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Can you daily an 858bhp Ford Mustang?
There's a new car in the TG Garage. A very yellow, very loud, very fast kind of car
Keen viewers of Top Gear TV may recognise our latest Top Gear Garage recruit. Yep, it’s the same Ford Mustang used in the last series to take part in a triple-header across the States in order to celebrate the sheer wonder that is the V8 engine. And now, somehow, it’s in our garage in west London. Magic.
This isn’t any Mustang, though. It’s a Mustang GT350 R. And not just any Ford Mustang GT350 R. Oh no. A Ford Mustang GT350 R tuned by a man called John Hennessey. Which we’ll have to deal with in the wet, in the UK while on semi-slick tyres for the next six months.
First, let’s go through the evolution. You’re probably aware that the regular Ford Mustang is now on sale as a right hooker in the UK for the first time in history. But you can’t get this one in the UK. Being a GT350 R, it’s Shelby’s America-only hardcore track-focused road racer.
The GT350 R’s got a unique flat-plane crank 5.2-litre V8 codenamed Voodoo. Yes, Voodoo. As standard, it churns out 526bhp and 429lb ft of torque as it rips around to an ear-shredding 8,250rpm. Compared with the milder GT350, most of the soundproofing has been ditched. Ditto the the back seats, boot carpet, side glass and spare wheel, shaving a total of 59kg. Plus, there are special carbon-fibre wheels, saving over 7kg per corner. That’s all unsprung mass, too, which does wonders for ride and handling, but it’s a pricey fix if carbon meets kerb. A £3,000-a-corner kinda pricey. But the front rims are coated in the same ceramic plasma arc spray as the Space Shuttle’s engine turbine blades, which is military-grade Top Trumps ammo.
Visually, there’s quite a difference between the GT350 R and a normal GT. All bodywork from the windscreen forward is unique, the nose has been shaved to better aero and the whole car sits two inches lower. Stance? This thing has got it in spades. Then there’s its incredibly focused track setup.
Sitting on switchable MagneRide dampers, all 350s have been stiffened up to make sure it doesn’t wibble-wobble around a circuit. Torsional stiffness has been beefed up 28 per cent, while front stiffness has increased thanks to a natty lightweight injection-moulded carbon fibre composite grille. Spring rates, obviously, are up. But, amazingly, now in a unique counter-sprung setup to improve stability. It really feels that Ford didn’t leave a stone unturned trying to eke out every drop of performance. And all for the ludicrously low price of $64k. Bargain.
Now, think of this Mustang as triple-distilled: Ford built it, Shelby modified it, and then it was sent to a corrugated shed in Texas to be massaged by John Hennessey. Now an ‘HPE850’ GT350 R, there’s a new 2.9-litre supercharger, upgraded fuel injectors, a carbon-fibre induction kit, a light engine remap and a handful of other tweaks to take it to 858bhp and 673lb ft. Which is a lot. And did we mention it’s also one of the angriest and loudest cars on the planet? No? Well, more on that in our next update. But what would you like to see us do with the Mustang? Let us know in the comments below.