Want to buy the new Mustang Shelby GT500? It comes with a day of free driver training
15th December 2019
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Knowing how to get every bit of performance out of the “most powerful street-legal Ford ever” will take more than a few trips around the block in a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

Some time at a drag strip with professional instructors, could help, especially when it’s complimentary.

So Ford is offering just that. 

Anyone who buys the 760-horsepower beast (it starts at $72,900, not counting destination charge, but prices with extras can top $91,000) can attend the GT500 Track Attack, and Ford will cover the cost, although buyers will have to pay for travel there and lodging.

This won’t mark the first time Ford has offered a complimentary driver training program — Ford started similar performance efforts in 2012 with the Mustang Boss 302 and has done courses for the Focus ST, Focust RS, Fiesta ST, Shelby GT350 and even the Ford F-150 Raptor and Edge and Explorer ST — but it will be the first time that one will include a drag strip, Ford Performance spokesman Matt Leaver said. It will also be the first time at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Ford and Ford Performance Racing School are joining forces to offer a complimentary program exclusively for owners of the all-new Shelby GT500. (Photo: Ford Motor Co.)

Ford Performance Racing School announced the move of its pavement-based programs to CMS in July. The school is keeping its off-road programs in Utah.

Ford says it will cover the costs of the driving school, with owners responsible for travel, hotel and an optional second-day program. Details are still being finalized.

So why go to driving school?

“Even if you have a bunch of performance cars they’re all different,” Leaver said, noting that’s it’s helpful to learn about such a high-performance car from professional instructors in a controlled environment.

Leaver said that when he went out for a GT350 course, he met owners with a full range of skill sets, those who race and those who have never been on a track before.

“If you were to take it to a drag strip, how would you appropriately launch it?” he said of the GT500.

The supercharged 5.2-liter V8 is said to deliver supercar-level performance, so knowing how to handle all that power is key.

“Our school is the perfect venue to demonstrate just what it can do, both on the track and on the strip. Our professional instructors can help anyone take their driving expertise to the next level, whether they are beginners or experienced drivers,” Dan McKeever, president of Ford Performance Racing School, said in a release.

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Driving programs aren’t unique to Ford.

General Motors has its own version for Corvette customers.

“We currently offer 2019 Corvette customers an opportunity to experience the two-day Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Nevada at a discounted price of $1,000. Customers who purchase a 2019 Corvette ZR1 are afforded complimentary driving school training through the Ron Fellows program. We’re currently working through plans for continuing this experience for 2020 Chevrolet Corvette owners and will have complete details to announce as we get closer to vehicles arriving in dealer showrooms early next year,” said Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also offers driving programs through the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in the Phoenix area for owners of its high horsepower Dodge offerings.

“All customers who buy an SRT model vehicle have the opportunity to participate in … the ‘Official High-Performance Driving School’ at no additional charge and includes both classroom instruction and on-track performance driving. 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon owners have the opportunity to participate in either the ‘Official High-Performance Driving School’ or the Dodge//SRT Bondurant Drag Racing School. Owners of other Dodge//SRT vehicles, who already receive a full-day high-performance driving class, can upgrade their training to two full days (one-day road course, one-day drag strip) for $999,” according to information from FCA spokeswoman Claire Carroll.

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: elawrence@freepress.com or (313) 223-4272. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.

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