This is a ‘CODE RED’ people. But don’t duck for cover, just delight in its majesty. It’s the Shelby GT500 CODE RED. It’s from Shelby American and the figures are, well, just staggering. Running on 93 octane fuel, it churns out a monumental 1,000hp and 780lb ft of twist at least. But if you run it on E85 ethanol - which you can - call that 1,300hp and 1,000lb ft. I don’t know about you, but I am struggling to get my head around that.
The other point is this isn’t just another experimental car. We’re used to seeing those from Shelby American, and its ‘EXP’ back catalogue includes the Green Hornet, the Super Snake, Little Red and the twin-turbo CODE RED that was shown in 2008. It’s from the interest in that ’08 car that this limited-run model (10 will be made for each GT500 model year, which went from 2020-22) has come about. It's not road legal, but you can buy one for $209,995 plus the cost of the donor car.
The original ‘EXP’ CODE RED was developed with Nelson’s Racing Engines, and by Tom Nelson’s standards, 1,000hp isn’t unusual. His motors, such as the twin-turbo 427 LS Alien, stretch to 2,000hp. The ’08 CODE RED had a 5.4-litre V8 with twin-turbos, a speed-sensitive boost controller and a dual-feed fuel system that blended in high-octane racing fuel as needed.
This production version is running a 5.2-litre V8 developed with Fathouse Performance. So it’s running an FHP twin turbo system with Xona 7869S Dual Ball Bearing Turbos and Tial MVS Wastegates. The myriad other changes include Custom Manley Pistons, which push the compression ratio to 10.5:1, Ferrea Competition Valves and a Fathouse Performance Intake Manifold, A2W Intercooler and Performance Billet Throttle Body Adaptor.
Obviously, you can’t just make a 1,000-plus-horsepower car without significant upgrades elsewhere. So there’s a carbon bonnet, wider bodywork, bigger wheels and tyres, new axles, tuned suspension and lots of testing. That was headed by Vince LaViolette, who’s Shelby American’s Vice President of Operations and Chief of R&D. He said "The unique nature of this new car required us to pour in lessons learned from extreme vehicles like the 2008 CODE RED, Shelby 1000 and 2020 Shelby GT500 Dragon Snake concept.
"All of the massive horsepower and torque we develop with the new CODE RED car required us to focus on optimising traction. That is why CODE RED is more of a straight-line performer than a road course warrior. While not street legal, it's very capable at moderate speeds in almost any curve. But when the turbos spool up, the car is best enjoyed moving straight ahead."
Again, it's the first time Shelby American has turned an ‘EXP’ car into customer cars - and there are reasons for that. Customer demand is one, of course, but also, as Joe Conway, who’s the CEO of Shelby American, puts it, “The current generation Shelby GT500 is so robust and spectacular that many of the issues we encountered 14 years ago [with the original CODE RED] no longer exist. It's so perfect for CODE RED transformation that we began quietly building a few for insiders who asked."
1 / 9