You’d be forgiven for not realising that Ford had two big releases at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the jaw-dropping new Ford GT getting it’s unveiling. While the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R was certainly dwarfed by the new supercar, this Mustang would be as spine-tingling as the Blue Oval brand could get without the GT announcement. The Shelby is romantic and aggressive and we can’t find anything we don’t like about it.
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R picks up where the Boss 302 left off, with more power, performance and poise. Power is provided by Ford’s 5.2 litre V-8 that will throw out over 500bhp and 400 lb ft of torque. Although Ford won’t be drawn into more specific figures just yet. The car possesses an intricate aerodynamics package including a carbon rear wing to underbody panels and a Torsen differential with MagneRide adjustable dampers. Thought of course we know that a Mustang is never really about the aerodynamics.
The matter of the ‘R’ with the new Shelby is a stripped back and track-ready GT350 with the removal of any part or equipment that “did not make the car faster around a road course.” This means no back seats, no air-con, no stereo or boot. Everything about the new Mustang is about shifting unnecessary timber which results in the GT350R being 59kg lighter than it’s GT350 cousin. Hopefully the removal of soundproofing should also mean a rawer tracksound, though ear muffs may be advised.
If you’re dreading the thought of no-thrills muscle, be assured there will be an optional package that brings back your air-con, an 8 inch touchscreen sat nav and an audio system. Having said that, if you need your comforts – the new Shelby might not be for you.
The Mustang Shelby GT350R is undoubtedly aimed at the purists who have a love for racing. During our time at the NAIAS, we went on a tour around the Flat Rock Assembly Plant (or “FRAP” as the locals call it) where this potential icon will be made and it was hard to ignore the heart and infectious passion that everyone at factory has for the Mustang. It will get released in 120 countries according to Ford including a UK release encouragingly with right-hand drive. A GT it might not be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t wait to drive one.