At 435 horsepower, the 2015 remake of the Mustang GT is an impressive piece of work. But in today’s new Golden Age of muscle cars, the number is almost middle-of-the-road. So, Ford is rolling out a series of pony car variants that go from hot to hotter to hottest.
It was only a few months ago, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, that we got a good look at the Shelby GT350 Mustang, with its unique new 5.2-liter V-8 featuring a high-revving flat-plane crankshaft bumping the numbers up to a more impressive 500 horsepower. Now, however, Detroit show-goers will get to see that taken up yet another notch, with the addition of the Shelby 350GTR.
That’s “R” as in “racing,” Ford global product development chief Raj Nair declaring the latest Mustang iteration “street-legal, track-ready.”
The 5.2-liter V-8 gets massaged a bit to make “more” than 500 horsepower, and 400 pound-feet of torque, according to Nair. But there’s been a lot more done to make the GT350R a competitive force of nature.
On the GT350R, buyers will have but one gearbox option: a quick-shifting six-speed manual.
To start with, there’ve been a number of changes made to the already slick Mustang bodywork – such as the carbon fiber rear spoiler and front splitter – all done to enhance aerodynamics, with an emphasis on high-speed downforce. The headlamps are about an inch lower than on the stock Mustang GT.
The revised bodywork also helps channel more air to the engine and to the additional coolers needed for engine oil, the transmission and the Torsen limited-slip differential.
The R edition also becomes the first Ford to adopt magnetic ride control, a lightning-fast active suspension system that can adjust the settings of individual shocks in the time it takes to travel one inch at 60 mph.
Ford engineers also revised the GT350R spring rates, anti-roll bars, bushings, bump stops, and cross-axis ball joints, lowered its ride height, and made a number of other adjustments.
(Ford won’t be rolling out aluminum passenger vehicles, Ford exec says. For more, Click Here.)
There was one other critical step taken to transform the GT350 into the more awesome GT350R, according to Nair. “If a feature didn’t help the car go around the track faster, it was out.”
Gone is the rear seat. There’s no stereo. Or air conditioning. Or back-up camera. The maker not only jettisoned the spare tire but didn’t even replace it with a can of sealer just in case you get a flat. Even the exhaust resonators were deleted, which added to the ear-splitting engine note when the Shelby GT350R streaked onto the stage for its Detroit debut. All told, these various moves shave about 130 pounds of mass compared to a Track Pack-equipped GT350.
(Click Here for Ford’s bombshell plans to produce new GT supercar.)
For those who just can’t live without those modern amenities, there’s an optional Electronics package, which will undelete the A/C and stereo, and toss in a navigation system. It’s likely to appeal more to those who will be dropping the hammer on the street, rather than serious track day users.
(To see more about the important debuts at the Detroit Auto Show, Click Here.)
Ford has yet to announce price, but look for the Shelby GT350R to arrive in showrooms later this year.
One response to “Hot, Hotter, Hottest? Ford Turns Up the Heat with Shelby GT350R”
This is just a semi-disguised race car where they made changes that would not normally be allowed. So by selling it as a street car they can race it and have a technical advantage over other brands who actually race the same exact model they sell for street use. It may backfire as the rules makers might force them to add weight…