The muscular Ford Mustang GT-R rekindles the legend’s road racing glory and the magic of 5.0-liter Mustangs in a stunning racing concept making its world debut today. The Mustang GT-R signals a potential future race car, while honoring four decades of performance glory just days before Mustang’s 40th anniversary.
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 the rear.
Probably the most striking design element, the prominent composite rear spoiler meets several road racing sanctioning body rules.
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" Is Back
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.
Proven Race Chassis
The Mustang GT-R benefits from the 2005 Mustang’s race-inspired chassis, developed and tuned by engineers with Ford Racing engineering experience or a passion for weekend track time. The Mustang’s race-bred suspensions, near 50-50 weight distribution and ultra-stiff body structure, are just the beginning of Mustang GT-R’s credentials.
"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 safety harness.
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.
Concept to Reality
Although the Mustang GT-R is a concept, the car was engineered to perform at racing speeds with parts currently available to weekend racers through the 2004 Ford Racing catalog.
The 5.0-liter EFI "Cammer" crate engine, including the wiring harness kit, will sell for an MSRP of $14,995. The "Cammer" engine takes the guesswork out of installation projects by offering a choice of several length 5.0-liter, 4-valve modular wiring harness kits created specifically to cover the most popular engine swap configurations.
What’s more, harness kits – which include the powertrain control module (PCM) – provide all the necessary electrical connectors, including end terminals, a fuse box, a power distribution box, as well as switch connectors and fuel pump relays.
The roll cage, rear spoiler and some chassis components are all being considered for further development.
The Mustang GT-R enjoys the strong bloodlines of the 2005 Ford Mustang that was introduced in January as the first Mustang ever with its own dedicated platform. The new platform is six inches longer, 30 percent stiffer and features a sophisticated solid rear axle.
Working on a clean sheet of paper, Mustang’s engineering team could have selected any type of setup at the rear, including an independent suspension. So why choose a solid rear axle? The answer lies in Mustang’s position as America’s muscle car.
"We talked to a lot of Mustang owners and racers when we were developing this program," says Thai-Tang. "They are a very passionate group, and a lot of them told us – very strongly – that the all-new Mustang must have a solid rear axle because of its combination of performance and modification flexibility."
The new-from-the-ground-up chassis and careful attention to vehicle dynamics give the all-new Mustang world-class ride and handling. With this ultra-rigid structure, Mustang engineers could tune spring, damping and bushing rates to a finer degree than ever possible.
This unrivaled driving excitement will continue to come at an attainable price. The base V-6 model will remain the best rear-wheel-drive car for under $20,000; the Mustang GT will be the most affordable 300-horsepower performance car in the market.
Ford and legions of worldwide fans will celebrate Mustang’s 40th anniversary April 17, 2004, in Nashville, Tenn., at a birthday party hosted by the Mustang Club of America. The 2005 Mustang will hit showrooms in the fall of 2004. It will be built at the AutoAlliance International assembly facility in Flat Rock, Mich., just miles from its current home at the Dearborn Assembly Plant on the Rouge River.
Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
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Body - Lightweight RPS body panels with carbon fiber hood, aero devices, instrument panel, interior door panels and floor heal pads
Engine – Ford Racing 5.0L "Cammer" V8
Configuration - V-8, aluminum block, aluminum four-valve cylinder heads, forged aluminum pistons
Bore x Stroke - 94 mm bore x 90.0 mm stroke
Displacement - 5.0 liters (302 cu in/4995 cc)
Compression ratio - 11.0:1
Horsepower - 440 @ 7000 rpm
Torque - 400 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
Redline - 7,000 rpm
Valvetrain - Double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder
Intake valves - Two per cylinder, 38 mm
Exhaust valves - Two per cylinder, 32 mm
Throttle body - Twin 57 mm
Transmission - Ford Racing/Tremec T-56 6-speed
Rear axle - Winters/Ford 9-inch design
1st - 2.97
2nd - 2.07
3rd - 1.43
4th - 1.00
5th - .80
6th - .62
Final drive - 4.56:1
Differential - Winter's race-spec rear differential
Clutch - Ford Racing "Cobra R" heavy-duty clutch/flywheel assembly
Driveshaft - Metal matrix composite aluminum custom driveshaft
Exhaust - Complete stainless steel race exhaust with Tri-Y design headers, crossover and side exit tips
Chassis and Suspension
Chassis - Fully reinforced fabrication
Suspension - Original production geometry with lightweight chrome-moly tube (aircraft quality) construction
Front - Reverse-L independent rigid strut tower brace with lightweight chrome-moly K-member and race-spec anti-sway bar with 1.25-inch box section
Rear - Three-link, solid axle with dynamic, fully adjustable shocks with remote reservoirs and coil-over springs, race-spec 1.25-inch panhard rod, and race-spec anti-sway bar
Front - Brembo Racing 6-piston calipers and 14.3-inch rotors, 1.25-inch thickness
Rear - Brembo Racing 4-piston calipers and 13-inch rotors, 1.25-inch thickness
Wheels & Tires
Front - Pirelli P275/35/20 racing slicks 20 x 10-inch, 5-spoke billet aluminum wheels
Rear - Pirelli P315/30/20 racing slicks 20 x 11-inch, 5-spoke billet aluminum wheels
MUSTANG RACING HISTORY
The iconic status of the Ford Mustang can be attributed to several major factors, including its lasting hallmarks of great looks and performance combined with affordability – as well as it’s starring roles on the big screen. But, for enthusiasts who have nurtured this image, the legend of Mustang began on the racetrack and grew quickly over four decades of dominating performances.
The new 440-horsepower Mustang GT-R concept is a bold expression of this glorious racing success, with ties to some of Ford’s most famous racing moments, and fittingly arrives as tens of thousands of Mustang fans prepare to gather (at a racetrack of course) to honor the legend’s 40th anniversary.
In the early sixties, Ford and the other American automakers were "officially" out of racing, chafing under the self-imposed Automobile Manufacturers Association ban that had begun in 1957. Seeking to boost its image, Ford would ultimately create a formidable racing program in the 1960s that is still thriving today.
That original program included the A.C. Cobra, the GT-40, the 427 and Boss 429 NASCAR and drag racing engines, the double overhead cam Ford Indy engine, the Ford-Cosworth DFV Formula One engine and production cars like the Mustang.
The name Mustang was suggested by executive stylist John Najjar because he was an aficionado of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II.
The wild-horse theme was adopted almost immediately. The familiar running-horse emblem was plainly visible at Watkins Glen, N.Y., in the fall of 1962. The crowds, on hand for the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race, were treated to an exhibition of the Mustang I two-seat prototype driven by Dan Gurney.
A little more than a month after its April 17 introduction, Mustang was on the racetrack as a pace car leading the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Before the year was out, Mustang was a winner in competition, finishing first and second in class in the 1964 Tour de France international rally – an auspicious beginning.
One Quarter Mile at a Time
The first American assault came in drag racing, initially by individuals and dealer-sponsored teams. Racers squeezed 427 high-riser V-8s into their Mustangs, and the "horses" were off and racing.
By 1965, Ford was involved with cars competing in the National Hot Rod Association’s Factory Experimental, or A/FX class, as the 427-cubic-inch single overhead cam V-8 made a potent powerplant in Holman & Moody’s A/FX Mustangs.
Ten of these Mustangs were built, and five of them qualified in the Factory Stock Eliminator field at the ’65 NHRA Winternationals. Bill Lawton drove his Tasca Ford Mustang A/FX to victory in the car’s very first race.
Taming the Twisties
In 1965, Carroll Shelby, responding to Ford’s challenge to build a winning road racing program, introduced the Mustang GT-350 – a stripped down Mustang 2+2 with modified suspension, shocks, steering, brakes and Ford 289-cubic-inch V-8s – for Sports Car Club of America competition.
Jerry Titus, Bob Johnson and Mark Donohue drove GT-350s to national titles in 1965, and the GT-350 went on to win SCCA B-Production national championships for three straight years.
1966 was the inaugural year for the SCCA Trans-Am series, and Mustangs found a new racing home. Jerry Titus, in a Shelby-prepared Mustang, won the season finale at Riverside. All told, Mustang racers won four of the seven series races and Ford won the manufacturers’ championship.
In the 1967 Trans-Am series, Titus chalked up four more victories in a Shelby Mustang, won the drivers’ title and Ford took a second straight manufacturers’ championship. Mustang also won another SCCA B-Production road-racing title.
In 1968, while singer Wilson Pickett was asking Mustang Sally to "slow your Mustang down," Ford introduced the 428 Mustang Cobra Jet.
To performance enthusiasts, 1969 was dominated by the hottest Mustangs ever — 428 Mach 1, Boss 429 and Boss 302. Three modified examples of this fearsome threesome were taken to the Bonneville Salt Flats in search of speed records.
Driven by Mickey Thompson, Danny Ongais, Ray Brock and Bob Ottum, they collected 295 United States Auto Club-certified records, including a 24-hour run on a 10-mile course at an average speed of 157 miles an hour.
Ford backed two Trans-Am teams in 1969: Carroll Shelby fielded drivers Peter Revson and Horst Kwech, while Bud Moore signed on Parnelli Jones and George Follmer. The teams combined for four victories and were tasting victory at mid-season before experiencing a string of accidents.
In 1970, Bud Moore’s team raced against one of the most competitive Trans-Am fields of all time with six factory teams. Jones and Follmer fulfilled the promise of a year earlier by winning six races and the manufacturers’ championship as Jones took the drivers’ title.
Budget cuts, the oil embargoes and economic recession all contributed to the end of factory backing for Mustang's racing career in the 1970s -- and to the end of the so-called "muscle-car era."
Of course, it didn't mean that Mustangs stopped racing.
Mustang was a favorite of short-track stock car racers through most of the seventies. In 1972, Dick Trickle raced a Mustang to a national record of 67 short track feature wins in one season.
And in drag racing, drivers like Connie Kalitta, Shirley Muldowney and Don Nicholson kept Mustang in the winner’s circle.
Pro Stock gained popularity, and by 1975 a now-familiar name was in the record books. Bob Glidden drove a Ford Pinto to his first Pro Stock championship in ’74, and then switched to Mustang for ’75, winning four national events and his second NHRA championship — Mustang’s first Pro Stock title.
In Ford’s resurgent racing program of the eighties, Mustang figured prominently from the beginning in 1981. In International MotorSports Association (IMSA) GT racing, the turbocharged Miller Mustang, driven by Klaus Ludwig, came within a 10th of a second of winning its first race over the dominant Porsche 935 Turbos. Ludwig then made the threat a reality with back-to-back victories at Brainerd and Sears Point.
Tom Gloy put a Mustang back in a Trans-Am winner’s circle for the first time in a decade when he won the 1981 season finale at Sears Point.
And, in SCCA road racing, Mustang became the first domestic car ever to win the Showroom Stock ,a national championship, when Ron Smaldone drove his turbo Mustang to victory at Road Atlanta.
By 1984, Ford Division had staked out the IMSA GTO series as Mustang turf. Enter Jack Roush, who was to the Mustang in the eighties what Carroll Shelby was in the sixties.
A Roush-prepared Mustang, driven by Willy T. Ribbs and Wally Dallenbach Jr., won GTO class in the three-hour IMSA ’84 season finale at Daytona. It was the beginning of a Mustang reign as king of GTO.
The following February, Dallenbach, John Jones, and Doc Bundy won GTO class at the Daytona 24 Hours – the first of three consecutive Mustang victories in the season-opening marathon.
John Jones went on to win the’85 GTO drivers’ championship, while nine Mustang victories brought Ford its first road-racing manufacturers’ championship since 1970. Three of those wins belonged to Lynn St. James, the first ever for a woman in the series.
The Roush Mustangs carried on the winning tradition in 1986 with eight more GTO wins and another manufacturers’ title for Ford. Scott Pruett scored seven of those wins and claimed the GTO drivers’ championship, as well as the GT Endurance Championship – with more than a little help from Bruce Jenner.
In drag racing, Rickie Smith drove his Motorcraft Mustang to the semifinals or better at all 11 races on the International Hot Rod Association schedule, and took the IHRA Pro Stock world championship.
The 1987 Daytona 24 hours and one other victory were Mustang’s GTO total for the year. However, Saleen Autosport Mustangs, campaigned by Steve Saleen and Rick Titus, won the SCCA Escort Endurance SSGT championship.
Mustang Turns 25, Steers Wins
In its silver anniversary year, Mustang returned to Trans-Am as rookie driver Dorsey Schroeder drove Ford’s "anniversary car," numbered 25, while Lynn St. James returned to a Mustang. Schroeder won his very first race on his way to six season wins, a drivers’ championship and a leading role in Ford’s first Trans-Am manufacturers’ title since 1970.
In 1997, Tommy Kendall carried on the Trans-Am tradition by piloting his Roush-prepared Mustang to a record 11 consecutive wins as he clinched a third straight driver’s championship.
John Force, perhaps the most dominant racer of a single race series, broke his own NHRA drag racing record by winning his 12th national crown in his Ford Mustang Funny Car in 2002.
While Force continues to dominate the straight-line arena, Roush Racing and Saleen Racing are the most prominent privateers who carry the Mustang road-racing torch into the new century.
The new Mustang GT-R concept meshes this four decades of racing success with the all-new 2005 Mustang’s magic and world-class performance to send one clear message: Mustang will continue to dominate the racing scene.
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2002 Speed Arena