Formally introduced to the public at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Ford’s all new Shelby GT350R is not for the faint of heart. It’s the most intense track-ready Mustang we’ve seen for a very long time. The Shelby exists for one reason and one reason only — to be a beast that turns laps.
To create the ultimate track ready ‘Stang, Ford took the already intense Shelby GT350 that was first introduced last fall at the LA Auto Show — and turned it up to 11.
According to Ford, the engineers “simplified, then added lightness,” a strategy that’s been employed by other carmakers, notably Lotus, with its featherweight, straightforward cars.
The GT350R was stripped of its back seats, stereo, air conditioning, carpets, trunk floorboard, and backup camera. Lightweight racing features such as carbon fibre wheels were added. In all, the Shelby went on a 130-lbs diet.
The result should be quicker acceleration, better braking, nimbler handling, and better control through the corners — everything a race car driver is looking for.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, the Ford Group’s vice president of global product development.
“It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”
The newest member of the Shelby family looks to be a fitting homage to the 34 fire-breathing GT350R racers built by Shelby in 1965.
At the heart of the Shelby is a 5.2-liter 500-horsepower V8 engine built using technology from Ford’s deep well of motorsports experience. Although 500 horsepower may not sound overwhelming when compared to the Corvette Z06’s 650 or the HEMI Hellcat’s 707, Ford’s not concerned. There’s more to this car that just raw grunt.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course,” Nair said.
“This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete — one that is extraordinarily precise and agile.”
The truly gnarly Shelby GT350R will arrive in US and Canadian Ford Show rooms later this year. For an up-close look, watch this video of a camouflaged prototype tear up the legendary Nurburgring race track in Germany.
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