It is fitting that the video here should have been shot on a race track. The 2016 Shelby GT350R is meant to the be the most track-focused version of the car in the current lineup. The impracticality of the car’s front lip spoiler for street driving hints at this pretty strongly, as does the “R” at the end of the model name, but if Ford wants to further reinforce this point by showing us track footage of the car then we won’t object. If the GT350 is the spiritual successor to the Boss 302, then the GT350R is the successor to the Boss 302 Laguna Seca.

It’s easy to forget that the very first Shelby Mustangs were built to be track machines. They didn’t have huge engines and weren’t made for the drag strip. They were simply track-focused versions of the regular Mustang GT. This was already being diluted by the second year of production, but the 1965 GT350 was a seriously hard-core version of the 289 Mustang, with the track-only GT350R being the most hard core of them all.

Shelby GT350R

2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang High Resolution Exterior
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Like the original 1965 GT350s, the 2016 model uses a modified but still naturally aspirated version of the Mustang GT’s engine. This is a very different approach from that of the GT500, which has always used a bigger engine, and in recent years, a supercharger as well. As of this moment, we just know that GT350R will produce “over 500” horsepower, but whatever the number, that’s a noticeable bump from the 435 in the GT.

And though the GT350R seems to be the most hard-core Mustang without a blower, it is not the full race-spec car that the 1965 model was. This has an interior, climate control and a back seat. Some of this has a factory delete option, but the car isn’t built to a specific set of racing regulations the way it used to be. That said, it can always be converted if you’re determined to race it.

Read our full review here.

Jacob Joseph
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