Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R-07

Say hello to the Shelby GT350R Mustang, the most track-ready road-going production Mustang Ford has ever built. Engineered in the spirit of the iconic Shelby GT350 Competition, the new Shelby GT350R delivers never-before-seen track capability from a Mustang thanks to innovations in aerodynamics, chassis engineering and weight reduction. It’s a more hardcore version of the Shelby GT350 we saw in November.

“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability. It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced,” said Raj Nair, Ford group VP of global product development.

The GT350R is powered by a new 5.2L V8 engine, the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, an architecture typically found in racing applications or European exotica.

Unlike traditional V8s, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals to optimise high-speed engine breathing. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, with more than 500 hp and over 542 Nm of torque. An air-to-oil engine oil cooler maintains engine temperatures, as does a standard cooler for the six-speed manual gearbox.

A Ford-tuned limited-slip Torsen differential with 3.73 axle ratio is optimised for cornering grip and straight-line traction, while an electronically modulated rear-mounted air-to-oil differential cooler maintains ideal temperatures during track driving.

“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course. This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete – one that is extraordinarily precise and agile,” Nair adds.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R-09

Ford took weight reduction very seriously. Items removed include the air con, stereo, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tyre sealer and inflator. Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone.

As a result, the Shelby GT350R is more than 59 kg lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model. If you’re not prepared to go so far, the optional Electronics Package will undo all the good work and throw back in dual-zone air con, an eight-inch touch screen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.

Carbon fibre wheels are standard on GT350R. The 19-inch rims shave unsprung weight and reduce rolling inertia – approximately six kg of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminium wheels. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with bespoke compound and construction wrap the CF rims.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R-13

Details including the hood vent for heat extraction and lift reduction, underbody belly pans at both ends, an aggressive diffuser, vented wheel wells and turbulence-reducing fender vents, wheel air curtains and side skirts all remain on the GT350R, but downforce capability has been increased.

Revisions to the front splitter maximise downforce, while a new carbon fibre rear wing has been added. The latter moves the Ford’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance – ideal for high-speed track work.

Those who take it to track will benefit from the GT350R’s specially tuned suspension. It is fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and jounce bumpers, cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension, and revised calibration controlling the MagneRide dampers.

The limited-production Shelby GT350R will be available in North America late this year. Salivating? Malaysia will also get a Mustang around the same time, but one without the famous cobra emblem. Can lah.