By Steve & Tamami Laser
It’s billed as the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built. And today Job One of the new limited-production Shelby GT350R was driven off the line at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan. Ford says the new GT350R 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.
“Every time you turn one of the Shelbys off the line or one of the Mustangs off the line you’re building the iconic sports car that everywhere in the world people not only buy them but they hang on to them,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company (below). “Many people will hang on to them for the rest of their lives. So every bit of work you do becomes part of people’s lives.”
“I introduced the Mustang in Europe and in the Middle East and it was amazing the reception,” he continued. “People had never seen Mustangs in person before but they all new the Mustang. And you don’t have to say ‘Ford’ Mustang, you just say Mustang and everybody in the world knows what it is and everybody loves it. It’s the greatest sports car in the world and you guys make it so thank you.”
In 1965, Ford and Carroll Shelby developed a road-racing version of the popular Mustang – the Shelby GT350 Competition model. Lighter, more powerful and with a highly developed suspension, it’s said to be one of the most iconic racing Mustangs ever produced.
Ford says 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 weight reduction.
The new GT350R features a specially tuned suspension. It’s 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.
“Well today it is my great privilege to help celebrate Job One of this icon that we all know and love,” said Joe Hinrichs, President, The Americas, Ford Motor Company (above). “The new GT350 is a special car that takes Ford performance to a whole new level. And the GT350R is the most track-capable street-legal Mustang we’ve ever built.”
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. Ford says it’s the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever.
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 6-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.
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 19×11-inch front and 19×11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels.
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 says the automaker.
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 those seeking more comfort in their Shelby GT350R, Ford is offering an optional Electronics Package. Included is dual-zone air conditioning, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.
Ford says the Shelby GT350R has been optimized for aerodynamic excellence. Details including a 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 are designed to maximize downforce, while an all-new high-efficiency carbon fiber rear wing has been added. The wing moves the vehicle’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance for high-speed track work.
Aside from carbon fiber wheels, larger front splitter and rear wing, Shelby GT350R features distinct design details. Exterior touches include red-painted brake calipers, red pin striping at the edges of the optional racing stripes and Shelby GT350R badges. Inside is high-contrast red stitching, Shelby GT350R badges and a D-shaped steering wheel fitted with a red center mark at the top.
Features and specifications for U.S. market vehicles are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source and photos from Ford Motor Company
Story ©2015 CarNichiWa.com