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The Racing Special: Shelby Mustang GT350 & the Detroit Grand Prix

Does anyone who has any interest in performance vehicles not want to learn more about the  2019 Shelby GT350 Mustang? Does anyone who has any interest in NASCAR or IndyCar not want to learn more about Team Penske, the team extraordinaire?  There’s more right here.
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The 2019 Shelby GT350 Mustang features a 5.2-liter, DOHC V8 with a die cast aluminum block and head, forged aluminum pistons, forged micro-alloy steel connecting rods, and a forged steel flat-plane crankshaft. The engine is mated to a Tremec TR-3160. And the normally aspirated engine produces 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. According to Carl Widmann, chief engineer at Ford Performance, the operation within the auto company that makes things like Mustangs that produce a full-throated rumble and even pickup trucks (i.e., the Raptor) that leave full-on street racers in the dust, that engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine—ever. (And while that engine will be used for the forthcoming 2020 Shelby GT500, in that application it will be supercharged.)

2019 Shelby GT350

(Mustang images: Ford)

The GT350 development team worked with Michelin on the development of Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (295/35 front; 305/35 rear) specifically for the car. And it turned out that this led the team to have to work on the suspension setup in order to take full advantage of those tires. (The front suspension is a double-ball-joint MacPherson strut and tubular stabilizer bar with a MagneRide damping system; the rear is an integral-link independent with coil springs, tubular stabilizer bar with MagneRide damping.)

2019 Shelby GT350

On the rear deck of the vehicle is a rear spoiler. In the front, there is a grille closeout. Both were developed for keeping the car planted as it carves through turns on the track.

2019 Shelby GT350

Widmann, along with a Velocity Blue Shelby GT350, are in the studio for this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” as he describes the development of that car, as well as gives some insights into the GT500. Widmann talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Todd Lassa of Automobile Magazine, and me.

The, for the second half of the show, rather that talking about the news of the week, we are joined by Bud Denker, Executive Vice President of Penske Performance, Inc. and Penske Automotive Group, and President of Penske Corporation.


(Image: Detroit Grand Prix)

Denker talks about Penske’s extensive involvement in motor sports (i.e., NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, and Supercar), which is nothing short of astonishing, given the number of major wins Team Penske has achieved over its 53 years, record-setting achievements that are not likely ever to be bested.

In addition to which, Denker is chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix, which is being held May 31 to June 2, and he has some fascinating insights into what goes into creating a race on Detroit’s Belle Isle.

And you can see it all here.


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