Interview: Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED Is Ready to ‘Burn Gas and Rubber’ With 1,300 Horsepower

Shelby American has a formula when it comes to the Ford Mustang. They get a hold of an enthusiastic performance car and make it a wild weapon of track and blacktop domination. The new Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED is a clear representation of that formula. Shelby American President Gary Patterson is proud of the limited-release monster; it’s the most powerful Shelby GT500 yet. 

What is a Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED?

The Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED is quite simply the most powerful and one of the most exclusive Ford Mustangs that the legendary company has ever produced. The CODE RED package is based on the 2020, 2021, and 2022 model year S550 generation Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s, and subtlety is not a concern. Shelby American President Gary Patterson told me that the limited release CODE RED is a “hybrid.” 

The Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED is the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever and a serious track car.
Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED | Shelby American

He then quelled my shock with a lighthearted follow-up that the CODE RED “burns both gas and rubber.” Patterson is excited about the track car, and we can think of over one thousand reasons why he would be. 

How much horsepower does the new Shelby GT500 package produce?

Shelby American says the new GT500-based track car produces over 1,000 horsepower on 93 octane pump gas and 1,300 horsepower on E85 Ethanol fuel. Those numbers make the CODE RED the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever. In addition to a MoTeC-managed E85 appetite, Patterson says that the magic figures are courtesy of a special 5.2L twin-turbocharged V8 engine with a lightning-fast Tremec-designed transmission. “The DCT can shift as quick as 80 milliseconds,” Patterson said about the track-ready transmission. 

The Mustang Shelby GT500 CODE RED shows off its re-engineered twin-turbocharged V8.
Shelby GT500 CODE RED twin-turbo 5.2L V8 | Shelby American

“It’s the latest technology while still being old-school,” Patterson explained. Just looking at the beast confirms his words. Its planted, with copious carbon fiber, flared fender wells, and a scalpel-sharp wing. 

How do you get your hands on a CODE RED?

This kind of performance isn’t going to come cheap. The new track-only package has a starting price of $209,995. That’s just it, also; it’s a package, not a car. You’ll have to acquire 2020, 2021, or 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 first. The latest GT500s with Predator engines are already track stars, but the CODE RED takes things to the next level. Of course, if you want a CODE RED, you better move; Shelby American will only make 10 per model year for a total of 30. 

Why did Shelby American start offering a CODE RED package?

“I drove the old car that we designed years ago, and the technology wasn’t there yet,” Patterson said when I asked if he had taken the new Shelby out for a drive. “With this car, it’s the latest and greatest technology to put the power down and make it happen.” He’s, of course, referring to the myriad of Fathouse Fabrication parts and MoTeC Engine Management system facilitating flex-fuel operation among other performance enhancements. Patterson and Shelby American are offering this car for one apparent reason: to keep the spirit of Shelby alive and put out the most impressive product possible. 

Shelby GT500 CODE RED has a huge rear wing, showcasing its track car credentials.
Shelby GT500 CODE RED | Shelby American

What’s next for Shelby American?

“CODE RED is designed to be the pinnacle of Shelby Mustangs,” Patterson said about this latest offering. However, he also says Shelby American is excited about the electric age. “Carroll Shelby was excited about electric drivetrains,” Patterson told me. “Carroll himself said that he was excited to ‘play around with it.’” A new generation of electric Shelby cars and trucks is a bittersweet yet exciting prospect for many fans, but one thing is sure: performance will be their business. 

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