In just about every sense, the 2016 Ford Shebly GT350R Mustang is among the most “exotic” domestic cars available in the US. It has a flat-plane crank V8 – an engine configuration perhaps most often associated with Ferrari – and rides on cutting edge carbon fiber wheels, kept afloat by the latest generation of BWI MagneRide suspension.
Although plenty capable around a twisting road course, the Boss 302 variant of the previous-generation Mustang is comparatively basic with its more pedestrian cross-plane crank, solid-rear axle, and conventional suspension.
Nonetheless, the folks at Road & Track recently borrowed a 2013 model year Boss 302 to pit against the formidable new Shelby GT350R, testing both around the corners of the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park. Sure, in a sense, Road & Track is comparing apples to oranges; the addition of an independent-rear suspension alone is enough of a leap between Mustang generations to render the 2013 Boss 302 obsolete.
But in another, much more practical sense, the very same people who bought the Boss 302 variant of the previous-generation Ford Mustang are those most likely to pursue owning the new Shelby GT350R. Each represents the most track-capable, speed-loving Mustang model of its respective time.
As you might imagine, the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R is light years ahead of the Boss 302 in terms of performance. Apart from the fast-revving, 8,250 RPM-redline 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 in the Shelby GT350R, there are other, more subtle improvements, such as the use of fixed, opposed-piston brake calipers (as opposed to sliding-type units), plenty of camber, and mountains of cornering grip.
For the full comparison, head over to the Road & Track website.