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FORD PERFORMANCE SHELBY GT350R-C TO MAKE IMSA COMPETITION DEBUT AT WATKINS GLEN

  • All-new Shelby® GT350R-C embodies Ford innovation through performance as race car makes its competition debut this weekend at Watkins Glen
  • Shelby GT350R-C to compete in the remainder of the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Multimatic Motorsports
  • Competition version of Shelby GT350R features all-new 5.2-liter flat-plane crankshaft V8 created to extend on-track performance

GT350 IMSAcThere’s no mistaking the wicked sound or aggressive looks of the all-new Shelby® GT350R-C that Ford announced today would see its first official track time at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Ford Shelby GT350R-C, the competition version of the reincarnated icon, will compete in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, a showdown of the most popular – and accessible – performance cars from around the world.

The GT350R production car was unveiled in January, and is one of more than 12 new vehicles Ford Performance will bring to market through 2020. Since its introduction, sports car enthusiasts have eagerly awaited the debut of a racing version.

"Like so many Mustangs before it, the Shelby GT350R is a car born to race,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We’re taking it to the track as the GT350R-C and we’re ready to see what it can do against the best competition in the world.”

Both production and race car versions feature the first-ever production car V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. This unique layout – typically reserved for the world’s most exotic sports cars – helped create the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced.

The race car features an adapted version of the advanced, fully independent suspension from GT350R – fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and cross-axis ball joints in the front.

Longtime Ford partner Multimatic Motorsports, which will manage the race team, returned to the blue oval in the series’ Grand Sport division in 2014, piloting the Mustang Boss 302R with some of the most popular and talented drivers on its roster. The squad will field drivers Billy Johnson, Scott Maxwell, Austin Cindric and Jade Buford for the GT350R-C debut at Watkins Glen.

“Ford is committed to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and we’re very happy to be campaigning its product here,” said Larry Holt, team principal, Multimatic Motorsports. “We like the endurance format, and the racing is always intense. Strategy plays a big role; the cars must be fast and reliable, and there are always at least 10 contenders running door-to-door for two and a half hours. It is the perfect home for the GT350R-C.”

“American muscle cars have a storied history in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and we eagerly anticipate the start of a new chapter with introduction of the Shelby GT350R-C,” said Scott Atherton, president of IMSA. “Mustang has earned icon status through its racing heritage going back to the competition Mustangs of the 1960s, and this new race car will undoubtedly add to the legend.”

 

  • Ford today unveiled the new Shelby® GT350R Mustang, the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built.

In 1965, Ford and Carroll Shelby developed a road-racing version of the popular Ford Mustang – the Shelby GT350 Competition model. Lighter, more powerful and with a highly developed suspension, it is one of the most iconic racing Mustangs ever produced.

Arriving later this year, the new Shelby GT350R has been designed and engineered in the same spirit, delivering never-before-seen track capability from a Mustang – thanks to innovations in aerodynamics, chassis engineering and light-weighting.

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

The car features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – plus a 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 Shelby GT350R Mustang is a car with the nimbleness and power delivery you want on a road course,” said Nair. “This isn’t just about horsepower. The Shelby GT350R is an all-around balanced athlete – one that is extraordinarily precise and agile.”

Track technology for the street
Lightweight carbon fiber wheels are standard on Shelby GT350R, making Ford the first major automaker to introduce this innovative wheel technology as standard equipment.

Carbon fiber wheels have been offered on only a handful of exotic supercars and will benefit Shelby GT350R performance by shaving critical unsprung weight and reducing rolling inertia. The 19x11-inch front and 19x11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels.

The lightweight wheels will be shod in Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction unique to Shelby GT350R. This combination of incredibly stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires offers customers exceptional steering feel and levels of performance.

Weight reduction in pursuit of performance
Ford engineers delivered against aggressive targets for weight reduction on the Shelby GT350R. If a part did not make the car faster around a road course, it was considered for deletion.

Items removed include air conditioning, the stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator. Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone.

Shelby GT350R is more than 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model, which has proven its durability in multiple 24-hour racetrack tests.

For customers seeking more comfort in their Shelby GT350R, Ford is offering an optional Electronics Package. Included is dual-zone air conditioning, 8-inch touch screen with navigation, seven-speaker audio system, turn signal mirrors and more.

Aggressive aerodynamics
Shelby GT350R has been optimized for aerodynamic excellence. Details including the hood vent for heat extraction and lift reduction, underbody belly pans front and rear, an aggressive diffuser, vented wheel wells and turbulence-reducing fender vents, wheel air curtains and side skirts all remain on Shelby GT350R, but the car’s downforce capability has been increased.

Revisions to the front splitter maximize downforce, while an all-new high-efficiency carbon fiber rear wing has been added in anticipation of competition. The wing moves the vehicle’s center of pressure rearward while improving downforce and lift balance – ideal for high-speed track work.

“Shelby GT350R’s highly efficient aerodynamics, innovative light-weighting and world-class chassis deliver a truly spectacular driving experience that makes you feel like a professional racing driver,” said Kerry Baldori, Ford Performance chief functional engineer.

World-class powertrain
The new 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 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 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 is the most powerful naturally aspirated production Ford engine ever, with more than 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque.

An air-to-oil engine oil cooler typically found only on race cars maintains engine temperatures under the most severe conditions, as does a standard cooler for the six-speed manual transmission.

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

Dedicated R design details
Aside from carbon fiber wheels, larger front splitter and rear wing, Shelby GT350R features distinct design details. Exterior touches include red painted brake calipers, red pin striping at the edges of the optional over-the-top racing stripes and Shelby GT350R badging. Inside is high-contrast red stitching, Shelby GT350R badging and the D-shaped steering wheel fitted with a red center mark at the top.

New breed of performance
The limited-production Shelby GT350R will be available in the United States and Canada later this year, and is one of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020.

“This is the pinnacle of performance Mustangs today,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance. “The Shelby GT350R Mustang lays the groundwork for a story that will play out for years to come on the track and the street.”

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