Ford sharpens the S550 chassis and suspension for the Shelby GT350
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of Ford Motor Company
With Ford touting the 2015 Shelby GT350 as the fastest production road-course Mustang ever, it’s no surprise that the suspension where the car receives significant upgrades over the standard Mustang. The new Shelby features a stiffened chassis for its MagneRide suspension to work from and rolls on stickier tires to maximize its grip. In all, these upgrades are designed to make this car a legitimate road racer.
“When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive—challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes, and at the track on weekends,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said. “Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant—nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power.”
Until now, we knew that the GT350 would wear MagneRide dampers, but we had yet to learn what some of its other upgrades might be. Well, that picture is becoming clearer. The GT350 is significantly upgraded over the Mustang with an all-new aluminum front knuckle fitted with a lighter hub and heavy-duty bearings. Those bearings are said to improve lateral control, as do the car’s rigid bushings in the subframe and control arms.
The GT350 also receives mirror-image counter-wound springs and matching rear control arms, which are said to deliver perfect wheel motion. Additionally, the car gets larger front and rear sway bars to flatten the body in cornering.
As we already knew, the MagneRide suspension features dampers with hydraulic fluid impregnated with iron particles that can be magnetized as often as every 7 milliseconds to chance their characteristics based on the road conditions. They do so at the behest of the computer, which processes data from sensors on the wheels and elsewhere to make those decisions.
The Magneride is also influenced by the car’s selectable drive modes, which are said to offer a degree of suspension performance never seen before in a production Mustang. The software behind those controls takes in data on wheel position, steering angle, damper temperature, signal quality, vehicle position and much more. The goal of this system is to make any driver—regardless of skill level—behind the wheel of a GT350 more confidence.
Another aspect of the car that will perpetuate that confidence is the braking system. The system on the GT350 is certainly impressive. This car wears the largest rotors ever installed a production Mustang. They measure a whopping 394 millimeters in front and 380 millimeters in back. The rotors are mounted on floating, pin-driven hats, which are said to reduce heat transfer to the bearings. Clamping those rotors are six-piston Brembo front calipers and four-piston calipers in back.
“These cars can be driven by any driver on any track in the world – with virtually no fade,” Brent Clark, vehicle dynamics supervisor, said.
2015 Shelby GT350 Suspension Gallery