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Ford introduces track-only Shelby GT350R-C

The GT350R-C will compete in the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Ford has introduced a track-tuned version of the limited-edition Shelby GT350R designed to compete in the remainder of the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Called GT350R-C, the race car is surprisingly close to its street-legal counterpart inside and out. It is fitted with roughly the same body kit, but it ditches the 350R's carbon fiber wheels in favor of alloy units made by BBS. Although interior pictures are not available, the coupe is expected to feature a built-in roll cage, a digital instrument cluster and a single Recaro bucket seat.

The GT350R-C packs an unmodified 5.2-liter V8 engine that sends 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Performance specifications have not been published yet, but Ford promises the GT350R-C stays glued to the road thanks to a thoroughly revised independent suspension system that stiffens the ride and makes the coupe sit noticeably lower.

Raced by long-time Ford partner Multimatic Motorsport, the 2015 Shelby GT350R-C will hit the track for the very first time this weekend at Watkins Glen. It will have to fend off stiff competition from cars like the Porsche 997, the Nissan 370Z, Ford's own Mustang Boss 302R and the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, which currently leads the highly-competitive Grand Sport class.

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