While the 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine and its fabulously exotic flat-plane crankshaft found in the 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 has dominated the headlines, Ford engineers also spent serious time upgrading the car’s six-speed manual transmission. Starting with a standard Tremec TR3160, Ford has thoroughly modified the transmission to meet the rigorous demands of the GT350’s track capabilities. The transmission is beefed up to handle the 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque churned out from the 5.2-liter mill.
Changes include uniquely formulated carbon-bronze triple-cone synchronizers that Ford claims deliver the tactile feel of a normal bronze synchro with the heat capacity of carbon. A dual-mass flywheel provides less rotational mass, resulting in a smaller diameter clutch, and thus allowing the engine to rev more quickly.
A short-throw shifter provides precise and direct rows, with what Ford calls “aggressive rail detents” that “provide the driver with satisfying, positive shift engagement.” We look forward to evaluating that shift feel for ourselves when we get behind the wheel of the GT350 and GT350R.
To keep the gearbox cool under extreme track use, the GT350 Track Package and the more aggressive Ford Shelby GT350R have an oil-to-air transmission cooler fed by a gerotor pump. The cooler is mounted behind the front fascia with its own unique ducting. A sensor monitors the internal transmission temperature and sends a warning to the driver if the transmission overheats, a situation Ford says is “unlikely.”
In addition to its powerful V-8 engine and track-ready manual transmission, the Ford Shelby GT350 and GT350R will have a number of other high-performance features. Look for carbon-fiber wheels, a head-up display shift lights, and a wild rear wing to adorn the go-fast coupes.
While we’ll have to get some seat time to evaluate these transmission upgrades for ourselves, we did get a chance to ride along in the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang. Click here to watch the video and listen to the car’s furious exhaust note as it tears around Michigan’s Grattan Raceway.