Just when you thought that Ford’s new Mustang couldn’t get any better, along comes the Shelby GT350R to prove you wrong.
Designed to be the ultimate in modern Mustang performance, the new GT350R takes the design of the previously unveiled GT350 and strips it down to create the definitive track warrior.
Ford claims that the Shelby GT350R features new innovations in aerodynamics, engineering and light-weighting, directly inspired by the 1965 Shelby GT350 Competition racing model.
Raj Nair, Ford’s vice president for global product development, said: “The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability.”
Visually similar to the Mustang on which it’s based, the GT350R adds unique performance touches like a larger front splitter and carbon fibre rear wing to increase aerodynamics and downforce.
Its assertive exterior is completed with bold features like red brake callipers, red pinstripe detailing on the edges of its racing stripes and exclusive Shelby GT350R badging.
On the inside, its mad, bad and dangerous to know theme continues with high-contrast red stitching, GT350R badging and a flat-bottomed racing steering wheel with a red centre mark on the top.
Featuring the same flat-plane crank V8 as the GT350, the GT350R model also adds specially tuned suspension, with antiroll bars, a reduced ride height and track-calibrated dampers.
As a result, Ford says that it’s not just powerful in a straight line, but has genuine racing-ready potential with “extraordinarily precise and agile” handling for an all-around athletic ride.
While the 5.2-litre V8 has the same 500bhp output as the regular GT350, Ford has drastically reduced weight on the GT350R to increase its power-to-weight ratio significantly.
Lightweight 19-inch carbon fibre wheels, more often seen on exotic supercars, come as standard with racing tyres, making Ford the first major carmaker to introduce them as standard equipment.
Ford says that these new wheels reduce weight by as much as six kg on their own, while the GT350R has also been stripped of any unnecessary weight, with much of its equipment discarded.
The air condition, infotainment system, rear seats and reversing camera have all been jettisoned to save weight, while exhaust resonators and even the carpets have been ditched to lighten the model.
Clocking in at nearly 60kg lighter than the GT350, customers can still opt to include all of the above extras as part of the Electronics Package for a slightly higher cost.
The bad news for fans in the UK is that, like the Shelby GT350, the new GT350R will only be available to buyers in the United States and Canada.
However, the standard Ford Mustang will be available to buy from Ford dealerships by the middle of this year, with prices due for release soon.