We’re just glad there was some of the new Shelby GT350R Mustang left over to photograph after Ford got done removing features in the pursuit of saving weight for performance. The GT350R takes road-racing track prowess to the next level over the Shelby GT350 announced last year by ditching anything that wasn’t imperative for speed.
Say goodbye to air conditioning, the stereo, a backup camera, the backseat and more; though some can be added for convenience as options. Total weight savings adds up to more than 130 pounds compared with the GT350 Track Pack.
Lightening the GT350R also comes in the form of a first for the industry: the first major automaker to include lightweight carbon-fiber wheels as standard equipment; a handful of exotics have offered carbon-fiber wheels. The Mustang’s carbon-fiber 19-inch wheels save 13 pounds of unsprung weight on each wheel. With weight dialed down, aerodynamics and suspension tuning is dialed up for the GT350R that wears a boomerang-like carbon-fiber rear spoiler while up front is a revised front splitter.
The track-ready GT350R rides on a specially tuned suspension with magnetically controlled shocks like the standard GT350, though the R gets you unique spring rates and anti-roll bars plus a lower ride height and a track-tuned alignment. Under the hood is more horsepower from the flat-plane crankshaft V-8, now making more than 500 horsepower and giving it the honor as the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced.
2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang goes on sale later this year.