Ford's Shelby GT350 R Is The Most Track-Ready Mustang Ever Built
The term 'souping-up' comes from old horse racing cheats who would feed thoroughbreds a mixture of performance enhancing drugs. There's no cheating going on here, but there's definitely a ton of performance enhancement at play, and the car sure as hell looks addictive.
Ford's just announced the Shelby Mustang GT350 R. Basically, give a GT350 some good old fashioned modifications aimed squarely at track use, and you'll start to get the idea, but it's way more than that.
Let's start with the menacing nose, or rather, what's behind the modified air splitter. It's the same wicked-sounding 500 hp V8 found in the GT350, but now it's got things like a separate oil cooler to help prevent heat soak when the car's blitzing around a race track for 24 hours at a time—something Ford actually did as its been testing this car.
Side note—being a Ford tester's gotta have its perks.
Towards the back, you'll notice the car's now sporting a much larger and much more carbon fiber-y wing, to help maintain some semblance of stability as the car roars through the corners.
In keeping with the best of Ford and Shelby traditions, the GT350 R eschews rear seats in favor of something far more practical to the track-addicted owner: weight reduction. The car is overall around 150 lbs lighter than its more street-friendly GT350 sister.
That's not to say it doesn't know what a nice interior is. The white stripes on the seats are more than just a pleasant contrast, they're a visual cue to the stripe on the steering wheel, used for knowing when you've got the front wheels pointed straight—useful when things get hairy on a race track.
Just in case you had any lingering doubts about how hardcore this car is, take a look at the pure carbon fiber wheels. Up until now, if you wanted a car with this feature you had to increase your budget by a full comma and spring for a Koenigsegg One:1.
Anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a GT350 R had better be too busy bombing corners on a track to notice the sublime "R" embroidered on the seats. In the traditional Shelby American font, of course.
Ford's PR people are calling this the most track-ready Mustang ever produced. From here, that looks like an understatement.