As we eagerly await the arrival of the new Shelby GT500, Ford has updated the 2019 GT350 to hold us over.
When we tested the 2016 Shelby GT350R, there was little to complain about when it came to track driving. Now with the addition of a Performance Pack 2 to the refreshed Mustang GT, the updates may be a move to widen the gap between the two.
First, Ford went to work with Michelin and engineered new Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with altered compound and a tread pattern exclusive to the GT350. With 295/35 rubber up front and 305/30 in the rear, acceleration, lateral acceleration and braking are said to have improved.
In an effort to better manipulate airflow the grille closeout was designed to reduce drag while a new rear spoiler with an optional Gurney flap adds downforce. Both were developed using data from wind tunnel testing on the Ford Performance Mustang race car and the upcoming GT500. These upgrades are complemented by changes to the standard MagneRide active suspension, which include recalibrated springs and revised damping. Moreover, the electric power steering system and stability control settings have also received updates.
One thing has not changed and that’s the high-revving 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 under the hood still sending 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via 6-speed manual transmission. Despite unchanged power, lap times should shrink due to the stickier tires and improved aerodynamics.
Set to go on sale early next year, all 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350s will come standard with a machined aluminum instrument panel (carbon fiber version optional) and offer new exterior colors including: Velocity Blue and Performance Blue.