Is it a threat to the Dodge SRT Demon?

The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is a speed demon in itself but here comes the Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake, a vehicle that Shelby says it designed and developed for blistering performance on the drag strip. The GT500 Dragon Snake packs north of 800 horsepower, is said to be lighter than the regular GT500, and it also puts the power down more efficiently thanks to a retuned transmission and other bits and bobs.

We know the 2020 Shelby GT500 is theoretically capable of blazing from naught to 60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds and run the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds. Car and Driver, however, estimates that under normal conditions, on regular pavement (i.e. in the absence of a drag race-prepped surface), the Shelby GT500 will need 3.5 seconds to hit 60 miles per hour and about 11 seconds to clear the quarter mile. So, we must ask: can the new 2020 GT500 Dragon Snake accelerate to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds and match the Demon’s 2.3-second 0-60 sprint? Let’s find out.

Drivetrain

  • 800+ horsepower
  • Supercharger upgrade
  • Based on the GT500’s 5.2-liter V-8
  • Tweaked suspension
  • Performance half-shafts
  • No word on torque
2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake Exterior
- image 869469

Despite offering a hefty list of mods for the GT500 Dragon Snake, Shelby is coy on specific details for the time being. The only figure we get that relates to the car’s power output is a mysterious 800+ horsepower rating obtained through a Shelby supercharger upgrade - this could be 810 horsepower or as much as 880, even 890 horsepower as far as we’re concerned. Even so, that’s definitely an improvement over the “regular” Shelby GT500, which packs 760 horsepower from a 5.2-liter V-8 slapped with a 2.65-liter supercharger.

The GT500 Dragon Snake is Shelby’s response to the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 729179
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 2.3 Seconds

We have, however, reason to believe that the Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake was developed in a room where the Dodge SRT Demon’s specs were printed in bold and glued to the walls. So, with the Dodge acting as benchmark, Shelby might have went for 840 to 860 horsepower, a number that’s closer to the Demon’s 840 horsepower.

Torque is a complete unknown for the Dragon Snake. While the Shelby GT500 pushes 625 pound-feet of twist, Shelby is completely silent on the Dragon Snake’s rating. All we know for sure is that the Dodge Demon generates up to 770 pound-feet of torque, so that would be the number to beat.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake Exterior
- image 869470

Shelby does mention that the GT500 Dragon Snake gets a MagneRide-enabled suspension setup that brings tweaked front and rear springs and sway bars. Since the muscle car sends all the power to the rear wheels, the front suspension might come in a softer setting, allowing the Dragon Snake to “squat” during the first seconds off the line, pushing the rear tires firmly into the asphalt and generating more grip for a quicker launch. Shelby also mentions the addition of performance half-shafts, which are bound to remedy some of power losses that occur on the engine-wheels route and also offer more durability in the long term.

Exterior

  • Carbon fiber hood
  • Drag race-style carbon fiber rear spoiler
  • Forged aluminum wheels
  • Heavy-duty wheel studs
  • Performance tires
  • Hood pins
  • Stripe decals
  • Optional widebody kit
left right
Viewed from the front, the GT500 Dragon Snake looks just like your run-of-the-mill Shelby GT500. There are, however, two subtle adds-ons in this area.

The less obvious one is the carbon fiber hood. The second one has to do with the two extra hood air vents that provide extra cooling for the tweaked V-8, thus supporting the existing, larger central scoop.

The Shelby racing stripes were kept throughout the whole length of the car, while on the sides, the GT500 Dragon Snake features new decals with the Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake lettering above the side skirts. A stylized cobra head that looks ready to sink its fangs into whoever startled it decorates the GT500 Dragon Snake’s hips, right above the rear wheels.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake Exterior
- image 869472
Speaking of wheels, Shelby went for a set of forged aluminum rollers which, together with the carbon fiber hood, leads the effort to keep the car’s weight in check.

And they’ll do well to pull that off, because the regular Shelby GT500 is by no means a light vehicle, as it tips the scales at an estimated 4,225 pounds.

Shelby doesn’t specify how much weight it was able to shave off the GT500 Dragon Snake, but our guesstimate here is 40-50 pounds tops, considering that no weight-loss-inducing measures were imposed inside the cockpit. What’s more, the company says it has prepared a widebody kit for those interested, which is only bound to add even more weight due to the extra metal it brings to the table once installed.

Interior

  • Custom Shelby leather interior
  • Serialized CSM numbered engine place
  • Serialized CSM numbered dash plaque
  • Dragon Snake lettering embroidered on the headrests
  • Contrasting stitching
  • Zero tweaks to lower the car’s overall weight
2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake
- image 869615
The interior shots Shelby provided for the GT500 Dragon Snake don’t say much regarding what’s changed inside the cabin.

We’re baffled that Shelby didn’t proceed to trimming the cockpit with the intent of slimming down the Dragon Snake. On the flip side, the Dodge Demon goes to such lengths weight-wise that you can remove the passenger’s and the rear seats, there’s no power-adjusting option for the steering wheel, and not even a complex audio setup. Sure, you can add such creature comforts like a heated steering wheel and seat ventilation if you really need them, but otherwise, the stock Demon’s cabin is as spartan as they come, which is something Shelby should have tried to replicate with the GT500 Dragon Snake.

Conclusion

2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake Exterior
- image 869476

To sum up, we don’t believe that the Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake is capable of beating the Demon’s 0-60 miles per hour sprint time of 2.3 seconds. Shelby might have indeed solved the horsepower equation with a sensible bump in power (the new torque value is still to be announced, if there’s such thing in the first place) and the way it is delivered to the asphalt, but the mods it operated to lower the GT500’s hefty weight (estimated at 4,225 pounds) are simply not enough to threaten the Dodge Demon, which simply oozes drag racing gizmos from every nook and cranny, starting with the radial tires and ending with the stripped cabin. Sorry Shelby, but the GT500 Dragon Snake is just too little, too late. And that’s a bummer.

  • Leave it
    • Supposedly, this is just a concept
    • Nowhere near the Dodge Demon in terms of drag strip performance
    • If Shelby gives greenlights it, expect a steep price tag
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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