Doug Gaffka’s – design director,
Ford Performance Group – design inspiration for the Mustang
GT-R was simple: Flex the 2005 Mustang shell to wrap the engine
and retain 85 percent of the production car’s solid structure.
"We decided that when a car as good as the
2005 Mustang comes along, we don't need to look much further for
a pure race car," he says, noting that the Mustang's shell
would be dressing for the engine and roll cage.
The carbon fiber hood instantly communicates
the car’s performance – its large engine bulge and unfinished
surface harken back to the famous yellow, black-hooded Mustangs.
The front end is a further evolution of the Mustang GT coupe
and convertible concepts that stole the 2003 North American International
Auto Show and foreshadowed the design of the 2005 Mustang. The
Mustang GT-R features the classic pony in the grille, surrounded
by modern materials like carbon fiber as well as advanced aerodynamic
treatments like ground-hugging front and side splitters.
Accentuated by huge front fender flares that
accommodate the racing suspension, the sides of the Mustang GT-R
have 20-inch wheels, racing slicks and substantial air scoops. The
equally large rear fenders house tires that are an inch wider. Considering
how quickly 18- and 19-inch tires became standard racing ware in
recent years, these tires are a realistic forecast of the next evolution
in racing rubber. Dual stainless steel exhaust tips -- jutting out
of the rear body panel just above the rocker panel on both sides
in front of the tires – add an intimidating look to the rear
of the car.
The classic Mustang rear quarter windows
are blocked out to accommodate the fuel delivery "dry-break"
system on the driver’s side. The doors are fully functional
as required by many of the possible racing classes.
The prominent GT-R logo is placed above
the front fender and is flanked by the honorary "Mustang"
and "40th Anniversary" words. This logo is repeated on
Probably the most striking design element,
the prominent composite rear spoiler meets several road racing sanctioning
The rear fascia, like the front, is
a further expression of the GT concept design, with a wider taillamp
execution. Endurance racers will instantly recognize the differential
cooler mounted with an aluminum grille screen between the taillamps.
Inside, the instrument panel preserves the dramatic
styling of the 2005 Mustang in a carbon fiber application for racing.
In anticipation of another trend, designers chose a Formula One-style
steering wheel with most vehicle controls and gauges integrated,
including the tachometer, gear selections, telemetry and warning
signals. Only the oil pressure and water temperature gauges are
located on the instrument panel.
"Most racers cobble together interiors,"
says Gaffka. "The Formula One-style steering wheel significantly
reduces dash gauges to help preserve Mustang’s powerful instrument
panel, which is the next evolution of our interior design leadership."
The passenger side houses seat mount tracks for
a second seat, if needed, for would-be thrill seekers seeking first-hand
Mustang GT-R’s performance experience. The chrome-moly roll
cage is attached to all significant points in the body structure,
adding significant rigidity to an already stiff body.
The Mustang GT-R’s body retains
85 percent of the production car’s body components that were
stiffened by 30 percent as part of the Mustang’s first full
makeover ever. The only modifications include rear-mounted battery
pods and a fuel cell relocated to the rear trunk.
Built at Saleen Special Vehicles in
Troy, Mich., the car was developed by the same members of the Ford
GT "Dream Team" who are building sub-assemblies and painting
body panels for Ford’s first supercar.
The "Five Liter"
The foundation for the Mustang GT-R's race-prepared 440-horsepower
engine is the new 5.0-liter "Cammer" crate engine from
Ford Racing Performance Parts. The engine is rooted in the MOD
4.6-liter four-valve V-8 engine family. However, the motor's flanged
cylinder liners help provide 94mm (instead of 90.2mm) cylinder
bores, creating a full 5.0 liters of piston displacement.
And while the motor employs the SVT Mustang Cobra’s forged
crankshaft with six-bolt mains and Manley "H-Beam" connecting
rods for superior strength, the high-strength Ford Racing block
features design reinforcements and a revised material for added
strength and high-output durability. The block is specially reinforced
in the crankcase web areas for high torque loads.
Other key differences include forged pistons,
an 11.0:1 compression ratio, ported heads, higher-lift cams and
beehive-shaped valve springs. The crate engine also features higher-flow
fuel injectors and a magnesium, variable-geometry intake manifold.
The 5.0-liter "Cammer" engine
comes with a custom oil pan and features custom-fabricated Tri-Y
headers and crossover.
Helping put the power to the ground
is the Ford Racing-supplied TTC T-56 six-speed transmission linked
to the engine through a heavy-duty clutch and flywheel assembly.
Power exits the transmission through a custom metal matrix composite
aluminum driveshaft into a race-specification differential with
a 4.56:1 final drive ratio.
The "Cammer" was introduced
at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show in 2002.
The engine in the GT-R is identical to the crate engine, with the
exception of camshaft timing, which was modified to produce more
high-end horsepower for track use.