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Old 04-04-2004, 08:14   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.:Mustang GT-R concept is race ready

By Eric Mayne / The Detroit News

DEARBORN — In the minds of the motoring public, the Mustang is just a thinly-veiled race car.

So, Ford Motor Co. is using this week’s New York International Auto Show to bare the soul of its Mustang icon with the GT-R, a concept vehicle that celebrates the car’s ties with speed and performance.

“It’s a full-blown racer,” said J Mays, Ford’s group vice president of design. “It has more power than any man has a right to aim down the road.”

Making its debut in the same city where the first Mustang was introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair, the concept car is based on the 2005 production model and hints at what might be seen on the track when race teams get their hands on the new pony car. Ford will begin building the production model in September at AutoAlliance Inc., the Flat Rock plant it shares with Mazda Motor Corp.

The GT-R is also an homage to the imaginations of Mustang owners who can’t resist the temptation to tinker.

“It’s a celebration of things that people have done to Mustang over the years,” Mays said. “Through 40 years, they have just kept taking them and changing them and customizing them and modifying them. So we’re just trying to stoke that fire a little bit before September.”

Fittingly, the concept car is powered by a 500-hp 5.0-liter V-8, which is based on a Ford “crate” engine — so named because it offers high performance in a box. Ford builds and sells the engines for $14,995 each to enthusiasts who want to do their own customizing.

And while the GT-R remains a concept car with outlandish features such as a Formula One-style steering wheel, wide racing tires and a race-proven six-speed transmission, it still has resonance for Mustang fans. More than 85 percent of the GT-R’s body structure comes from the car that will roll off the line with a starting price under $20,000.

The GT-R was built in Troy, Mich., by Saleen Specialty Vehicles, which has its own connection with Mustang. Its California-based parent company, Saleen Inc., is Ford’s largest Mustang customer. It buys and customizes about 1,000 Mustang models annually and resells them at prices ranging from $36,669 to $150,000.

Mustang GT-R concept



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Old 04-05-2004, 04:43   #2 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.:Mustang GT-R concept is race ready

Ford Mustang returns to road-racing, 5.0-liter roots with Mustang GT-R concept

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Ford has issued the following press release:
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.

The bright Valencia Orange car – inspired by the famous Grabber Orange 1970 Mustang Boss 302 Trans-Am race cars (the Yellow Mustangs) piloted by race legends, including Parnelli Jones – is a technological showcase that, when peeled back, reveals a number of existing or production-feasible racing parts.

The Mustang GT-R features Ford Racing’s 440-horsepower “Cammer” crate engine, already affordably available to grassroots racers that could be tuned to produce more than 500 horsepower under certain race series rules. Last year, a tuned 505-horsepower version of the “Cammer” notched world-class performance and endurance credentials by powering a Mustang to victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona race in the Daytona Prototype category.

The race car is engineered to tackle the world’s toughest road and street courses with a stiff structure (based on the all-new 2005 Mustang scheduled for sale this fall), a collection of the most sophisticated racing parts from many racing series and a Formula One-inspired steering wheel. However, the Mustang GT-R could be easily transformed into an affordable, competitive option for grassroots teams as it uses 85 percent of the 2005 Mustang’s body components along, the same suspension setups and the already-attainable “Cammer” powerplant.

“The Mustang GT-R could be adapted to conform to different series and budgets but, in this variation, it serves as a dream machine. We took the ‘Cammer’ engine from the Ford Racing catalog and built a race car around it with the best parts we’ve researched and tested through our unmatched global racing program.”

While conceptual in spirit, the Mustang GT-R is built by racers and is a capable performer with an eye on stepping up Mustang’s road-racing presence.

The Mustang GT-R also hints at a turn-key grassroots racing package that could be retailed through Ford Racing’s parts’ catalog and distribution network.

Engine Dressing
Doug Gaffka’s – design director, Ford Performance Group – design inspiration for the Mustang GT-R was simple: A flexed 2005 Mustang shell to wrap the engine and retain 85 percent of the production car’s solid structure.

The carbon fiber hood instantly communicates the car’s performance with a large engine bulge and an unfinished surface that harkens back to the famous yellow Mustangs with black hoods.

The classic Mustang rear quarter windows are blocked out to accommodate the fuel delivery “dry-brake” 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.

The prominent composite rear spoiler is probably the most striking design element and 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 between the taillamps with an aluminum grille screen.

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 experience of the Mustang GT-R’s performance. 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.

The car was built at Saleen Special Vehicles in Troy, Mich. by the same members of the Ford GT “Dream Team” who are building subassemblies 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.

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.

Proven Race Chassis
The Mustang GT-R benefits from the 2005 Mustang’s race-inspired chassis that was 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.

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.

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 race track. 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 have been replaced in order 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 and feature 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, while the rear has 13-inch rotors with four-piston calipers. Linking the whole package to the race track 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 air flow opening and carbon fiber belly pans that reduce underbody air turbulence.















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Old 04-19-2004, 07:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.:Mustang GT-R concept is race ready

Something to Celebrate: Mustang races to its 40th Anniversary party with 440-hp GT-R

AUTOWEEK
By DUTCH MANDEL


Orange rules on the GT-R, with carbon fiber running a close second, though whether Ford Racing Performance Parts will sell you that hood is not yet clear. But you can buy the crate motor, along with chassis bits and that wing in the back. You don't like the wing? Well, keep in mind, this car was built to go racing (and we hope it truly does), not to sit there and look pretty. (Photos by Jim Fets)

Miss Manners might suggest the following as 40th anniversary gifts: an exotic vacation, a junket with friends, a black-tie surprise party. Then again, diamonds-always-are good, even if it's not a diamond anniversary.

If you are a car company, however, with an iconic car ingrained in multiple generations, what do you do? If you're Ford, and this week's celebratory icon is Mustang, you bestow on it power, panache and punch. Call it a high-performance makeover. Call it wishful thinking for parts buyers everywhere. Call it Mustang GT-R.

Those of an age see this pumpkin Mustang and images come to mind of the hellacious battles George Follmer and Par-nelli Jones waged against Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, Jim Hall, Peter Revson, Swede Savage and others. They also remember the cars as combatants in American production-car road racing's halcyon days. The SCCA's Trans-Am series was at its glorious zenith in 1970, and who could have imagined then an impending fuel crisis and tightening corporate budgets would bring its nadir so quickly? Still, blazing in incandescent memory are the bright Grabber Orange Bud Moore Mustangs, grand slayers of comers from Detroit and the world.

Ford, in its almost never-ending nod to the past and in its unassailable need to reproduce exciting car after exciting car, came up with GT-R. (We keep fingers crossed these new-age doppelgängers cease before Mustang II, in Stallion trim and with Ghia vinyl landau roof, somehow rises to the show floor...)



GT-R is a nod to the past with a look to the future. Built on the much-heralded 2005 Mustang that wowed NAIAS goers and the world, the GT-R sprung from the mind and pen of senior designer Keith Rogman. But Rogman is not alone in bringing this to life, as Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo was also involved. "This is the most famous of all the [Mustang] Trans-Am cars," says Rogman, 39, whose dishwater blonde hair and button-down shirt make him look more the preppy accountant than high-styled artist. "Besides, we love orange."

The idea behind GT-R is that Ford Racing Performance Parts is a go-fast profit center for the company, a place where parts can be developed in tandem with the car as it emerges from computerized data. If the Mustang, arguably one of the most tuned rides Detroit has ever created, were to go out on the track today, how would it look? This is a showcase for what Ford could do, admits Rogman, but whether the car laps tracks in its current, extreme form remains to be seen. Still, we can dream.

Let's start with what you can't see-its high-performance heart. Ford's modular 4.6-liter V8 has seen its cylinders bored out to 94 mm (instead of 90.2) to give it the near-magical 5.0-liter displacement that once defined Trans-Am eligibility. This cammer motor gets the SVT Mustang Cobra's forged crankshaft with six-bolt mains and Manley H-Beam connecting rods, forged pistons and an 11.0:1 compression ratio. The heads have been ported, it gets high-lift cams, high-flow fuel injectors and a magnesium variable-geometry intake manifold. Other tricks: a custom oil pan and side-exit exhaust with custom headers. The four-inch-diameter chrome side pipes exiting just behind the doors are a visual marvel and gloriously trumpet the GT-R's powerful beat. During the build, the team fired the car up for us, and it was nothing short of phenomenal. Again, those of an age can envision this Grabber Orange racer sweep down the hill at Lime Rock or through the Laguna corkscrew or...



This Ford Racing crate motor has found its way into everything from a 1953 F-100 pickup to, we're almost sure, a few backyard Foci. The engine produces a reliable 440 hp all day and it could, if tickled appropriately, ease out 500 (before supercharging).

Transferring power to the ground is a Ford Racing-supplied TTC T-56 six-speed transmission and heavy-duty clutch. A custom metal-composite aluminum driveshaft bolts to a race-spec diff with 4.56:1 final drive.

Before you get in a lather about pie-in-the-sky stuff you can't buy, Ford is being coy about what will-and what won't-be available and when. We know you can have the engine and wiring kit and all the ancillary power stuff now; all that separates you from ownership is the want, and $15,000. And there is precedence in an intended-for-racers Mustang wearing the GT-R badge.

The engine alone is okay, but if you're going to race it, it has to stick to the track. This car will, because it is essentially a race car in show-car clothing. The production suspension geometry and mounting points remain intact, but some pieces have been swapped out to reduce weight. Some suspension pieces are made of chrome-moly tubing. The shocks, with remote reservoirs, are adjustable with coilover springs; a brace between the shock towers increases rigidity. To see underneath GT-R is a delight, as the mechanical artwork could show in a gallery.



Speed and handling are good only if you can use them properly. To go fast you must also stop well. Fortunately the Ford people get this concept. Large Brembo brakes, 14.3-inch front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13-inch, four-piston calipers out back, ease inside 20-inch Pirelli tires (275/35 fronts and stout 305/30 rears).

Inside is a roll cage that covers a single Sparco race seat and five-point harness (a passenger seat can be bolted in place for VIP rides). The gas tank is swapped out for a racing-grade fuel cell. Whether the carbon fiber hood or the massive wheel arches are things you'll be able to buy remains to be seen. But you can bet the chassis bits and the sofa-table-sized rear spoiler, the low rear diffuser and carbon fiber front lip will be catalog items.

And the color? It is electrostatically painted just like a real car. Outside and in, like a racing machine.

"There's a hell of a lot of orange," Rog- man says, with a smile. "And what's not painted gets carbon fiber."

So GT-R is an amalgam, a boy racer's creation that helps to polish the luster of the Mustang anniversary. Though Ford executives use too many ifs and woulds and coulds in discussing whether this beast will see life, GT-R nudges your notions about the possibilities. This game of dangling jewelry is something we've come to expect at auto shows, but it somehow seems cruel at such a big birthday party.

How long will it take industrious aftermarket suppliers to jury-rig pieces that could resemble GT-R? Fast as you can utter four letters: SEMA. We only hope the Ford Racing Performance Parts people do the job right, first and fast.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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