Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography Courtesy of Evolution Performance and Chris Simmons Photography
Although Fred Cook and the team at Evolution Performance have held the record for the quickest quarter-mile pass with a Ford dual-clutch transmission for nearly two years, the guys have been continuously pushing the limits and lowering their 2020 Shelby GT500’s elapsed time to 8.45-seconds at an incredible 167 mph and 1.23-second 60-foot time.
Back in January of 2020 and with driver Dalton Winkler behind the wheel of the massively enhanced 2020 Shelby GT500, Evolution Performance’s machine known as the “Villain” became the first 2020+ GT500 to run in the 9-second zone.
“Then it got quicker and we ran lower nines, and so on and so forth,” recounted Cook.
A little over a year later, Winkler was able to pilot the GT500 into the record books again as being the first to break the 8-second barrier (8.97 at 154 mph) during an outing at Florida’s Bradenton Motorsports Park. The following month, in March of 2021 while testing at Maryland International Raceway, the team received an 8.88-second timeslip.
“Then the car sat, because we were super busy,” noted Cook of his shop, located just south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which specializes in late-model Mustangs from mild to wild and street to race with full front-to-back aesthetic and mechanical builds of all budgets for customers all over the country.
“All of the runs up until then were made with a Kong Performance FreakShow ported stock supercharger with smaller GripTec Pulleys, Kong 108mm throttle body, and JLT Big Air intake, too.”
The factory blower didn’t last long, though, as Whipple delivered in a big way with a new race-ported, 3.8-liter, twin-screw supercharger, 10-rib pulley system and GripTec 10-rib pulley for the MPR Racing-built Predator engine.
Steven Schechterly, Lead Technician at Evolution Performance worked throughout the summer to upgrade the “Villain,” although they knew they wouldn’t be making any runs in the summer heat.
With American Racing long-tube headers with 2-inch primaries installed and a set of Brisk Racing spark plugs igniting the fuel delivered by Injector Dynamics ID1700-XDS injectors via a Fore Innovations triple pump return fuel system, the upgraded combination made over 1,400 wheel horsepower on the dyno thanks to tuning by Lund Racing.
BMR suspension and chassis components, along with a UPR Products breather tank, Wilwood brakes, and special “Villain” edition Bogart 17-inch wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires rounded out the modifications on the car.
Over the weekend of November 11-14, 2021, Cook and crew headed down to South Georgia Motorsports Park for the Mod Nationals event. Evolution Performance was sponsoring the 2020+ GT500 class in which Winkler would be running their flagship Shelby, and the group wound up absolutely annihilating the class.
In qualifying, Winkler ran an astounding 8.590 at 165.46 mph to set the pace as the number-one ranked racer with a full second advantage and to have reset both ends of the 2020+ Shelby GT500 world records yet again.
Winkler, unsurprisingly, went on to defeat the rest of the field in eliminations and capture the overall win.
“We took the prize money we won and divided it up amongst the rest of the drivers, even other shops, and sent them all checks,” shared Cook, who was more excited about his car’s performance than the cash.
With such an impressive performance in the bag, the team was curious to see if the car had a little more in it. So, a few minor changes and a quick trip to Cecil County Dragway in Maryland were made in mid-November.
There, the Evolution Performance-built Shelby GT500 responded affirmatively with an incredible 8.45 at 167mph blast, including a 1.23-second 60-foot time, to reset both ends of their 2020+ Shelby GT500 with a DCT transmission records once again.
“That’s unheard of for a 2020+ Shelby GT500 still running the factory dual-clutch transmission… it’s almost unfathomable,” said Cook, rightfully proud of his team’s hard work and impressive performance.
Ford’s factory stock TREMEC TR-9070 DCT transmission is notoriously difficult to manipulate, as the dedicated controlling computer can be “stingy” when it comes to racing. “It will pull timing to protect the transmission from being damaged or put it in neutral or just not shift at all, so it can be difficult to accomplish big performance gains if you’re launching with too much torque,” explained Cook, whose innovative team has figured out a few solid workarounds and is still using the stock DCT clutches, stock differential, and stock half shafts on their shop car.
“The new Whipple GEN 5 3.8L blower is really amazing, too” noted Cook of how the inlet air temperatures are significantly lower as compared to the stock unit. “Before, with the stock supercharger and our [Evolution Performance] ice tank, the inlet air temperatures after a run would be around 150-degrees. Now, they’re around 65-degrees—that’s huge. This new design is amazing, the power is linear, it’s very reliable, and it’s way more efficient.”
For having set the standard for the quickest and fastest 2020+ Ford Shelby GT500 in the world with the factory DCT transmission and clutches many times over, it’s no surprise Evolution Performance is a name that’s synonymous with success.