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Ford Says the Mustang Shelby GT350R Is Better than the Porsche 911 GT3

"Why would I choose a Shelby GT350R over a Porsche 911 GT3?" I asked. The answer came without the faintest trace of hesitation - "'Cause it's better!" This is how I started my conversation with Dave Pericak, Ford Mustang Chief Engineer, who's recently been tasked with steering Ford Performance, the Blue Oval's new global go-fast division.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R vs Porsche 911 GT3 1 photo
We were sitting inside the track-trained pony on the Detroit floor and the Porsche question just came natural. After all, Dave did say they used the 911 as a benchmark when developing the standard Mustang, so he obviously admitted they took more than one spin in the GT3 while developing the GT350 and the track-happy-but-still-street-legal GT350R.

As it happened during the 2015 Mustang talk we had last year, Dave insisted on the fact that while Ford did use Zuffenhausen's machines as a reference, they are not trying to be like the Germans, or to imitate the Camaro Z28, for instance. The Ford guys played the comparo game in order to know where they were standing. Well, it's a bit early to tell right now, but it looks like they're in a pretty good position.

I had another question that came just as natural and it all had to do with Lucifer's racetrack, but Dave wouldn't comment on whether the Mustang Shelby GT350R would beat the 911 GT3 on the Nurburgring or not.

The man in charge of fast Fords did explain the thing will run significantly faster than the Boss 302 Laguna Seca. While I had to admire his dedication to the company - he owns a Laguna Seca, so he basically trolled his ride there - I can't exactly allow myself to be stunned by the information. Heck, everybody expected that to happen with the new independent rear suspension of the 2015 Mustang.

Still, the Mustang Shelby GT350R and the 911 GT3 are much, much closer to each other than it might seem.Here's the objective stuff:
Ford hasn't released the final weight and muscle figures, but both cars have approximately the same power to weight ratio.

Both are happy to battle it out on the track, but will still be able to get there and back on their own.

Both use carbon-ceramic brakes, even though the Ford only turns to these for the front axle.

Both turn to massive front splitters and just as hefty rear wings in order to keep you on track in the triple-digit speed zone.

Still, while Porsche offers its GT3 in PDK-only form, explaining a manual would slow many drivers down, Ford delivers the GT350R with a stick. Period.

By the way, I wanted to ask Dave about what a double-clutch could do for their track-savvy Mustang later in the discussion, but his assistant took him away from me. No, really, she did.The... less objective bits
Both cars have horses on their emblems. What? You can't deny it.

Last year saw Porsche, as well as Ford doing boo-boos on the 'Ring while testing their cars. OK, the Shelby GT350R prototype spun (read: it didn't have an accident) and the 911 prototype that actually crashed was a test car for the Turbo facelift, not the current GT3, but the idea is that their engineers are equally mad. Mad good, that is.

Yes, I am aware of the fact that Porsche people will be Porsche people and Mustang folks will be Mustang folks. And yes, I know that Porsche has the GT3 RS in the pipeline. However, when you're out there flying from one vibrator to another, it doesn't matter which car has the rear-wheel steering and which rides on carbon fiber wheels or that the two will never share the same price league. All that counts is who sees whom in the rear-view mirror.

PS: the full interview with Dave Pericak, which covers goodies from the entire Ford Performance division, will be published soon.

 
 
 
 
 

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