The new 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350R shares as many differences with its cousin, the GT350, as it does similarities. The main aspect they will have in common is the monstrous 5.2L V8 engine, which features a flat-plane crankshaft and lacks turbochargers in favor of natural aspiration. Some may expect a drop in power due to the lack of turbo, but the beast Ford Performance has bred needs no assistance to produce ample power: over 500 horsepower and more than 400 lb.-ft. of torque, although exact numbers have yet to be released. The takeaway here is that the new Shelby Mustang will run on the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – by a wide margin.
The overwhelming power of the engine is due in no small part to the flat-plane design of the crankshaft. Instead of the usual 90-degree orientation of the connecting rods, they attach to the crankshaft in a 180-degree arrangement. In simple terms, this grants the engine a sky-high redline and ultra-efficient airflow that allows it to squeeze every last bit of power out of each compression. However, the engine alone cannot account for the fearsome performance this car is capable of. Every component in the GT350R was designed with unforgiving precision so that the entire vehicle is working in perfect balance.
What really sets the GT350R apart, however, is not so much what is there as much as what is not. The GT350R sacrifices many creature comforts in the name of pure, unbridled speed. In order to reduce its weight as much as possible, the GT350R comes without air conditioning, a stereo system, rear seats, and the floorboard and carpet in the trunk, to name a few. According to the Ford Media release, any part that did not contribute to a faster track time was considered for deletion. However, performance nuts in Dallas should not be too worried. An optional Electronics package will restore the air conditioning and other amenities, so those scorching-hot summer days will not preclude you from hitting the streets or the speedway.
Make no mistake, this is a track car. It was designed with racing in mind, and every inch of its aggressively-designed body works to make the GT350R faster, both inside and out. For such a beastly track car, however, it is one hundred percent street legal. The Shelby Mustang GT350R will become available later this year, so if you’re feeling the need for speed this fall be sure to visit Randall Reed’s Prestige Ford in Garland and find out how one of these face-melting track stars can be yours.