Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang – The Handling Hardware
Soon Ford Performance group (formerly known as SVT – Special Vehicle Team) will be opening books for the eagerly awaiting customers to own the newly developed iconic Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. A car that was rigorously tested and tuned at the Nürburgring race track along with race-track only GT350R version.
Ford Shelby GT350 still clings on Carroll Shelby’s original idea – transform Mustang from a great everyday car into a dominant road racer, elevating it to a new level. Shelby GT350 raises the bar significantly over the already very capable 2015 Mustang GT performance pack, combining the best technologies and most thoroughly engineered components to create the most athletic Mustang ever built.
“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,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “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.”
However, right now Ford has revealed some exclusive information on the chassis parts, bits and pieces that will make a GT350 a thoroughbred race machine. The new platform that is the strongest in the history of the Mustang brand, with torsional stiffness increased 28 percent over the previous model. The new 5.2-liter engine is the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, an architecture typically found only in racing applications or exotic European sports cars. Unlike a traditional V8, where the connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft at 90-degree intervals, this design evenly spaces all crank pins at 180-degree intervals.
The result is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, at more than 500 horsepower, with a torque peak above 400 lb.-ft. The track capability is enhanced by the output characteristics of the engine – the 5.2-liter V8 features an exceptionally broad torque curve. Combined with its high-revving ability, the flat-plane 5.2-liter V8 gives drivers an enormous amount of performance and flexibility within each gear of the lightweight six-speed manual transmission. A standard Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential optimizes cornering grip and straight-line traction. Before we take a look at the mechanics and the racing hardware, here are some facts:
- Ford to produce limited run of 2015 Shelby® GT350 to commemorate the nameplate’s 50th anniversary.
- 2015 Shelby GT350 comes with a unique 2015 VIN
- Limited run of 37 Shelby GT350R models to be built in homage to original GT350 competition model of 1965.
- Only 100 Shelby GT350 models will feature a 2015 model year designation before production switches over to 2016. Of these, 50 will be equipped with the Technology Package and 50 equipped with the Track Package.
The MagneRide Suspension Tuned for Maximum Performance On Road and Track
Shelby Mustang features all-new aluminum front knuckle, hub and bearing assemblies that are stiffer and lighter than the standard parts. Rigid bushings are fitted to the control arms and subframes for improved steering feedback. Heavy-duty bearings are added for increased lateral stiffness. Front and rear antiroll bars are increased in diameter for improved body control. In an example of obsession to detail, one side of the rear suspension features a new counter-wound rear spring and matching rear control arm so the left and right sides are mirror images – perfecting wheel motion.
Most Powerful Brakes For The Mustang
Reducing unsprung mass is key to improving responsiveness, but a balance must be struck between taking mass out of a suspension and delivering truly capable braking performance. Shelby GT350 features the most track-credible brake system ever offered on a production Mustang, consisting of two-piece cross-drilled iron rotors with aluminum hats – the largest rotors Ford has ever put on a production Mustang. Massive 394-millimeter front rotors and 380-millimeter rear rotors are a floating-type and are pin-driven to the aluminum hats to greatly reduce heat transfer to the bearings. These rotors are clamped by six-piston fixed Brembo calipers with integrated caliper bridges at the front and four-piston units at the rear. Dedicated ducting assists in cooling the brakes front and rear for maximum performance.
Brent Clark, vehicle dynamics supervisor, claims: “These cars can be driven by any driver on any track in the world – with virtually no fade,”
Carbon Fiber Wheels and Bespoke Tires
Shelby GT350 makes use of extra-stiff 19.0-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels – 10.5 inches wide in front, 11.0 inches in the rear – clad in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with GT350-specific sidewall construction, tread face and compound. The custom tires are designed to deliver maximum grip on the road or for weekend track days.
Shelby GT350R raises the standard even further. It wears carbon fiber wheels, making Ford the first major automaker to introduce this innovative wheel technology. The hand-laid wheels are 19.0 inches in diameter – 11.0 inches wide at the front and 11.5 inches at the rear, each fitted with custom formulated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Combined, these wheels eliminate approximately 50 pounds of unsprung weight compared to the aluminum-alloy wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on Shelby GT350.
Weight balance is essential for high-performance cornering and braking – both on and off the track. When weight can be removed from the nose, the benefit is drastic. Ford Performance engineers created a forged carbon fiber grille opening reinforcement for Shelby GT350 that is roughly 24 percent lighter than an equivalent stamped-steel component. The reduction of weight in the nose of the car allows for enhanced balance and more predictable handing.
That stiff structure ensures the suspension geometry remains consistent even under the loading caused by hard driving. Shelby GT350 takes that philosophy further – with added bracing to increase overall stiffness. A new lightweight aluminum tower brace connects the shock towers and firewall, and improves front end stiffness. When a lower hood was called for to improve aerodynamic performance, Ford Performance re-engineered the grille opening reinforcement with a carbon fiber composite structure that is 24 percent lighter than the base Mustang while maintaining the stiffness of steel. It is finished so well a beauty cover is not needed – eliminating another 1.9 pounds.