The new king of Mustang track performance
January 12, 2015/Autoweek/J.P. Vettraino
Ford on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit revealed its Shelby Mustang GT350R. The R is to the recently unveiled Shelby GT350 as the Boss 302 Laguna Seca was to the Boss 302 -- the ultimate track car among the new generation of Mustangs
The R starts with a substantial increase in downforce, thanks to a more aggressive front splitter and rear wing, among other things. The MagneRide adaptive suspension -- this is the first car to receive it -- is tuned for full track duty. The GT350R will also be the first Ford fitted at the factory with carbon-fiber wheels as standard, which reduce unsprung weight by 13 pounds per wheel compared to aluminum. The big-buck rims are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 track tires.
Overall weight is reduced “at least 130 pounds” compared to the Shelby GT350, thanks to deleting multiple creature comforts, including audio system, air conditioning, back-up camera and rear seat. Most of those can be restored with an electronics package option.
Power comes from Ford’s new flat-plane crank, 5.2-liter V8, which will be the most powerful normally aspirated V8 in any production Ford to date. The company promises “at least 500 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque,” the same figures it quotes for the standard GT350. The transmission is a TREMEC TR-3160 six-speed manual, and the driveline is updated throughout for better track cooling and durability.
The GT350R will debut sometime in 2015, likely as a 2016 model.