New Shelby GT350 Mustang Suspension and Braking Details
Yesterday I had a chance to spend some time at the Ford Performance headquarters in Allen Park, Michigan, where the 2015/2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang engineers walked us through the suspension and braking components that will help make it the best-handling Mustang of all time – and maybe the best handling American muscle car of all time.
Of course, that second part is speculation, but from what the Ford team has said about the new Shelby GT350, it will offer better road course performance than any car in the 50 year history of the original pony car.
The 2015/2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang has a host of features that make it more track capable than the 2015 Mustang GT, including a collection of weight-saving items, the new flat plan V8 engine and the most elaborate stock cooling system to ever come on a factory Mustang.
However, the components that will help the new GT350 become the best handling muscle car of all time are found predominantly in the suspension and braking system, where Ford has introduced their new MagnaRide suspension setup and one of the most intricate braking systems ever to come from the factory on an American muscle car.
The 2015 GT350 Mustang will introduce Ford’s first magnetic ride control system and with the help of a ride variety of sensors in and around the car, this suspension setup allows for a comfortable ride in street mode while offering the stiffness and responsiveness needed to be the most track capable Mustang ever. However, the suspension upgrades of the new Shelby Mustang go far beyond the high tech adjustable dampers.
The front steering knuckle of the GT350 Mustang is made from lightweight aluminum with unique mounting points for the various suspension components. In addition to saving weight, these knuckles allow the new Mustang to comfortably wear 295 series front tires on the GT350 and 305 fronts on the GT350R – both of which are wider than any front tire ever offered on a factory Ford Mustang.
Next, the 2015 Shelby GT350 has a lower rear control arm setup that is similar to the rest of the new Mustangs with independent rear suspension, but for the Shelby, the lower control arms have been made to properly carry the reserve twisted rear coil springs.
Finally, the Shelby GT350 Mustang will have a chassis that is both lighter and stiffer than the Mustang GT which when combined with the high tech suspension setup will likely make good on those “best handling” promises.
While the 2015/2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang has a suspension system that is more capable than any other in the 50 years of the fabled pony car, the Ford engineers were quick to point out that the most important aspect of this car is the intricate braking system.
Unlike so many high end performance cars that have gone with the costly carbon ceramic brakes, the new GT350 will have a more traditional – yet extremely unique – two-piece steel and aluminum brake rotor design.
The star of this show is the brake rotor design, with 15.5” rotors up front and 15” rotors out back, but the most impressive aspect of these discs isn’t the size – it is the construction. Unlike a normal two-piece rotor with the steel braking surface affixed directly to the central hat, the GT350 braking surfaces rides on a set of pins mounted around the outside of the lightweight aluminum center hat.
This pin system allows the rotors to expand when they get extremely hot, which allows for a more consistently flat braking surface. The pin system also helps to keep some of the heat of the braking surface out of the central hat and that keeps the wheel bearings cooler, thus preventing rapid wear of the bearings while racing. These high tech rotors are unlike anything ever offered on an American production vehicle and while Ford stated that some very high end cars from overseas uses these brakes, a look around Google didn’t reveal any of the vehicles that use the pinned rotor design.
Ford wanted to do their best to keep the rotors cool under the rigors of road racing, so the venting fins between the braking surfaces are curled forward, creating a scoop design that helps pull more air through the rotors while cool air streams into the wheel well through the vents in the front fascia.
Clamping down on these huge, high tech discs is a set of 6-piston Brembo calipers up front that are fixed to the steering knuckle for more positive braking pressure at all times while the 4-piston Brembo calipers out use a more traditional floating fixture design. However, the rear rotors still sport the pin design.
We still don’t know for sure how much power the new 5.2L flat plane V8 will offer, but with promises of at least 500 horsepower and at least 400 lb-ft of torque, this new high tech braking and suspension package should give the 2015/2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang a very good chance of staking its claim as the best handling muscle car – ever.
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