Sort of. Let us explain.
With 760 horsepower on tap from a supercharged 5.2-liter V8, the 2020 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is no stranger to speed. Bolstered by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, Ford's most powerful road car can scoot to 60 mph in a lightning-fast 3.4 seconds on standard rubber, according to Car and Driver's testing results.
However, the GT500 actually seems to get slower as soon as you add the optional $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Pack - a package that includes a GT4-spec wing, carbon fiber dash, rear seat delete, exposed carbon fiber wheels, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber. Car and Driver's testing resulted in a 0-to-60 sprint in 3.6 seconds instead of 3.4, and a 7.1-second jog to 100 mph, versus 6.9 seconds without the package.
We all know that power-to-weight ratio is one of the most crucial stats when it comes to straight-line acceleration, and the two cars obviously have the same power output and gearing, so exactly what is going on here? The publication reached out to Ford to find out what's behind the counter-intuitive GT500 pecking order.
"It's not atypical to see a PS4S equal the Cup tire or go a bit faster," Lead Shelby GT500 Development Engineer Steve Thompson revealed.
To put it simply, the Pilot Sport 4S was developed with street use and the occasional drag race in mind, where the Pilot Sport Cup 2 was built for optimal road course performance. To those ends, the standard Pilot Sport 4S has thicker center tread blocks that can better retain heat, which helps with launch traction, and the internal construction of each tire is markedly different.
That's one strike for the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, then, but the slightly handicapped straight-line performance is more than made up for by its cornering grip; skidpad testing showed a whopping 1.13 g of lateral grip for the Carbon Fiber Track Pack and its Cup 2s, as compared to 0.99 g for the regular model's 4Ses. That's an insane amount of cornering grip for any road car, much less one weighing over 4,000 pounds.
For the HPDE enthusiast, the immense cornering capabilities will most certainly outweigh the modest straight-line penalty - even if it means occasionally being taken to gapplebees by the average C8 'Vette.