cooling pack airflow versus the Shelby GT350, along with the most advanced aero components and downforce we’ve ever offered, every millimetre of the Shelby GT500’s fastback design is aimed at improving performance.”

The car’s design was inspired by a modern fighter jet, and the actual aero components were developed in a rolling wind tunnel. This results in a much larger front fascia opening, more than doubling that of the Shelby GT350’s. Six heat exchangers help facilitate cooling, and a massive 31 x 28-inch louvered bonnet vent with removable aluminium rain tray improves air extraction and downforce.

Inside, the cabin gets race-inspired materials and unique trimmings, of which includes unpainted carbon-fibre instrument panel appliqué, and new door panel inserts finished in Dark Slate Miko suede with contrast stitching. Recaro racing seats with heavy side bolsters and pass-throughs for safety harnesses are optional, so if you’re not a track junkie, perhaps the power-adjustable seats with Miko suede inserts would be a more suitable choice.

Elsewhere, there’s a 12-inch full-colour LCD instrument cluster for the driver, a high-performance, custom-tuned 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio system, as well as an eight-inch SYNC 3 touchscreen head unit with SiriusXM and FordPass Connect.

Want one? You’re not alone. Available colours include Red Hot, Twister Orange and Iconic Silver. If you’re a fan of painted stripes, those are available as well. Sales in the US will begin in September this year. So, what do you think of the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500? Comment, below.