Ford is keen to point out that its new 2013 Shelby GT500 can hit 200 mph — but where did the automaker find a straight long enough to test that maximum velocity? As it turns out, Ford engineers used not a straight but a circle: the 7.8-mile banked circuit of the Nardo test track in Italy.
This video, filmed last summer as the 2013 Shelby GT500 was still under development, shows that Ford put the prototype car through its paces at speeds approaching 200 mph. The company wanted to ensure that not only could the GT500 hit the impressive speed, but do so without mechanical failure or other problems. Ford also tested the car’s brakes, performing several panic-braking stops from close to 200 mph.
“This car is very stable at 200 mph,” asserts Ford engineer Kerry Baldori. “The guys who drove at that speed said that [the GT500] was very easy to drive, no worries.”
The grunt to reach 200 mph in the Shelby GT500 is provided by a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 that pushes out 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque. Coupled to a six-speed manual transmission and electronic launch control, the engine makes for some serious performance for the newest Ford rocket. Our pals at Motor Trend also tried to hit 200 mph in the 2013 Shelby GT500 at a test track in Arizona, but unfortunately only managed a still-impressive 196 mph.
The Nardo test track was purchased by Porsche earlier this year. You can take a brief look at Ford’s testing regimen on the Nardo banked track in the video below. After watching this video, be sure to check out our spy photos of the next-generation 2015 Ford Mustang.