“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.