Shelby GT350R-C Hits The Track At Watkins Glen
Shelby GT350R-C Hit The Track At Watkins Glen
Ford announced today the all-new Shelby GT350R-C hits the track At Watkins Glen International this weekend in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. There will be no mistaking the wicked sound of the 5.2L V8 as it screams around the famed North American road course with its flat-plane crankshaft and tuned exhaust. With the help of Multimatic Motorsports, Ford will leap forward with its production-car road racing program, competing against world-class sports cars including the Chevrolet Z/28, BMW M3, Porsche 911, Nissan 370 Z and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Building race-winning Mustangs is something Ford has done for decades, and it still does so today. Mustang have been winning championships dating back to the 1965 Shelby GT350s, the Trans Am boss 302s, and the more recent winners like the Ford Racing Cobra Jet, the Championship-winning FR500C, as well as the FR500S and Boss 302S models.
[caption id="attachment_5108" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Billy Johnson[/caption]
"Like so many Mustangs before it, the Shelby GT350R is a car born to race,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We’re taking it to the track as the GT350R-C and we’re ready to see what it can do against the best competition in the world.”
And like many Mustangs to come before this one, both the production GT350s and race versions feature similar powerplants. In this case the 526 hp dual-overhead cam V8 from Ford, featuring the unique flat-plane crankshaft gets the call. Ford touts the all-new engine as the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 it has ever produced in a production car. Features include high-flow heads, a robust rotating assembly capable of sustaining 8,000-plus rpm, and high-flow exhaust. In this case, the production model will have more output, as IMSA has handicapped the Shelby GT350R-C with a 58mm restrictor plate.
Underneath, the GT350R-C is enhanced with tweaked version of the fully independent suspension that’s based on the GT350R. It’s fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, track-tuned alignment settings, revised (stiffened) bushings and cross-axis ball joints in the front. Interestingly, the race version does not use the electronic Magneride dampers, as they are deemed illegal by the series. In place, conventional race shocks and struts control the ride.
To gain the winning edge, Ford is utilizing the talents of Multimatic Motorsports, a long-time partner of Ford, to handle race operation. Multimatic was a key element in returning the Mustang to IMSA Grand Sport competition in 2014 and it has worked on many development projects as well. Another edge will come from the experienced Billy Johnson, Scott Maxwell, Austin Cindric and Jade Buford, who will share driving duties when the GT350R-C debuts at Watkins Glen this weekend.
“Ford is committed to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and we’re very happy to be campaigning its product here,” said Larry Holt, team principal, Multimatic Motorsports. “We like the endurance format, and the racing is always intense. Strategy plays a big role; the cars must be fast and reliable, and there are always at least 10 contenders running door-to-door for two and a half hours. It is the perfect home for the GT350R-C.”
Production car endurance racing is important to Ford, as the trickle-down technology has helped improve the breed. In fact, many components developed for track use, or versions of those parts, can be found on our shelves (or on line) here at Brothers Performance. As the relatively new S550 Mustang is developed and raced, we’ll unlock performance advantages that will keep you ahead of the competition.
“The biggest change over the outgoing Boss 302R is the IRS,” said co-driver of the No. 15 Shelby, Billy Johnson. “It gives the GT350R-C better handling and a high level of feel and control. The GT350 rolls through the corners better—the platform control is so stable and refined and it remains flatter and more controlled [during cornering],” added Johnson, who with 11 wins, has scored more victories in a Mustang than any other GS driver.
“American muscle cars have a storied history in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and we eagerly anticipate the start of a new chapter with introduction of the Shelby GT350R-C,” said Scott Atherton, president of IMSA. “Mustang has earned icon status through its racing heritage going back to the competition Mustangs of the 1960s, and this new race car will undoubtedly add to the legend.”