2015 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R revealed
The 2015 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R was revealed overnight at the Detroit Motor Show, with Ford naming it the “most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built”.
ARRIVING LATER IN 2015, the Shelby Mustang GT350R can trace its history all the way back to the 1965 Shelby GT350 Competition, which became one of the most iconic racing Mustangs ever built.
“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.”
Under the bonnet is a 5.2-litre V8, the first-ever V8 from Ford to feature a flat-plane crankshaft, which at 368kW and 542Nm of torque is the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine Ford has ever produced. This is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip Torsen differential with a 3.73 axle ratio. The suspension has been specially tuned for track driving, the Shlbey Mustang GT350R revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and jounce bumpers, cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension, and revised calibration controlling the MagneRide dampers.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course,” said Nair. “This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete – one that is extraordinarily precise and agile.”
The Shelby GT350R gets 19-inch lightweight carbon-fibre wheels, making Ford the first maker to fit this type of wheel as standard equipment; they help to reduce rolling inertia and unsprung weight. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber.
Ford says its engineers went looking to save weight with the GT350R and if the part wasn’t needed to make the car fast on a race track it was binned. So, there’s no air conditioning, no stereo system, no rear seats, no boot floorboard or carpet, and no reversing camera. Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone. This realised a 59kg weight saving over the Shelby GT350 Track Pack.
However, if that’s a little too bare bones, Ford says customers can add some of that stuff back in with its Electronics Package, which includes: dual-zone air conditioning, eight-inch touch screen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.
To ensure the GT350R is both slippery but gets maximum downforce at speed, Ford worked on every element of the exterior to make it as functional as possible. So, the bonnet vents provide heat extraction and lift reduction, underbody belly pans front and rear, an aggressive diffuser, vented wheel wells and turbulence-reducing fender vents, wheel air curtains and side skirts – these elements were carried over from the GT350, but have been tweaked further.
Revisions to the front splitter maximize downforce, while an all-new high-efficiency carbon fiber rear wing has been added in anticipation of competition. According to Ford, the wing moves the vehicle’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance.
“Shelby GT350R’s highly efficient aerodynamics, innovative light-weighting 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.
Besides the carbon-fibre wheels, larger front splitter and rear wing, Shelby GT350R gets red painted brake calipers, red pin striping at the edges of the optional over-the-top racing stripes and Shelby GT350R badging. Inside is high-contrast red stitching, Shelby GT350R badging and the D-shaped steering wheel fitted with a red centre mark at the top.
The Shleby Mustang GT350R goes on-sale in the US and Canada later this year and will have it production limited. It’s unlikely it will make its way to Australia.