You’d better come prepared for savagery when you avail any of these tuning programs for the new Shelby GT500

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the kind of car you buy if you’re into power, speed, and performance. It’s also the kind of car you buy if you’re not afraid of what all of that can do to you. Oh, and it’s also the car you buy if you want to get any of these tuning programs that are available specifically for the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. There are three tuning programs in total: Venom 850, Venom 1000, and Venom 1200. Each one offers power and performance upgrades to the Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. I suppose the amount of extra power you want depends on what you can handle on the race track. Let it be said, though, that when Hennessey builds a tuning kit for a muscle car that’s already dripping in power and torque, these kits aren’t the types you buy when you want to use them for your weekend errands. These kits are the types you buy when you want to go balls-to-the-wall on the racetrack.

Exterior

  • "Hennessey" badges
  • "Venom 850," "Venom 1000," and "Venom 1200" badges depending on the program you get
  • Front splitter and large rear wing come courtesy of Ford and Shelby

Working on an aftermarket program for the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 leaves precious little room for any meaningful upgrades to the muscle car’s exterior. That’s not exactly a tuner’s fault because Ford already lifted all the weights in that regard. Suffice to say, the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is dripping in aerodynamics. From the aggressive front splitter to the massive rear wing and everything else in between, the newest Shelby GT500 was built to be a performance monster, as it should be considering that it’s carrying the name of Carroll Shelby.

The splitter and the rear wing are the two biggest and most obvious aero components on the 2020 Shelby GT500.

But they’re far from the only ones. The side vents on the muscle car are larger as well, as are the front fenders that now extend toward the fascia, wrapping around the headlamps and the lower side vents in the process.

Minor revisions were also made to the side skirts and mirror caps, but at the back, the aforementioned rear wing is actually sourced from the Mustang GT4 racer, an interesting proposition for a tuned-up pony car with a few surprises in store under its hood.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 by Hennessey
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So with all of these aero bits taken care of by Ford, what was left for Hennessey to add in the exterior of the Mustang Shelby GT500? Well, if you’re the type who wants to flaunt this ride to anyone who wants to see it, the Hennessey and “Venom 850” exterior badges count as proper identifiers

. Once they see these badges — the latter, specifically — there will be no doubt in their minds on the kind of performance capabilities this particular tuning build has.

The same holds true for the bigger stage upgrades. The “Venom 850” badge can be the “Venom 1000” badge or it can be the “Venom 1200” badge. It all depends on the kind of performance upgrade you want in your 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500.

Interior

  • Embroidered headrests
  • Serial-numbered dash plaque signed by John Hennessey
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Hennessey’s singular focus with this tuning program for the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the muscle car’s 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. So don’t take it against the tuner if the exterior — and interior — of the Shelby GT500 was largely ignored, which happens to be the case here. There are some unique features, but they largely revolve around vanity pieces like the embroidered headrests and the serial-numbered dash plaque that’s signed by the man himself John Hennessey.

As for the rest of the Shelby GT500’s interior, it remains mostly unchanged from the interior of its little brother, the Shelby GT350.

Recaro racing seats come standard, and they include power-adjustable seats with suede inserts.

The Mustang Shelby GT500 also comes with Ford’s 12-inch instrument cluster with some fancy new graphics in tow. Over in the middle of the dashboard is the 8.8-inch infotainment display that features Ford’s SYNC3 operating system, SiriusXM, and FordPass Connect, among other useful functions.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Visually, it’s all the same, too. There’s a redesigned trim on the dashboard and center console. That’s worth mentioning, at the very least.

You can also avail of carbon-fiber trim in the Mustang Shelby GT500’s interior.

That provides an upscale dress-up of the dashboard. For quality sounds, a 12-speaker B&O Play premium audio system is also available.

Don’t be too disappointed with the lack of any meaningful upgrades in the interior of the Mustang Shelby GT500. Visual aesthetics have never been Hennessey’s forte, to begin with. Fortunately, the thing that Hennessey’s good at comes next. Prepare for your minds to be blown completely wide open.

Drivetrain

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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Let the madness begin. Hennessey’s tuning program for the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 isn’t actually a tuning program. Its three tuning programs, each offering seismic-levels of power and performance increases that will make every bone in your body quiver in fear (or excitement).

The first stage program is called the “Venom 850.” The number gives it away, don’t they?

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine produces 850 horsepower at 7,000 rpm when using 93 octane Shell V-Power in this setup.

It also churns out 725 pound-feet of torque at 8,400 rpm. Do the math and you’re looking at an increase of 90 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. It’s not completely mind-blowing considering the baseline output of the Shelby GT500, but it’s still a significant output increase that’s going to make the already potent muscle car even more diabolical on the road and track.

So, how did Hennessey get to those figures? The answer is a potent cocktail of parts and equipment that includes a CNC machine-ported factory supercar, high-flow catalytic converters, and stainless steel long tube headers, all of which were installed to provide the supercharged V-8 a smoother release of power. An upgraded supercharger pulley and belt, as well as a high-flow air induction system also contribute to the release of extra horses from the Shelby GT500’s V-8 unit.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 by Hennessey
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For most people, an 850-horsepower 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 already tests the limits of their bravery. But for the few who want more than just a 90-horsepower increase over the stock 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500, Hennessey is offering a stage two program called “Venom 1000.” The tuner isn’t subtle, isn’t it?

The Venom 1000 kit comes with an engine upgrade program that results in a net output of 1,000 horsepower at 7,000 rpm — again, with 93 octane Shell V-Power fuel — and 850 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.

This is the point where rationality has to be examined. A 750-horsepower 2020 Mustang Shelby GT 500 is no joke, let alone one equipped with the Venom 850 tuning kit. But the Venom 1000? You’d have to be a certain type of brave to avail a program that adds a 3.0-liter supercharger system upgrade, as well as an upgraded intercooler system, a fuel system upgrade, and a transmission upgrade on top of all the items already included in the Venom 850 kit. Don’t sleep on the transmission upgrade, too. That becomes very important given the kind of output you’re going to be dealing with.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Venom 850 by Hennessey Venom 1000 by Hennessey Venom 1200 by Hennessey
Horsepower 760 hp 850 bhp @ 7,000 rpm (93 octane Shell V-Power fuel) 1000 bhp @ 7,000 rpm (93 octane Shell V-Power fuel) 1200 bhp @ 7,000 rpm (E85 fuel or 109 octane unleaded race fuel)
Torque 650 LB-FT 725 lb-ft torque @ 4,800 rpm 850 lb-ft torque @ 4,800 rpm 1000 lb-ft torque @ 4,800 rpm

I wish you all the best if you decide to avail Hennessey’s Venom 1000 tuning program for the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. But if a 1,000-horsepower muscle car still isn’t enough, then I don’t know what to tell you anymore. I will say that Hennessey does have that option, provided you’re willing to see your life flash before your eyes. It’s called the “Venom 1200” tuning program, and it turns the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500’s supercharged V-8 into a 1,200-horsepower, fire-breathing monster. There’s no hiding from this program, folks. If you purchase this kit, you’re buying a new twin-turbocharger system for your Mustang Shelby GT500’s supercharged V-8 engine. You’re also buying an upgraded intercooler system, a fuel system upgrade, a similar transmission upgrade from the Venom 1000, and all the other bits, pieces, and equipment that are included in the mundane-by-comparison Venom 850 and Venom 1000 programs.

All of that will get you a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 that’s powered by a 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged and supercharged V-8 engine that produces an out-of-this-world output of 1,200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm — the engine has to drink E85 fuel or 109 octane unleaded race fuel — and 1,000 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.

At this point, you’re already looking at a power increase of 450 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque compared to the stock 2020 Mustang Shelby GT 500. By themselves, those are the output numbers of the stock 2020 Ford Mustang GT.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
- image 816772

Unfortunately, Hennessey didn’t release the performance numbers of the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 post-upgrade. While I can imagine those figures being completely absurd, nothing is too ridiculous when it comes to Hennessey. This is, after all, the same company that’s responsible for the Venom F5, one of the fastest production cars in the world, if not the fastest one. That’s a story for another time. As far as the ‘Stang Shelby GT500 goes, the 725-horsepower muscle car can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a little over three seconds before maxing out at a top speed of 199 mph.

I’m going to assume now and say that a 2020 Shelby GT 500 that is equipped with the Venom 850 program can cover the same 0-to-60-mph ground in around 2.7 seconds. If Hennessey’s naughty, it could unlock the muscle car’s top speed, too, possibly in the vicinity of around 202 mph. As far as the Venom 1000 program is concerned, look for an acceleration time of around 2.4 to 2.5 seconds and a top speed that could exceed 210 mph if Hennessey’s feeling a little frisky.

Then there’s the Venom 1200 program. I don’t think it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just two seconds, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it could. We are talking about 1,200 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. My best guess is an acceleration time of 2.0 to 2.1 seconds and a top speed of over 220 mph.

These figures are estimates more than anything else. But in any language you speak, they can be understood loud and pretty darn clear. A Hennessy-tuned 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is, most definitely, not for the weak-of-heart.

Pricing

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 by Hennessey
- image 858444

Pricing information hasn’t been released yet, but we can take comfort knowing that every 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 that’s equipped with the Venom 1200 program will undergo extensive testing before and after its build for up to 150 miles. At the very least, Hennessey’s quality control is coming to the forefront in this regard.

As far as the actual cost is concerned, a standard 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 costs around $74,000 once you take into account a $1,095 destination charge and a $2,600 gas guzzler tax. The muscle car remains a cheaper alternative compared to a lot of European exotics in the market today. That said, expect the cost of doing business with Hennessey to hit you in your bank accounts to the tune of at least $100,000 all the way to around $120,000.

Final Thoughts

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 by Hennessey
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I’m supposed to have something smart and witty to say in this section, but, in reality, there’s no point even going there. Hennessey’s three tuning programs for the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 are the kinds of programs you get if you’re the type who isn’t afraid of maximizing the kind of output they provide. They’re certainly not for everyone, least of all those with pre-existing medical conditions. But those who are brave enough to get behind the wheel of an 850-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT500, let alone one that produces 1,2000 horsepower, then, by all means, patronize Hennessey’s product and buy it. Enjoy it for what it’s worth because we’re going to want all of you to live to tell your stories about these tuned-up Shelby GT500s.

  • Leave it
    • Definitely not for everyone
    • If you can’t handle all that extra power, don’t try to get too cute with it

Further reading

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

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