Ford Performance accelerates the Shelby GT350 with a new R-model
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Hot on the heels of creating quite a buzz with the announcement of the Shelby GT350, Ford Performance is back and they have revved up the Hummingbird. Announced today at the North American International Auto Show, this next generation of the hot handler sheds weight with carbon fiber and takes the car’s already impressive handling to new heights.
Dave Pericak the new director of the Ford Performance told us that many people will have a hard time believing this car is a Mustang. And, that is in a good way. The handling is improved that much. It further expounds upon the S550’s balance even more so than the base GT350.
“This is the pinnacle of performance Mustangs today,” Dave said “The Shelby GT350R Mustang lays the groundwork for a story that will play out for years to come on the track and the street.”
One of the biggest players in the car’s transformation is the addition of carbon-fiber wheels, which drop 13 pounds of unsprung weight per wheel. Measuring 19×11 inches in front and 19×11.5 inches in back, Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Performance, told us these wheels are subjected to and passed the same durability requirements placed on the company’s metal wheels.
Of course this car carries over all the goodness offered by the flat-plane-crank 5.2-liter engine and the MangeRide suspension, but maximizes it with tweaks to the aerodynamics to further improve downforce. The aero improvements are attributable to a new carbon-fiber rear wing and a revised front splitter.
“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,” Kerry Baldori, Ford Performance chief functional engineer, said.
While the car is all about reducing weight and improving performance, you can still get an audio system and navigation.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”
The R-model will launch alongside the standard GT350 later this year.
“That car is going to surprise a lot of people,” Jamal told us candidly.
Shelby GT350R Gallery