2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Drops 130 lbs. in curb weight
  • Optimized aerodynamics
  • Carbon fiber wheels
  • Bespoke performance tires
  • No air conditioning, no rear seat
  • Daily driver with out-of-the-box road-course capability

Introduction

Inspired by the 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Competition, and calling it "the most race-ready road-legal Mustang ever," Ford introduced the limited-production 2016 Mustang Shelby GT350R at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Designed for street use, the new Shelby GT350R is also engineered to deliver maximum performance on a racetrack.

Exterior Features

To get a sense of how far Ford goes toward making the new 2016 Mustang Shelby GT350R as light and as capable as is possible, consider that it comes standard with carbon fiber, 19-in., staggered-width wheels. Ford says they are stiffer than aluminum wheels, and reduce unsprung weight at each of the Shelby GT350R's corners by 13 lbs. per wheel. They are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires constructed specifically for this Mustang.

Additionally, Ford has further optimized the GT350R's aerodynamics, increasing downforce through a revised front splitter design and a carbon fiber rear wing that Ford claims will move the vehicle's center of pressure rearward while improving lift balance at high speeds. Red-painted brake calipers, unique badges, and slightly different optional racing stripes also separate this car from the Shelby GT350 upon which it is based.

Interior Features

During the Mustang Shelby GT350R's development, engineers examined every single part of the car. If it did not help the car to get around a road course as quickly as possible, Ford says it was considered for deletion.

Given that this high-performance Mustang weighs 130 lbs. less than the Shelby GT350, it is not surprising to learn that the Shelby GT350R has no air conditioning, stereo, rear seats, reversing camera, trunk floor, or emergency tire sealer and inflator kit. What it does have is unique red contrast stitching, red centering line on the flat-bottom steering wheel, and "GT350R" badges.

Optional Features

An optional Electronics package adds some of these jettisoned items back to the car. It includes dual-zone automatic climate control, premium sound system, Sync 3 touch-screen infotainment system with 8-in. display screen, and additional upgrades designed to turn the Mustang Shelby GT350R into a more agreeable daily driver.

Under the Hood

Ford will install the same new 5.2-liter V-8 engine that debuted in the Shelby GT350 into the Shelby GT350R. Employing a flat-plane crankshaft, this engine is said to make more than 500 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the automaker has ever built.

In addition to the new V-8, the Shelby GT350R will get a 6-speed manual gearbox with a transmission cooler, limited-slip rear differential with a 3.73 axle ratio and an air-to-oil differential cooler, and an air-to-oil engine cooler.

Technology

Ford's next-generation infotainment system is called Sync 3, and it will be optional for the Mustang Shelby GT350R. Paired with a premium audio system, Sync 3 will offer smartphone connectivity and services, navigation, and other features through an 8-in. color touch screen.