Billy Johnson knows a lot about motoring racing and he has used this expertise to help dial in the Shelby GT350 for 2019.

As a driver for the FIA World Endurance Ford GT and IMSA Mustang GT4 programs, Johnson has broad expertise in what makes for a great driver’s car.

The GT350’s exclusive high-revving 5.2-litre V8 remains the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever and the only one of its type in the segment – delivering 392kW and 582Nm of torque at a blistering 8250-rpm redline.

It’s mated to a track-proven and precise-shifting Tremec 6-speed manual transmission.

Johnson said the result of the new GT350’s aerodynamics tuning, revised brake calibration, and much greater downforce is a more balanced, higher-performing car on the straightaways and especially in the corners.

“Along with improved grip, brake and chassis refinements, Shelby GT350 brings a whole new level of performance driving,” he said.

“It’s a rewarding car to drive on track for amateurs and pros alike, while making the driver feel like a superhero. It’s confidence inspiring in corners and begs to be pushed harder and to take corners faster.”

Ford Performance engineers and designers incorporated the latest advances in tire, aerodynamics and chassis technology.

Working exclusively with Michelin, the team also engineered new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with a Shelby GT350-specific tread pattern and different compound to deliver more grip for significantly improved acceleration and lateral acceleration, as well as braking.

An all-new rear spoiler with optional Gurney flap and optimised grille closeout was designed and tuned with experience gained from wind tunnel development of the Ford Performance Mustang road course racing cars and upcoming Shelby GT500 model.

Together, they deliver significant rear greater aerodynamic efficiency when equipped with the new optional Gurney flap on the rear spoiler, which will be available after launch.

Upgrades to the GT350’s standard MagneRide active suspension complement the aero and tyre enhancements with recalibrated springs and revised damping to take full advantage of the improvements.

Stopping power is provided by six-piston front and four-piston rear caliper Brembos.

For added control and improved driver feedback, the electric power-assist steering and three-mode electronic stability control settings feature enhancements taken from Ford Performance’s hundreds of hours of competitive track testing.

“Somewhere, Carroll is smiling,” Ford’s global director for Ford Performance vehicle programs, Hermann Salenbauch, said.

“The new Shelby GT350 is our ultimate track Mustang. We’ve stuck to Carroll Shelby’s original formula for winning championships and made our Shelby GT350 even better with the latest in race-proven aerodynamics, tire and chassis technology.”

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.