Ford GT, Shelby GT350R Emphasize Performance: 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Jan 12, 2015 04:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Ford is going all out when it comes to performance, launching the all-new Ford GT supercar and track-ready Shelby GT350R Mustang today in Detroit.

The American carmaker, which plans to roll out 12 new high-performance vehicles by 2020, is adding to a lineup that also includes the F-150 Raptor and Focus RS.

What are they?

Going into production late next year, the Ford GT marks the 50th anniversary of when Ford GT race cars placed first, second and third at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the automaker said.

The aggressive, innovative GT350R Mustang follows in the footsteps of Ford's road-racing Shelby GT350 Competition model from 1965.

"The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability," Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development, said in a statement. "It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced."

What's new?

The new GT, a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive coupe, is built with carbon fiber and aluminum for a lighter ride and runs on a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine that generates more than 600 horsepower.

The Shelby GT350R gets carbon fiber wheels in the base trim, which makes Ford the first major carmaker to include the lightweight wheel option as standard. Its new 5.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V-8 engine marks another record--it's the first production V-8 from Ford to include the flat-plane crankshaft architecture seen in exotic European sports models. The V-8 gets more than 500 horsepower and more than 400 pound-feet of torque. 

Most fascinating features?

For the track-eager GT350R, a vital part of production was subtracting features rather than adding, a tactic to give it the most important feature of all: speed.

Ford engineers meticulously considered each component of the Shelby GT350R, axing parts if they didn't help the Mustang zip around the racetrack. After sacrifices that included the air conditioning, stereo system, rear seats, trunk floorboard, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator, the Shelby GT350R is more than 130 pounds lighter than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model.

Can I buy them?

The GT supercar will be available in "select global markets" after it starts production in late 2016, while the Shelby GT350R will go into limited production for availability in the United States and Canada later this year.

Auto World News is on the ground and covering the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Stay with us this week for up-to-the-minute coverage of all the action in Detroit, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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