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The new Shelby GT500 model released last year for the 2020 model. It’s even better now with an array of carbon components you can add with different packages as well as impeccable and refined handling. But does the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 have a manual transmission?

A Shelby GT500 in bright blue paint driving on a track
2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Lincoln Hill via Ford Performance

For a large number of muscle car enthusiasts, a car like the Mustang Shelby GT500 lacking a purist feature like a manual transmission is just not ok. So does the 2021 model have a manual transmission option? Does it need one?

The 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

In a recent track test of the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, I was wildly impressed. This is a car that feels right at home making laps around the Texas Motor Speedway oval in No Limits, Texas. However, it’s also so smooth and comfortable to sit in that I can imagine it proving itself as an excellent daily driver as well.

The 2021 Ford Must Shelby GT500 starts for $72,900, according to Ford. The available Recaro seats and Carbon Fiber Track Pack will push the price even closer to that six-figure mark. But I have to say that I think––if you have the money to spend on a car like this––the GT500 is worth every penny.

In fact, even the upgrades are worthwhile investments. In the event I attended, Ford Performance representatives gave demonstrations of various 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 components. The carbon wheels are so light, for example, I was able to easily lift one using only one hand.

How fast is the GT500?

The performance specs of the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 aren’t surprising, but they are impressive. Its 5.2-liter Supercharged Cross Plane Crank V8 engine gets 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. The Caron Fiber Track Pack takes out the rear seats, increasing capability and giving it an enhanced performance-oriented feel.

three Gt500 models in a row driving on the track
2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Lincoln Hill via Ford Performance

But how fast does it go? The 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 tops out at 180, according to Road and Track. That’s actually a little slower than the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Dodge’s Challenger Hellcat Redeye.

“the most powerful street-legal Ford ever with a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 producing more than 700 horsepower”

Ford Media

However, where the new GT500 shines is in handling. Additionally, it does 0-60 mph in 3 and half seconds, give or take a few tenths of a second. At the Shelby GT500 track event, a breathtaking demonstration showed this Ford’s ability to go like lightning from 0 to 100 mph and then back to a complete stop.

Does the 2021 model have a manual transmission?

No, this model does not have an available manual transmission. Is that really a problem? Not really. When I asked, the professional driver that took me for a 150 mph hot lap said that the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 doesn’t even need it.

The Tremec transmission on display
A Tremec 7-speed DCT on display | Lincoln Hill via Ford Performance

With the fine-tuned and detail-oriented engineering that’s gone into the development of a 7-speed Tremec dual-clutch automatic transmission, the gears are so intuitive a driver would almost get in the way. In fact, several Ford Performance representatives revealed that they believed they could out-shift the Tremec transmission. However, after some time playing around with the paddle shifters they each realized in turn that the Tremec does exactly what it’s meant to do.

Is a manual transmission necessary?

While it might be fun to throw around the GT500’s 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque with a manual transmission, the only way you’ll come close is in the Mustang Mach-1. The Mach-1 offers 480 horsepower with 420 lb-ft of torque (plenty for the needs of most). It also has an available 6-speed manual transmission. That said, the 2021 GT500 lacks this option.

a dark blue 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 on the track
2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Lincoln Hill via Ford Performance

Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is ultimately up to you. I will say that careening around the oval with my hands on the wheel at 120 mph was sheer fun. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for hours––manual transmission or not.


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