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The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is unveiled during day one of the 2019 North American International Auto Show, at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Mich., on Jan. 14, 2019.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The North American International Auto Show will move from winter to late spring in 2020 in order to better reflect the automotive industry’s movement toward autonomous cars and electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, in a bow to the show’s muscle-car tradition, on Monday, Ford unveiled its most powerful street-legal sports coupe to date. The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 will gun from zero to-100 km/h in less than four seconds and generate more than 700 horsepower when made available to consumers in the fall.

Ford put together a team of designers, performance engineers and motorsports collaborators to design the GT500. Displaying the GT350’s stablemate in Detroit, Ford said it transferred technology from the Ford GT and Mustang GT4 racing programs to engineer the GT500.

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Built by hand, the 5.2-litre, aluminum alloy V8 engine features an inverted 2.65-litre supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler in the engine valley.

A Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, capable of shifts in less than 100 milliseconds, delivers power to a carbon fibre driveshaft.

Drive modes include normal, weather, sport, drag and track, with line-lock and “launch control” features.

An optional handling package includes splitter wickers, adjustable strut top mounts, and a spoiler with Gurney flap.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Custom tires are required to handle the track and drag-strip racing. Ford selected Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires as standard, with an option for yet more aggressive Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires which have unique compounds and tread.

The two-piece brake rotors at 420-millimeters are the largest to be fitted to a domestic sports coupe, Ford says. Brembo six-piston calipers have 30 per cent more thermal mass than the brakes on the Shelby GT350.

An optional handling package includes splitter wickers, adjustable strut top mounts, and a spoiler with Gurney flap.

“For the truly hardcore,” a second optional package includes exposed 20-inch carbon fiber wheels with wider rear wheels, the Sport Cup 2 tires, an exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing and splitter wickers.

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Front fascia openings double the Shelby GT350’s, and six heat exchangers boost cooling pack airflow by more than 50 per cent. An aluminum rain tray can be removed from the louvered hood vent for more efficient air extraction and increased downforce.

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