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