Blazing Shelby Mustang Nordschleife time revealed
Ever thought a Mustang could hang with a Ferrari 458 Italia at the infamous Nurburgring?
Rumours emerging out of Germany suggest that the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R, billed by Ford as ‘the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built’, has completed the daunting 20.8km Nordschleife in a time of 7 minutes, 32.19 seconds.
If true, the Shelby Mustang GT350R has usurped the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (7:37.47) for American Muscle Car honours around The Green Hell (although the 2012 Corvette ZR1 hit a 7:19.63 marker, it’s not classed as a ‘muscle’ car…).
The time places the Yankee Ford amongst some highly credentialed competition… the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, for example, clocked a 7 minute, 33 second lap. The aforementioned Ferrari, meanwhile, recorded 7 minutes, 28 seconds.
While the time is yet to be confirmed, there’s no doubting the Shelby Mustang GT350R has the hardware to back up the claim. The concept builds on the original 1965 GT350’s premise: make a Mustang lighter and more powerful, and throw heavy-duty suspension under it to manage the corners. Of course, the modern pony adds aero and technology advancements to the bill.
Under the hood, a naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V8 pulses to the beat of a flat-plane crank; a first for a Ford production V8. The engine is said to produce over 373kW and 540Nm. An air-to-oil cooler is added to maintain temperatures and both the standard six-speed manual transmission and Torsen limited-slip differential with 3.73 final drive ratio also gain their own cooling systems.
The Shelby Mustang GT350R gains another first (for mass-production manufacturers, at least) in its use of carbon fibre wheels as standard. They sit at 19 x 11 inches up front, with the rears another half-inch wider. Said to offer higher stiffness than equivalently-sized aluminium rims, the carbon fibre rims shave almost 6kg per wheel. Michelin has been tasked to supply its latest Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber for the Shelby Mustang GT350R, tuned to a specific compound and construction for this application.
Suspension tweaks include stiffer spring rates, fatter anti-roll bars, lower ride height, revised bushings, specific front suspension ball joints and bespoke calibration for the adjustable damping system.
Aero systems have also been optimised, the bonnet vent getting heat out and reducing lift simultaneously. Underbody trays feed into a diffuser, fender and wheel well vents and side skirts all contribute to squash the Shelby Mustang GT350R into the ground; a carbon fibre rear wing and revised front air splitter tops it off, and aid high-speed stability.
Further evidence of the Ford engineer’s track focus is in the obsessive weight reduction. Air conditioning has been removed, as has the stereo system, rear seats, boot floorboard and carpet. The reversing camera kit has been deleted and even the emergency tyre sealer and inflator kit have hit the kerb. Ditching the exhaust resonators has also added a harder-hitting exhaust note to boot. When compared to the already-hardcore GT350 Track Pack model, the Shelby Mustang GT350R is almost 60kg lighter.
Of course, for those who see the GT350R as too focused, Ford will offer an electronics package which adds-in dual-zone climate control, 8.0-inch navigation touchscreen and seven-speaker audio. But you wouldn’t, would you?