“When you pass this apex cone, get hard on the throttle and aim for that exit cone,” instructs Billy Johnson, a professional driver with the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team, from behind the steering wheel of a nondescript Ford Transit passenger van. Johnson knows his stuff, having won or placed in the top 10 at Daytona, Sebring, Silverstone, Spa, and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Yet I question his direction. After all, I’m about to strap into a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, the most powerful street-legal car the company has ever built, with a starting price of $70,300. Last time I checked, putting 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque to any car’s rear wheels in the middle of a corner was a bad idea. Johnson glances at me in the van’s rearview mirror, sunglasses hiding his possible disdain. “The car can do it,” he assures me. “As long as the stability control is on, you’ll be fine. And I was.