Ford Performance Takes Detroit

Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternFord Performance
Ford rocked the halls of the 2015 North American International Auto Show earlier this month with three new high-performance vehicle debuts. Detroit was the proper stage to roll out a radically rejuvenated GT supercar, which boasts cutting-edge aerodynamics and a new twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. The Blue Oval also unveiled an all-new F-150 Raptor — powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 as well — and the track-ready Shelby GT350R Mustang, powered by Ford’s most powerful normally-aspirated V8 ever.

Ford GT (c) Perry SternFord GT
While the new Ford GT pays homage to the original Ford GT race cars that beat Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966, there is only a slight visual resemblance at the front, and that is where any similarity ends. The new Ford GT is intended to showcase Ford’s latest performance innovation through aerodynamic design, EcoBoost engine technology and lightweight materials.

Ford GT (c) Perry SternFord GT
The impact of aerodynamics on the Ford GT is obvious, with the most dramatic design effect being a teardrop-shaped passenger cell that tapers inward from the front fenders. Each surface of the body manages airflow — reducing drag while optimizing downforce and stability at speed.

Ford GT (c) Perry SternFord GT
As the fuselage wraps around the engine compartment at the rear, the Ford GT’s roofline flows out into the rear fenders, creating large air tunnels between the rear fenders and the engine compartment. An active rear spoiler changes height and angle depending on conditions. Ford says the GT will go into production during 2016.

Ford GT (c) Perry SternFord GT
Positioned longitudinally behind the cockpit, the new GT’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine produces more than 600 horsepower and is mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch transaxle. The engine is based on the same architecture as the race engine in Ford’s Daytona Prototype that earned three wins in its first season of the TUDOR IMSA United SportsCar Championship, including the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring.

Ford GT (c) Perry SternFord GT
Construction of the Ford GT is all about weight reduction: a carbon fiber passenger cell with aluminum front and rear subframes gets wrapped in carbon fiber body panels. The suspension is a racing-style torsion bar and pushrod design with adjustable ride height.  Brakes are carbon ceramic discs at all four corners.

Ford F-150 Raptor (c) Perry SternFord F-150 Raptor
Modeled after desert-racing off-road trucks, the new Ford F-150 Raptor is a street-legal high plains drifter. Six inches wider than a standard F-150, this brute boasts high-performance off-road capability, starting with an all-new high-strength steel frame unique to Raptor. The body is constructed with military-grade aluminum alloy to save more than 500 pounds in weight. Raptor rides on 17-inch wheels with new BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires designed for off-road performance.

Ford F-150 Raptor (c) Perry SternFord F-150 Raptor
This latest Raptor is powered by an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine that will produce more horsepower and torque than the current 6.2-liter V8, which is rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque. The new V6 features dual exhaust and an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission with paddles for manual shifting.

Ford F-150 Raptor (c) Perry SternFord F-150 Raptor
Raptor’s suspension system incorporates new FOX Racing Shox with custom internal bypass technology that stiffens suspension travel over rough terrain to prevent bottoming out. Front and rear shock canisters are larger for improved performance, and the new Raptor increases suspension travel over the previous version’s 11.2 inches at the front and 12 inches in the rear. Raptors will be built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant and will go on sale in fall of 2016.

Ford F-150 Raptor (c) Perry SternFord F-150 Raptor
All Ford Raptors are four-wheel drive, with a new torque-on-demand transfer case that manages torque distribution between the front and rear axles and combines the best attributes of on-demand all-wheel drive with mechanical locking four-wheel drive. The new system offers better traction over different types of terrain at both low and high speeds.

Ford F-150 Raptor (c) Perry SternFord F-150 Raptor
Raptor’s new Terrain Management System offers six different modes for optimal performance in various driving conditions by making changes to the powertrain, driveline, traction control, ABS and AdvanceTrac stability control. The six modes are Normal; Street, for high-performance on-road driving; Weather, for rain, snow or ice; Mud and Sand; Baja, for high-speed desert running; and Rock, for low-speed rock crawling.

Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternShelby GT350R Mustang
Ford rolled out the Shelby GT350R Mustang as the most track-capable, street-legal Mustang ever, with reduced weight, improved aerodynamics and suspension tuning for optimum track performance. Standard carbon fiber wheels measure 19×11 inches at the front and 19×11.5 inches at the rear, and weigh approximately 13 pounds less per wheel than aluminum-alloy equivalents. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a unique compound and construction are also standard.

Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternShelby GT350R Mustang
The Shelby GT350R gets power from a 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 engine that produces more than 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The V8 features a flat-plane crankshaft — a design typically found on race cars or exotic sports cars. A racing-bred air-to-engine oil cooler keeps engine oil temperature down under extreme conditions. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard along with a Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential.

Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternShelby GT350R Mustang
To reduce weight on the Shelby GT350R, Ford removed equipment that does not improve track performance, including the air conditioning, stereo, rear seats, trunk floorboard, trunk carpet, backup camera, tire sealer and tire inflator. The Shelby GT350R is 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack. The optional Electronics Package allows customers to add dual-zone air conditioning, an 8-inch touch screen with navigation, 7-speaker audio system and more.

Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternShelby GT350R Mustang
The aerodynamic improvements of the Shelby GT350 remain, including the hood vent for heat extraction and lift reduction, underbody belly pans, an aggressive rear diffuser, vented wheelwells, turbulence-reducing fender vents, wheel air curtains and side skirts. The Shelby GT350R adds a revised front splitter to maximize downforce and a carbon fiber rear wing that improves downforce and lift balance.

Shelby GT350R Mustang (c) Perry SternShelby GT350R Mustang
Additional Shelby GT350R design details include red painted brake calipers, red pinstripes at the edges of the optional over-the-top stripes and Shelby GT350R badging. The interior features high-contrast red stitching, Shelby GT350R badging and a D-shaped steering wheel with a red center mark at the top. The limited-edition Shelby GT350R will be available in the United States and Canada later in 2015.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Meredith

    Finally a site that is obviously written by car people. Well done. Looking forward to tagging along.

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