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LA LIVE: 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

by Drew Johnson

Ford has lifted the veil on its high-performance Shelby GT350.

Ford has finally unveiled its long-awaited Shelby GT350 Mustang racer. The all-new Shelby GT350 Mustang greets the public for the first time at this week's Los Angeles auto show.

As expected, the 2015 Shelby GT350 Mustang is a race car for the streets, much like the original GT350 that was launched by Carroll Shelby in 1965.

To that end, the GT350 ditches the massive, supercharged V8 that was found beneath the hood of the previous GT500 for a high-winding 5.2L naturally aspirated V8. Using Ford's first-ever application of flat-plane crank technology — which allows better engine breathing — the 5.2L V8 in the new GT350 cranks out "more than” 500 horsepower and 400 lb-ft or torque, making it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in Ford's production history.

A light-weight six-speed manual transmission will be the only gearbox offered in the GT350.

In order to improve the Mustang's handling prowess, the GT350 has been fitted with a lowered suspension, Ford's first ever adaptive damper system (called ManeRide), extra-stiff 19-inch wheels and specially designed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The GT350 also boasts a wider front track than the standard Mustang.

Brakes have been improved to Brembo-sourced six-piston calipers clamping 394-millimeter discs at the front and four-piston calipers on 380-millimeter rotors at the rear. Ford claims the "GT350 features the most track-credible brake system ever offered on a Ford vehicle in terms of absolute stopping power, fade resistance and brake pedal feel.”

The GT350 package also includes an aero package that features a lower aluminum hood, re-sculpted front fascia with integrated splitter, ducted belly pan, functional rear diffuser and decklid spoiler. Cooling in the GT350 has also been improved thanks to air vents in the car's hood, side fenders and front grille.

The interior of the GT350 is also all-business, starting with standard Recaro sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a unique gauge cluster. Ford also went to the length of removing interior chrome accents to prevent sun glare that might distract a driver on the race track.

Upholding its image as a race car for the track, the Mustang's standard suite of driving aids has been made completely reconfigurable in the GT350. The updated driver control system allows the driver to pick from several different modes for the car's ABS, stability control, traction control, steering effort, throttle mapping, MagneRide tuning and exhaust settings.

"When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive - challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes - and the track on weekends,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant - nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power.”

Ford hasn't announced pricing or availability details for the 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang, but we expect to hear more on that front in the coming weeks.

Live Images by Brian Williams.

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