Ford’s track-focused pony car, the Shelby GT350 Mustang, is back for 2019 with a few more tricks up its sleeve. Expect more grip and faster lap times courtesy of custom Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, improved aerodynamics, and a few creature comforts.
Michelin’s new Sport Cup 2 rubber, developed specifically for the GT350, serves up better straight-line and lateral acceleration, on top of shorter braking distances. The ultimate goal, however, is the same: “Flatter the novice, reward the professional,” says Mustang brand manager Mark Schaller.
To balance out the extra grip from the 295/35 front and 305/35 rear tires, Ford tweaked the tuning for the springs, anti-roll bars, active magnetic dampers, electric-power steering, ABS, and stability control systems. (“The suspension is roughly 10 percent softer in the rear and 10 percent firmer up front.”) Wind-tunnel testing with Mustang race cars and the upcoming Shelby GT500 allowed Ford to increase downforce, yielding a GT350R-inspired grille and a new rear spoiler. The full-bore Mustang GT350R carries over essentially unchanged.
According to Mustang chief engineer Carl Widman, it brings the GT350 about 25-percent closer to the capability of the R model.
And don’t worry—the GT350’s 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V-8 soldiers on unchanged, paired with the same six-speed manual gearbox. The GT350 also retains is front-end styling for 2019, rather than matching the EcoBoost and GT’s refresh for 2018. All the required extra cooling would have needed reorganizing, and apparently GT350 customers like the look of the car the way it is. We tend to agree.
Inside, GT350 customers are now treated to a standard eight-inch touchscreen with SYNC 3, a 12-speaker B&O Play sound system, and refinements to the interior materials.
Expect the 2019 Ford Mustang GT350 to hit showrooms in early 2019, with pricing details to follow later this year.