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2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 could get manual transmission

by Ronan Glon

Ford will make a stick available if enough buyers demand one.

When Ford unveiled the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 at the 2019 Detroit auto show, enthusiasts immediately looked in the driver-side footwell to count the number of pedals. There are two; the model will launch exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That doesn't mean it won't get a stick later in the production run

"Right now, we're DCT-only, but we get feedback, and we're real tight with the Mustang crowd," said Carl Widmann, Ford Performance's head engineer, in an interview with Road & Track. He didn't confirm plans to make a manual transmission available, but he didn't rule it out, either. "We always listen to what our customers want, right?"

Widmann also revealed why his team chose a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The unit can withstand more torque than the 10-speed automatic spreading across the Ford line-up, though the company still hasn't released the 5.2-liter V8's torque output, and it delivers quicker shift times. Explorer buyers probably don't care about shift times, but Ford Performance expects GT500 customers will hit the track at least occasionally so making the car as quick as possible was of paramount importance during the development process.

What remains to be seen is whether there is any demand for a GT500 with a six-speed stick. Equipped with the seven-speed automatic, it reaches 60 mph from a stop in the mid-three-second range and it runs the quarter mile in under 11 seconds. This is a car that's all about numbers; it wasn't designed to deliver laid-back driving enjoyment on a twisty country road, so the engagement of a manual transmission may not matter to GT500 buyers.

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