First Shelby GT350R rolls off assembly line at Ford’s Flat Rock plant

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 20, 2015

“Today, the legend continues,” is how Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, introduces the all-new Shelby GT350R. The new GT350R Mustang, which is the most athletic version ever built, recently rolled off the line at Ford’s Assembly Plant in Flat Rock. Anyone who drives the new GT350R Mustang is rewarded with an amazing experience as it can easily tackle the most challenging roads and race tracks ever.

When it was presented, Bill Ford said it was a special day for all Mustang fans. He said that the GT350 formula has been taken by the automaker to the next level of innovation, style and performance.

With advancements made in aerodynamics, light-weighting, and chassis engineering, Ford was able to design and engineer the new Shelby GT350R in the same spirit, offering exceptional track capability from a Mustang.

The car is equipped with Ford’s first-ever production V8 that had a flat-plane crankshaft. It features the most powerful naturally aspirated engine that the brand has ever built. It also gets a specially tuned suspension.

It has the following equipment: modified spring rates, antiroll bars, one-of-a-kind track-tuned alignment settings, lower ride height, modified brushings and jounce bumpers, revised calibration that control the MagneRide dampers, and cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension.

The Shelby GT350R comes with lightweight carbon fiber wheels as standard. Ford is actually the first major automaker to offer this wheel technology as standard. These carbon fiber wheels, which are available on few exotic supercars, will boost Shelby GT350R performance by cutting critical unsprung weight and decreasing the rolling inertia.

The front wheels (19x11-inch) and the rear wheels (19x11.5-inch) offer about 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and result to higher levels of stiffness than the comparable aluminum wheels. Covering the lightweight wheels are Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction that’s exclusive to Shelby GT350R.

Because of this mix of very stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires, customers get outstanding feel and performance levels. Ford engineers were able to reduce the weight significantly on the Shelby GT350R. They considered for deletion whatever part there was that didn’t contribute to making the car faster around a road course.

Among the items taken out were the rear seats, air conditioning, trunk floorboard and carpet, stereo system, emergency tire sealer, inflator, and backup camera. Another item deleted to save on weight was the exhaust resonators. Doing this also resulted to a sharper exhaust tone. Shelby GT350R is lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model by over 130 pounds. The Track Pack model has proven how durable it is in numerous 24-hour racetrack tests.

Ford offers an optional Electronics Package for those who want their Shelby GT350R to offer a higher level of comfort. The package consists of 8-inch touch screen with navigation, turn signal mirrors, seven-speaker audio system, and dual-zone air conditioning.

The aerodynamics on the Shelby GT350R was optimized. It has gotten the hood vent for heat extraction and lift reduction, an aggressive diffuser, vented wheel wells and turbulence-reducing fender vents, underbody belly pans front and rear, wheel air curtains and side skirts are all still featured on the Shelby GT350R.

However, the car’s downforce capability has improved. Downforce is maximized with modifications to the front splitter. Meanwhile, it has been given an all-new high-efficiency carbon fiber rear wing. The center of pressure of the vehicle is moved rearward due to the wing. At the same time, it improves life balance and downforce, perfect for high-speed track work.

Kerry Baldori, Ford Performance chief functional engineer, said that the experience of getting behind the wheel of the Shelby GT350R is comparable to that of a professional racing driver with its “highly efficient aerodynamics, innovative light-weighting and world-class chassis.”

It is equipped with the new 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine that’s the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. This is usually used only in the racing industry or in exotic sports cars made in Europe. What makes it different from the conventional V8s is that its design optimizes high-speed engine breathing with its evenly spaced crank pins at 180-degree intervals.

The traditional V8s have connecting rods that are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals. It really is the most powerful naturally aspirated production engine ever built by Ford, delivering more than 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque.

Engine temperatures are maintained even in the most extreme conditions with an air-to-oil engine oil cooler characteristically found only on race cars. It has a Ford-tuned limited-slip Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio that’s optimized for cornering grip and straight-line traction. Furthermore, it comes with an electronically modulated rear-mounted air-to-oil differential cooler that keeps temperatures down during track driving.

Press Release

ALL-NEW FORD SHELBY #GT350R MUSTANG ROARS OFF THE LINE AT FLAT ROCK ASSEMBLY PLANT

One of the most iconic performance Mustang nameplates of all time the all-new Shelby® GT350R roared off the line today at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The new GT350R Mustang is the most athletic Mustang ever, designed to tackle the world’s most challenging roads and race tracks while creating an exhilarating experience for the driver.“This is a special day for all Mustang enthusiasts,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “We have taken the GT350 formula to the next level of innovation, style and performance. Today the legend continues.” The new Shelby GT350R has been designed and engineered in the same spirit, delivering never-before-seen track capability from a Mustang – thanks to innovations in aerodynamics, chassis engineering and light-weighting. The car features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – plus a specially tuned suspension. It is fitted with 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. Lightweight carbon fiber wheels are standard on Shelby GT350R, making Ford the first major automaker to introduce this innovative wheel technology as standard equipment.
Carbon fiber wheels have been offered on only a handful of exotic supercars and will benefit Shelby GT350R performance by shaving critical unsprung weight and reducing rolling inertia. The 19x11-inch front and 19x11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels.

The lightweight wheels will be shod in Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction unique to Shelby GT350R. This combination of incredibly stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires offers customers exceptional steering feel and levels of performance.

Weight reduction in pursuit of performance
Ford engineers delivered against aggressive targets for weight reduction on the Shelby GT350R. If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion.

Items removed include air conditioning, the stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator. Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone.

Shelby GT350R is more than 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model, which has proven its durability in multiple 24-hour racetrack tests.

For customers seeking more comfort in their Shelby GT350R, Ford is offering an optional Electronics Package. Included is dual-zone air conditioning, 8-inch touch screen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.

Aggressive aerodynamics
Shelby GT350R has been optimized for aerodynamic excellence. Details including the hood vent for 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 all remain on Shelby GT350R, but the car’s downforce capability has been increased.

Revisions to the front splitter maximize downforce, while an all-new high-efficiency carbon fiber rear wing has been added in anticipation of competition. The wing moves the vehicle’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance – ideal for high-speed track work.

“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.

World-class powertrain
The new 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – an architecture typically found only in racing applications or exotic European sports cars.

Unlike traditional V8s, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals to optimize high-speed engine breathing. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, with more than 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque.

An air-to-oil engine oil cooler typically found only on race cars maintains engine temperatures under the most severe conditions, as does a standard cooler for the six-speed manual transmission.

A Ford-tuned limited-slip Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio is optimized for cornering grip and straight-line traction, while an electronically modulated rear-mounted air-to-oil differential cooler maintains ideal temperatures during track driving.

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