The 34-year-old returned to Formula 1 this year after his accident in 2011
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Hennessey Mustang GT350R – long-term review
Can you daily an 858bhp Ford Mustang?
Keen viewers of TopGear TV may recognise our latest Top Gear Garage recruit. It’s the same Ford Mustang that Matt opted for 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. But not just any Ford Mustang GT350 R. Oh no. A Ford Mustang GT350 R tuned by a man called John Hennessey, that tune being approximately 850bhp. Which we’ll have to deal with in the wet. In the UK. On semi-slick tyres. Yee-haw!
Now, you’re probably aware that the 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.
It’s got a unique flat-plane crank 5.2-litre V8 codenamed Voodoo. Yes, Voodoo. How cool is that? Stock, it churns out 526bhp and 429lb ft of torque as it rips around to an ear-shredding 8,250rpm. Compared with the milder GT350, the back seats, boot carpet, side glass, spare wheel and most soundproofing have been ditched, 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.
But think of this Mustang as triple-distilled, as having been to Shelby after Ford, it’s then been 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 next month.