"The GT-R is the ultimate expression of
the Mustang platform," says Hau Thai-Tang, 2005 Mustang chief
nameplate engineer. "Mustang spans more of the market than
almost any other car – from an under-$20,000 V-6 to a race-ready
car in the $40,000 range. The Mustang GT-R shows how we can expand
that unmatched reach with the all-new platform."
Track time – at drag strips and on road
courses – was a critical part of the 2005 Mustang’s
development, as chassis engineers pushed prototypes to the limit
in search of the perfect power-and-handling blend.
"We spent countless hours refining this car on development
drives and at the track," says Mark Rushbrook, 2005 Mustang
vehicle development manager. "The car has been to the Nelson
Ledges road course in Ohio several times for 24-hour runs and
has spent months on Ford's straightaways and handling courses
at our proving grounds in Arizona, Michigan and Florida."
Soon after the 2005 Mustang’s world reveal
in January, race engineers quickly began building on its solid
foundation. The Mustang GT-R concept's chassis was fully stripped
down to the body shell to receive custom reinforcement and structural
improvements for driver safety on the racetrack. A roll cage was
added, along with a Sparco-brand racing seat with a five-point
The production suspension geometry is retained,
but key parts were replaced to reduce weight or provide additional
strength for the rigors of racing. Suspension pieces, including
the K-member, are made of lightweight chrome-moly tubing. The
race-proven dampers are coil-over, fully adjustable units featuring
remote reservoirs. A strut tower brace increases structural rigidity.
Rounding out the chassis package are huge,
race-proven Brembo brakes. The front features 14.3-inch rotors
with six-piston calipers; the rear has 13-inch rotors with four-piston
calipers. Linking the whole package to the racetrack are 20-inch
wheels and racing slicks provided by Pirelli. Tire sizes range
from 275/35 in front to 305/30 in the rear.
The Mustang GT-R is engineered with modern
aerodynamics principles, including a massive front airflow opening
and carbon-fiber belly pans that reduce underbody air turbulence.