At Car and Driver‘s Lightning Lap 8 back in 2014, that year’s Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 lapped Virginia International Raceway in just 2:50.9 – exactly nine-tenths of a second faster than the 2016 Shelby GT350R Mustang did this year.
Let’s not allow this fact to tarnish our view of what is handily the supreme track-oriented Mustang model to-date.
For one thing, coming in marginally slower than the 2014 Z/28 doesn’t make the Shelby GT350R’s screaming 5.2-liter Voodoo V8 sound any less incredible. For another, as the editors at C/D themselves admit, much of the difference comes down to the performance of the cars’ respective tire options: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s in the case of the Shelby GT350R, versus Pirelli P Zero Trofeo Rs on the Chevy.
And finally, one has to consider the number of amazing high-performance exotics that the Shelby GT350R Mustang has still managed to match or best around the corners of Virginia International.
For instance, the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera turned in an identical 2:51.8 lap time when tested, as did the 2009 Corvette ZR1. The Shelby GT350R managed to beat the likes of the 2012 Nissan GT-R, 2012 Lexus LFA, 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and 2014 Audi R8 V-10 Plus. It even beat the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V by a full 5.0 seconds, which is no small feat for a smaller-displacement, normally-aspirated engine.
So, it’s of no real use looking at the 2016 Shelby GT350R’s handful of losses at Car and Driver‘s Lightning Lap; the Mustang’s victories are much more illuminating.
Be sure to watch the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang tackle the full Virginia International Raceway road course in the video above.