At the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, the Blue Oval surprised the world when it unveiled the all-new Ford GT. However, that wasn’t the only model to make up the new Ford Performance Lineup as they’ve also introduced a new track-focused model, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R.
With the basic ingredients of the Shelby GT350, the R edition is off to a good start. The same 5.2-litre V8 engine with a flat-plane crankshaft is still here, providing more than 500 hp and 542 Nm of torque.
With the powertrain remaining the same, the GT350R underwent a weight-saving programme in pursuit of performance. No compromise is spared here because the stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, reverse camera, and emergency tyre sealer and inflator have all been remove. The 19-inch wheels are now made of carbon fibre and wrapped in Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tyres.
Along with that, the air conditioning system is also omitted as well as exhaust resonators, the latter to produce a sharper exhaust tone. According to Ford, “If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion.” As a result, the GT350R is 59 kg lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model. However, if you need some comfort, an optional Electronics Package brings back what was removed in the first place.
The weight-saving programme isn’t the only performance enhancement here. The GT350R also gets stiffer springs, anti-roll bars, and reduced ride height as well. Ford also switched to a cross-axis ball-joint connection for the front control arms from a traditional bushing-supported setup, resulting in a "zero-compliance" connection between the steering knuckle and the control arm.
Aerodynamics are also bumped up with various vents, diffusers, and wheel wells. Maximising downforce comes courtesy of revisions to the front splitter and a carbon fibre rear wing.
Rounding things up and to ensure that others are well aware this isn’t the run-of-the-mill Mustang Shelby GT350, the R comes with red design details to drive home that point. Red accents on the brake callipers, racing stripes, and GT350R badging can be seen around the vehicle. Inside, high-contrast red stitching and a D-shaped steering wheel can be seen.