Deal with It
Ten things we learned from reading the 2016 GT350 Dealer Source Book
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
These days when something hits the web, it gets spread around without question. But, as we have learned, not everything you read on the Internet is true. The carbon fiber wheels on the GT350R won’t cost $30,000, and even all the information in the documents distributed to dealers might not be completely accurate.
Case in point is the 2016 Shelby GT350 Dealer Source Book that has been careening around the Internet for the last few days. There isn’t much mystery left when it comes to the Shelby GT350 and its R-model variant. We’ve dissected its features and even ridden shotgun in this car. What’s left is to drive it and see how it performs in the real word.
Still, as much as we have obsessed over the details of this car, there always seem to be a few more things to learn. After all, modern cars are packed with so many features and so much technology that they all merit a user guide like the app Ford created for the 2015 Mustang. In the meantime, we perused the latest Source Guide and found a few interesting details.
It’s been a while since we heard the term Overrev, but this technology was last employed on the 2013-2014 Shelby GT500. In that application it let the supercharged Trinity engine extend its rev range past 6,250 to 7,000 rpm for up to 8 seconds. If you exceeded that time, you had to back off for 15 seconds before you could overrev again. Ford employs a similar technology, called Overboost, on EcoBoost performance cars like the Focus ST.
Having been in the passenger seat of a Shelby GT350R at Grattan Raceway for numerous hot laps, we never felt like the car was being held back from its true performance potential. If you look closely at the wording of the Overrev section in the Dealer Sourcebook it might sound familiar, as it’s a near verbatim recounting of how the feature works on the last GT500 with the exception of the extended redline being 8,250 rpm.
We also had never heard this feature ever mentioned during our numerous discussions with Ford engineers about this car, nor did we feel it engage at Grattan, so we were curious. As such, we touched base with Ford to see what the story was with Overrev on the GT350. It’s a short story. The GT350 does not have Overrev. It seems like someone got carried away with the cutting and pasting on the Source Guide, so you won’t have to worry about the power of your Voodoo 5.2 tapering off while you are out running on the road course.
We all make mistakes. Until the robots take over we humans are fallible. It happens. Ask us how we know. As we learned with the Overrev mix-up, you have to take some of these dealer communications with a grain of salt. There are often inconsistencies in the descriptions versus what’s really available. For example, in the GT350 book it describes one of the key engine features as a “Large 87mm dual-bore throttle body.” Well, it is indeed large and 87mm in diameter, but the Voodoo engine uses a single-bore throttle body just like its Coyote and RoadRunner cousins.
Likewise, the Instrument Panel section lists the car’s redline at 7,000 rpm, which was clearly carried over from the GT500 Source Book. So we’ll have to take some of our findings with a grain of salt.
3. Thermally Stable
We know that the changes engineers made to the GT350—and especially the GT350R—versus the base Mustang were all made to improve performance. Two of the performance enemies they were combating are weight and heat. A larger radiator addresses the latter, and the R-model gets additional transmission and rearend coolers. These changes make the car up to the task of a typical 20-minute open-track session with no issues. Even the synthetic 75W-85 gear lube in the diff is designed for more thermal stability.
4. Warmed Up
Speaking of heat, if you are wondering when your Shelby GT350 will be warmed up and ready to perform its best, the magic number is apparently 170 degrees. This data point came up in the erroneous Overrev section. Later on it is also mentioned that you can’t run the car in drag mode until it has reached this temperature.
5. Transitional Mode
Ford keeps expanding its Drive Modes on modern Mustangs. The Shelby GT350 features Normal, Sport, Weather, Track and Drag Strip modes. Yes, it’s built for the road course, but the company knows its customers will still want to wring it out in a straight line. We found it interesting that the Drag mode is exclusive to lower speeds to help you launch. Then it transitions over to Sport Mode to give you an assist at higher speeds.
6. Stiff Business
We all know that a stiffer chassis provides a more stable foundation for the suspension to work from. Such a stable base means that the suspension geometries remain more consistent and the system works like it should. Since the days of the Fox Mustang, which was once cleverly described as “stiff as wet spaghetti,” the Mustang chassis has gotten progressively better. According to the Source Book, the GT350 offers a 28 percent increase in torsional rigidity over the previous Mustang. That’s a big step up.
This is Ford’s new mantra. However. Ford Performance engineers were clearly looking to shave every ounce they could, even from the exhaust. Not only are the car’s mufflers smaller and lighter, but the cold-end hangers are hollow to help save weight. We have long known that the GT350’s Composite Grille Opening is built from a mixture of carbon fiber and nylon to reduce weight of this component by 24 percent versus the stamped steel unit in the Mustang GT. The GT350 version weighs 8.1 pounds versus the 10.6-pound opening on the Mustang GT. Of course the R-model takes things even further by ditching he carpet insulation, radio, HVAC and rear seat.
8. Wheel Deal
Recently we’ve learned a lot about the carbon fiber wheels built for the Shelby GT350R by Carbon Revolution in Australia. We knew that these wheels are lighter, reducing unsprung weight by over 50 pounds. We also knew they were built to withstand Ford’s durability torture testing, which includes running over curbs at speed. What we didn’t realize is that these wheels offer 10 percent more lateral stiffness than the aluminum wheels on the base GT350.
9. More Apps
Since their debut, Ford’s suite of Track Apps has grown with each new Mustang model. While you can still log performance data like lap times, drag strip passes, lap times, and braking performance, new options like the Performance Shift Indicator and the GT350R’s Exhaust Modes have been added alongside features like the Electronic Line Lock and Launch Control. To keep track of all these settings, you can view the GT350’s current setting with the Status Screen in the dash cluster’s 4.2-inch message center.
10. All is One
Having ridden in the GT350R at speed, we know the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on this car are all about grip. What’s interesting is the design of these tires is loaded with technology. The core of the tire is built on twin steel belts bound by a polymide cord that gives the tire a solid foundation, while its tread is built of multiple compounds. The outer tread is built for grip, while the center and inner tread compound is designed to improve steering response.
If you want to do your own GT350 extra study—or fact checking—you can download the full guide right here. For even more information, you can check out and discuss the car’s owner supplement over in our forums.