Ford Shelby GT350 Best Mustang Ever, Performance Director Says

The Ford Shelby GT350, set to launch later this year, comes with a litany of upgrades over the all-new ’15 Mustang GT with performance pack.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

May 6, 2015

3 Min Read
Ford says GT350 has most trackcredible brake system ever offered on a production Mustang
Ford says GT350 has most track-credible brake system ever offered on a production Mustang.

ALLEN PARK, MI – The Shelby GT350 is the best Mustang Ford ever has built, but engineers plan to continue pushing the limits of performance and have the backing of top management, says Dave Pericak, director-Global Ford Performance.

“To date, this honestly is the best Mustang we’ve ever put together,” he tells WardsAuto at a media event here. “It’s beyond what anybody ever thought a Mustang could be. Do I think that stops there? No. I hope not. I hope our investment in innovation and new technology is going to continue to allow us to push the limit and create a new best, if you will.”

The Ford Shelby GT350, set to launch later this year, comes with a litany of upgrades over the all-new ’15 Mustang GT with performance pack, currently the automaker’s top-of-the-line pony car.

Handling has been tuned for maximum performance due to a new suspension that features an aluminum front knuckle, as well as hub and bearing assemblies that are stiffer and lighter than standard Mustang parts.

Rigid bushings are fitted to the control arms and subframes for improved steering feedback, while heavy-duty bearings are added for increased lateral stiffness. The front and rear anti-roll bars have been increased in diameter for better body control.

The GT350 suspension also is the first-ever Ford application of continuously variable MagneRide dampers, which are filled with hydraulic fluid blended with iron particles. An electric current passes through the fluid for near-instantaneous adjustments of suspension performance, the automaker says.

Tire-free calibration and tuning was utilized to create integrated driver-control software that monitors wheel position, steering angle, damper temperature, signal quality and vehicle position.

Ford says the software provides suspension performance never before seen in a production Mustang.

Pericak says the new suspension was developed because the new Mustang is being sold globally and the solid rear axle used on older versions had reached its performance limits.

“We were pushing that solid rear axle as far as we could push it, beyond what anybody thought we could do, and we were proud of where we went with it,” he says. “But if we wanted to continue to go further, we really did need to switch the geometry. And globally, people would not accept a solid rear axle.”

The GT350 also receives new brakes, which Ford says is the most track-credible system ever offered on a production Mustang. The brake system is composed of 2-piece cross-drilled iron rotors with aluminum hats that are clamped by 6-piston fixed Brembo calipers.

The car’s carbon fiber wheels come clad in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires especially developed for the GT350 to deliver maximum grip. Combined, the wheels eliminate 50 lbs. (22.6 kg) of unsprung weight compared to the aluminum-alloy wheels on the standard Mustang GT.

The chassis also has been modified, with torsional stiffness increased 28%. The stiffer structure ensures the suspension geometry remains consistent even under the load caused by hard driving.

With a new Chevrolet Camaro set to debut soon, Pericak says a new pony-car war, much like the one that occurred in the 1960s, is taking place.

“I think we’ve been in the pony war and the horsepower war for a while now, and I think it’s great,” he says. “It pushes us all to be better and push the envelope and the customer benefits at the end of the day.”

As a matter of policy Ford never reveals future product plans, but Pericak suggests Ford in the near future won’t attempt to win the horsepower war, currently led by the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats, both of which create 707 hp.

While impressive, 700-plus hp is not necessarily a good thing, he says. “They have a lot of power and I give them credit for what they’ve done. But if you’ve driven one you know hooking it up (with the road) is a bit more difficult than you might want it to be.”

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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