The observe on the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, is a difficult and tight highway course. OK, shoehorning in a miniature Laguna Seca throughout the metropolis limits of the Detroit suburb is an unrealistic expectation. But the M1’s slim width, sharp turns, ridiculously tight hairpin, and quick, 1.5-mile structure appears ideally suited to one thing small and light-weight, like a Mazda MX-5 Miata or sizzling hatchback. Yet the M1 Concourse is the place I am getting my first stint behind the wheel of the 526-horsepower 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. It’s probably the most track-focused ‘Stang you should purchase right now. But is it an excessive amount of to deal with on a good observe like this?
Standout efficiencyOne of the GT350’s key upgrades for 2019 is a brand new set of tires: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubbers substitute the previous Pilot Super Sports. In addition to the additional grip afforded by these sticker footwear, side-to-side weight switch and general stability is improved due to recalibrated adaptive damper tuning, in addition to stiffer entrance and rear springs, and a thicker rear antiroll bar.Hitting your required turn-in, apex, and track-out factors is simple due to the GT350’s responsive and communicative steering, to not point out its exceptional chassis reflexes. Through M1’s tight hairpin flip, a contact of understeer exhibits up, nevertheless it’s simply corrected by dialing in additional throttle to get the rear finish to rotate.New Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires play a giant half within the GT350’s sharper reflexes.
Jon Wong/Roadshow
Down the half-mile straightaway, the GT350’s 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated, flat-plane-crank V8 actually will get to work, with 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque on faucet. This is similar engine as final yr’s GT350, and it is completely sensible, with robust, linear energy supply all the best way as much as the 8,250-rpm redline — and a wonderful accompanying soundtrack, besides. The Tremec six-speed handbook transmission provides exact motion, mixed with a properly weighted, easy-to-work clutch pedal.Ford says the coupe’s restyled entrance fascia and new rear spoiler supply huge aerodynamic enhancements, however I can not go quick sufficient on the M1 to actually say I discover them. Closer to the Shelby’s 180-mph prime velocity, nonetheless, I am certain these tweaks are useful.The sweeping-right Turn 6 requires a agency foot on the brake pedal, asking the six-piston entrance and four-piston rear Brembo calipers to gradual issues, which they do shortly and steadily. Well-spaced pedals permit for heel-and-toe shifting, and mixed with instantaneous throttle response, downshifting earlier than every flip is an absolute cinch. Suspension and tire upgrades make the Shelby GT350 a magician round a race observe.
Jon Wong/Roadshow
What impresses me most in regards to the GT350 is how forgiving it’s proper as much as the restrict. This is an extremely approachable automobile, but nonetheless sufficiently uncooked and oh-so enjoyable. Whether you solely have reasonable observe expertise otherwise you’re a full-fledged observe rat, you can drive the GT350 arduous and have a blast whereas doing so.Of course, I’m wondering how the GT350 will maintain up after longer observe periods. Will the practically 3,800-pound curb weight wreak havoc on the brakes? How will these new tires maintain up? M1 Concourse is a good place to expertise the brand new Shelby briefly, however for a automobile designed for observe use, I will be to see the way it handles a full day of enjoyable.Livable, however thirsty road automobileThe GT350 is not the proverbial one-trick pony. The Shelby is simply advantageous for daily-driving duties, its Normal drive mode providing affordable give from the adaptive dampers, lighter steering and fewer ferocity from the energetic exhaust. Yes, you possibly can really feel impacts from huge bumps, however driving the Mustang GT350 round metro Detroit is much from jarring.It sounds nice, however the flat-plane V8 is a thirsty, 526-horsepower satan.
Jon Wong/Roadshow
Unless you are knowledgeable driver, likelihood is blitzing round race tracks each day shouldn’t be within the playing cards and romping round on the road is. For that, I am blissful to report that the Shelby is simply advantageous for that, too. The Normal drive mode supplies affordable give from the adaptive dampers, lightens steering, and simmers down the tone from the energetic exhaust. Impacts from larger bumpers are most positively nonetheless felt within the cabin, however are removed from jarring. The solely small situation is that the large, aggressive 295/35R19 entrance and 305/35R19 rear Michelin tires are liable to tramlining on rutted Michigan roads.The largest deterrent to driving considered one of these daily is gas economic system; the EPA estimates the 2019 Shelby GT350 will return 14 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 21 mpg freeway. Those numbers are low sufficient to warrant a $1,300 fuel guzzler tax, too.Supportive and cozy Recaro race seats come customary within the GT350.
Jon Wong/Roadshow
Simple and purposeful cabinInfacet, the 2019 GT350 is just about the identical as its predecessor. Outside of latest aluminum sprint trim and suede door panel inserts, you may discover acquainted Mustang environment. Standard Recaro entrance race seats are cozy and maintain passengers snuggly in place, and the tight backseat is greatest used for less than young children. Build high quality is on par with the Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers of the world — in different phrases, good however not nice — and the trunk provides respectable cargo-carrying capability, with 13.5 cubic toes of area on supply. On the tech entrance, the GT350 makes use of Ford’s tried-and-true Sync 3 interface, housed on an 8-inch touchscreen. A nine-speaker audio system, satellite tv for pc radio, Wi-Fi hotspot, and each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come customary. Navigation with real-time visitors and a brand new 12-speaker B&O sound setup are non-compulsory. For security, a rearview digital camera is customary, whereas accessible options are restricted to blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.The Mustang to get when you’ll be heading to the observe usually.
Jon Wong/Roadshow
An expensive MustangThe 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is on sale now with a base worth of $59,140, not together with $1,095 for vacation spot or the $1,300 fuel guzzler tax. That places it in an attention-grabbing spot. It’s barely extra inexpensive than the 650-horsepower Chevy Camaro ZL1, which begins at $62,000. But tack on the non-compulsory, $7,500 1LE Track Performance Package and the Camaro will get rather more costly. You get much more energy, however you pay to get the Camaro’s sharper reflexes.On the opposite hand, subsequent to a $69,150 BMW M4, the Shelby appears to be like like a very good worth — particularly for a coupe that feels so particular pushed arduous on a observe. If it is the best-handling Mustang you are after, the 2019 Shelby GT350 is certainly the one to get.

Shop Amazon