Mustang GT350 Gets Track Enhancements

June 13, 2018 at 8:43 AM

Ford Motor Co. is making a host of improvements to the track-ready Mustang Shelby GT350 but will maintain the performance car’s powertrain and basic design.

The 2019 model, which will be available early next year, gets an enhanced aerodynamics package, upgraded suspension and customized tires. Ford says the improvements will make the GT350 faster and more responsive on the racetrack, benefiting beginners and experienced enthusiasts.

Borrowed from the upcoming Shelby GT500, the aero package features an all-new rear spoiler and optional Gurney flap. Available later in the model year, the Gurney flap is a vertical extension to the rear edge of the spoiler to create more down force without adding too much drag. The standard GT350 also gets a revised grille block-off from the GT350R, with fewer openings to minimize front-end drag.

But other changes incorporated in the base 2018 Mustang, including redesigned headlights and taillights, won’t be used in the GT350. Ford says performance customers prefer the car’s current look.

The carryover flat-crank 5.2-liter V-8 engine kicks out 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.

Upgrades to the MagneRide active suspension include revised springs and magnetic dampers. The changes result in a 10% firmer ride in the front and 10% softer in the rear.

The GT350’s electric power-assist steering, antilock braking and electronic stability control also have been adjusted, based on hundreds of hours of track testing. The Brembo brake system (6-piston front and 4-piston rear) also has been recalibrated.

Ford collaborated with Michelin to customize a set of Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, with a GT350-specific tread pattern and different rubber compound. Mounted on 19-inch aluminum wheels, the new tires are designed to enhance acceleration, braking and lateral grip.

Interior goodies include a standard eight-inch infotainment system and dual-zone automatic climate control, both of which previously were charged separately. Among the new options are power adjustable seats, faux suede door inserts and a 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system.