The most track-ready, road-going Mustang, ever.
At the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Ford showcased their commitment to performance by unveiling a few new sporty models in their stable along with the plans to have 12 new Ford Performance vehicles by 2020. While the new Ford GT may have stolen the show at the automaker’s stand this week, the new Shelby GT350R Mustang isn’t exactly slipping under the radar as the most capable track-ready Mustang variant ever produced.
Fifty years ago, Ford and Carroll Shelby created the Shelby GT350 Competition – a road-racing variant of the Mustang that boasted less weight, more power, and a razor sharp suspension. That same dedication to racing performance with innovative lightweight engineering went into the new Shelby GT350R Mustang.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”
As with all race cars, and road-legal high-performance track variants, the new Shelby GT350R Mustang has been engineered to keep weight to a minimum. During the development process, if a certain part didn’t help make the car faster around the track, it was put up for deletion.
Virtually anything that was considered unnecessary for the track was removed in the name of weight reduction. The air conditioning, stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera, emergency tire sealer and inflator, and exhaust resonators were all removed, helping make the Shelby GT350R Mustang over 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model. If customers so choose, they can opt for the Electronics Package that includes many of the features stripped out such as the air conditioning, touch-screen, audio system, and more.
Weight was also shed in the tuned chassis. Here, the Shelby GT350R Mustang features standard lightweight carbon fiber wheels for the first time from a major automotive manufacturer. Each wheel is about 13 pounds lighter than conventional wheels while offering greater strength and stiffness of aluminum wheels. The new shoes measure 11.0 x 19 up front and 11.5 x 19 at the rear and are shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a rubber compound made specifically for the Shelby GT350R Mustang.
To ensure that every corner is carved up, the newest Shelby has a tuned and tailored suspension. Engineers installed new anti-roll bars, lowered the ride height, revised the spring rates, recalibrated the MagnaRide damper controllers, and adjusted the alignment to sharpen things up. New bushings and jounce bumpers, and cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension ensure that no corner can survive the Shelby GT350R Mustang.
The new 5.2-liter, naturally-aspirated V-8 power plant from hell will be powering the newest track-tuned model. The engine will boast a flat-plane crankshaft for the first time in a Ford production V-8 with evenly-spaced crank pins at 180-degree intervals for better high-speed airflow. The Shelby GT350R Mustang will shred tires with more than 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque sent through a six-speed manual transmission. Helping in the traction department is a Ford-tuned, limited-slip differential with a 3.73 axle ratio that gets better cornering grip and straight-line traction.
“Shelby GT350R’s highly efficient aerodynamics, innovative lightweighting and world-class chassis deliver a truly spectacular driving experience that makes you feel like a professional racing driver,” said Kerry Baldori, Ford Performance chief functional engineer.
Aerodynamics were engrained into the design of the Shelby GT350R Mustang in terms of cooling, downforce, and balance. A hood vent helps to remove heat and reduce lift while underbody pans at the front and rear help to create smooth airflow around the sports car. Vented wheel wells, fender vents, wheel air curtains, and side skirts all help the GT350R slip through air and cool essential parts. To generate downforce and improve stability, a revised front splitter, rear diffuser, and carbon fiber rear wing spoiler all were added, the latter of which moves the center of pressure towards the rear. Further differentiating the exterior from the pack are red brake calipers and red pin-striped edging on the optional racing stripes.
The interior of the stripped-down Shelby GT350R Mustang boasts special ‘GT350R’ badging along with unique red stitching and a D-shaped steering wheel with red center-mark positioned at the top.
The new Shelby GT350R Mustang will be a limited-production model and be available for purchase later this year in the United States and Canada. Pricing has not been released.
Shelby GT350R Mustang Gallery