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January 16, 2015

NAIAS 2015: Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang is Most Extreme Mustang Ever

The North American International Auto Show sees the launch of the most race-ready road-legal Ford Mustang ever: the new Shelby GT350R Mustang. This limited edition model is the modern interpretation of the 1965 Shelby GT350 Competition which is one of the most iconic variants of the Mustang ever made.

The 2016 model arrives with a slew of weight saving tech including the world’s first application of carbon fiber wheels as standard equipment. Ford is the first major automaker to offer innovative technology which reduces unsprung weight (up to 13 pounds less) while offering the same level of stiffness as a regular aluminum wheel. The wheels, which measure a massive 19x11 in front and 19x11.5 in back are shod with Michelins’ top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires. Other weights saving measures include the removal of air conditioning, stereo, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet. The exhaust resonators have also been removed. Of course, for potential owners who prefer a bit more luxury, Ford is offering an optional Electronics Package which brings back dual-zone climate control and the audio system back among other items.

Aside from the weight loss, the GT350R has been optimized for aerodynamic excellence. Details include the hood vent for heat extraction and lift reduction, underbody belly pans front and rear, aggressive diffuser, vented wheel wells, and more.

Under the GT350R’s hood resides a new 5.2-liter DOHC V8 engine with a flat-plane crankshaft—a first for a production Ford vehicle. This design is usually used in more exotic applications including high-end sportscars or in racing. 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 optimize high-speed engine breathing. It’s the most powerful normally-aspirated production Ford engine ever pumping out more than 500 horsepower.

A Ford-tuned limited-slip Torsen differential with a 3.73 axle ratio is optimized for cornering grip and straight-line acceleration while a six-speed manual transmission with an oil cooler provides direct feedback while maintaining optimal conditions during track driving.

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