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Practicing Voodoo with the 2016 Shelby GT350R

Ever since the 60s, despite sharing a similar platform, Mustangs scatter when the Shelby snakes show up. Why? Because Coyotes know better than to mess with the Voodoo of the 2016 Shelby GT350R.

Technically manufactured under the Ford Performance division, the GT350R is part of the third generation of the Shelby GT350 legacy. Ford produced this generation of the GT350 and GT350R from 2015 to 2020. Compared to the GT500, Ford Performance puts the focus on track performance with the GT350 series.

As for the GT350R, it takes track-tuning to the next level while only being available in a limited production run. This is the Shelby for serious drivers. If you want hardcore driving performance, the 2016 Shelby GT350R delivers it in spades.

At the core of its performance is Ford’s incredible Voodoo 5.2L, 315.1 cubic-inch V8 engine. It uses a flat-plane crankshaft design in a hand-built package. In 2016, the 5.2L Voodoo received a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award.

If you love a high-revving V8 engine, the Voodoo will rip all the way to the max redline of 8250 rpm. To paraphrase Doc Emmett Brown, when this baby hits 7,500 rpm, you’re going to see some serious shit. It’s when you reach peak horsepower output with 526 horses stampeding forward in time.

When it comes to torque, the naturally-aspirated Voodoo V8 creates 429 pound-feet at 4,750 rpm. It is basically a beefed up version of the Coyote engine found in the sixth-generation Ford Mustang 5.0. 

Inspired by Ferrari

Believe it or not, Ford purchased a Ferrari California to study while developing the Voodoo engine. The California is the only other front-engine-mount, flat-plane V8 production car in the world. Ford uses a unique firing order combined with the depth of the 32 valve design to achieve an extraordinary exhaust note. 

Of course, the real pleasure is driving the GT350R but understanding why the engine is so special is half the point. Ford modifies the powertrain of the R over the regular GT350 model with an upgraded timing chain and other enhancements.

Getting all that power to the rear tires is easy thanks to the wide 315/30R19 rear tires. Up front you have 305/30R19 tires to lead you in and out of corners. These tire sizes are exclusive to the Shelby GT350R from the factory. 

With all that rubber to grip the tar, the GT350R features exceptional handling. Not just for a modern muscle car either. Ford definitely spent a lot of time engineering the track-tuned suspension of the GT350R.

They also likely lost a few weeks worth of sleep while improving the overall aerodynamic design of the body. One of the most notable aerodynamic adjustments was lowering the hood around the engine. Both the GT350 and the R variation both had the option of MagneRide damping technology, a first from Ford.

There are also several driving modes available when behind the wheel of the GT350R. You will find the perfect setting for the driving conditions ahead with a basic understanding of the system. 

Available Shelby GT350R Driving Modes:

  • Normal – Default setting intended for normal driving, if there is such a thing in a Shelby
  • Sport – Improved steering response, medium suspension stiffness, more responsive acceleration, and opens the exhaust tone up a bit
  • Weather – Should you choose to drive when the sky falls, this mode provides less responsive acceleration while locking out launch control with increased stability control awareness
  • Track – Raises the limits before traction and stability control kick in, very stiff suspension, and opens the exhaust tone for some serious fun
  • Drag – Self-explanatory when you need a good launch, the rest is the way it should be, up to you via a 6-speed manual transmission

Driving purists love the Tremec 6-speed manual transmission in the Shelby GT350 and GT350R. There is no automatic option here, if you want to drive this Shelby, it’s time to learn the 3-pedal technique. You will be glad you did, especially in a GT350R.

Should you become a little too overzealous behind the wheel, there are big Brembo brakes to slow your roll. This advanced brake system even features semi-floating rotors. Brakes are your friend when you need them, it’s great to have ample stopping power in the GT350R.

Ford took several steps in an effort to keep the GT350 lightweight including Recaro seats. There is also a unique carbon fiber reinforced polymer radiator support system. It basically provides additional cooling support throughout the GT350.

2016 Shelby GT350R Dimensions:

Wheelbase – 107.1 inches or 2,720 mm

Length – 189.7 inches or 4,818 mm

Width – 81.9 inches or 2,080 mm including mirrors

Height – 53.6 inches or 1,361 mm

Curb Weight – 3,655 pounds or 3,703 pounds with the electronics package

There are even carbon fiber rims from Carbon Revolution on the Shelby GT350R from the factory to reduce weight. The GT350R is the first mass-production road car to ever feature stock carbon fiber rims. They weigh approximately 15 pounds lighter than aluminum alternatives.

Ford Performance also creates more downforce on the GT350R by fitting it with a large splitter and carbon fiber rear wing. This car likes to keep its feet on the ground, minimizing lift at all times.

Buyers even had the option to eliminate air conditioning, the stereo, and other items from the factory. In the end, you could reduce the weight by up to 130 pounds compared to standard GT350 models. The engine is really the only music any enthusiast needs anyway.

Appreciating This Modern Marvel

In 2016, Road & Track gave the Shelby GT350R their prestigious Performance Car of the Year award. Meanwhile, Car and Driver also named it one of their 10 Best Cars of 2016. People wanted to get their hands on a GT350R then, many are still waiting for their opportunity. 

The very first serial number of production for the GT350R, chassis #001, sold for $1 million at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2015. With a starting sticker price of $63,495 for the GT350R, the first one fetched a pretty penny for charity.

Demand is still in the clouds for this special pony car, perhaps it will always remain that way. Many owners are listing them well above what they originally paid for them. Although that rarely happens when purchasing a brand new ride, it is not all that uncommon for special editions.

If you want to find a 2016 Shelby GT350R for sale, they are available from time to time. Some list for around $100,000 while others hover right around $80,000. If you see one listed for much less than that, you should verify it is not a scam before making financial arrangements.

At the end of the day, this is the kind of Shelby you feel guilty about putting miles on. Yet, every mile provides one of the guiltiest pleasures you will ever experience. If that sounds like the kind of thing you are into, the 2016 Shelby GT350R is waiting for you.

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