|Shelby GT500KR Press Releases
Long live the King! The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, "King of the Road" assumes the throne, taking its rightful place as the ultimate American muscle car.
The GT500KR builds on the already impressive stats of the Shelby GT500, with 40 more horsepower, an additional 30 foot-pounds of torque and an array of chassis, aero and weight-reduction measures to offer world-class performance. Engineered by Ford SVT with final assembly by Shelby Automobiles, it blends track learnings from the Ford Racing Mustang FR500C and the ingenuity of Carroll Shelby to deliver the ultimate in Mustang performance.
"Every new Shelby Mustang renews my energy and passion for performance," said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby Automobiles. "I'm just as excited about the 2008 KR as I was when I developed the first one. The team has done a great job with this car. It is this is truly the best Shelby Mustang we've ever built…so far."
The Shelby GT500KR is the latest in a royal lineage that spans more than 40 years, beginning with the 1965 Shelby GT350 and including the original 1968 Shelby GT500KR that provided the inspiration. Carroll Shelby has played an active role in the development of every one.
"When the names Mustang and Shelby come together, the results are never anything less than amazing," said Robert Parker, Ford Car Marketing manager. "Mustang has earned an endearing place in America's hearts, topping the sports car segment for 22 straight years. The GT500KR is sure to get those hearts pumping even faster."
-Delivering the Ultimate in Mustang Performance
Just like its 1968 namesake, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR builds on the strong foundation of the Shelby GT500. Ford and Shelby designers collaborated to channel the classic KR design cues and finesse them into the iconic lines of the new Mustang. Most noticeable are the modern interpretation of the distinctive, sculpted KR hood and classic Le Mans-style striping.
The development team spent countless hours designing a car that pays homage to the 1968 "King of the Road," but this thoroughbred is more than just a pretty face. The GT500KR is inspired by Ford Racing's experience on the race track and finessed with the trademark SVT engineering and Shelby Automobiles' proven delivery of balanced performance production for the street. Its chassis incorporates unique suspension components developed especially for the KR.
The suspension's stiffness has been enhanced with wheel rates 17 percent higher in the front and 7 percent higher in the rear. Every other element of the chassis system - such as sway bars and shock absorbers - has been tuned especially to improve King of the Road's handling.
The new suspension was tuned to work with the Goodyear high-performance, P255/45Z18 front and P285/40ZR18 rear tires, developed specifically for the KR, with a compound that is exclusive to North America. The stickier tires help the short 3.73:1 rear gear (compared to the GT500's 3.31:1 rear gear) send maximum horsepower to the road and are an important component in the overall handling balance.
"The KR is much more than just a great straight-line performer. It's the complete package - handling, power and performance," said Jamal Hameedi, chief program engineer at Ford SVT. "The team put the GT500KR through rigorous testing and have witnessed slalom runs with sustained lateral acceleration of 1.0g on the skidpad. Those are world-class numbers."
The GT500KR doesn't just go better, it stops better. The new tires work with a recalibrated anti-lock braking system (ABS) that results in improved stopping distances 6 feet shorter from 60 to 0 than the stock GT500. The ABS system has been tuned to be unobtrusive during spirited driving. Similar honing was undertaken with the vehicle's traction-control system to optimize acceleration
The GT500KR's impeccable balance of handling and performance is the result of a holistic approach to the development, looking at the total vehicle with chassis and powertrain engineers working together to optimize all vehicle attributes.
For example, a new front splitter and revised rear spoiler aid in aerodynamic improvements, adding downforce over the front axle and moving the center of aero pressure forward in the vehicle to improve high-speed balance and stable, predictable braking character. The ride height has been lowered to the optimum setting for on-the-limit handling, lowering the front by 20 mm and the rear by 15 mm.
"The KR is more responsive and has more body control," said Gary Davis, vice president of production for Shelby Automobiles. "It delivers even more racing feel than a stock GT500. Yet it's still extremely comfortable and doesn't beat you up like some performance cars. We've been able to increase handling substantially without giving up a lot in ride comfort."
-GT500KR 5.4-liter V-8 Receives the Royal Treatment
The 2008 "King of the Road" packs a walloping dose of Ford performance under a sculpted carbon fiber hood. The Ford SVT-engineered 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 is enhanced with a series of Ford Racing-inspired upgrades that boosts horsepower to an estimated 540 and torque to 510 lb.-ft.
The added power is delivered courtesy of a revised ignition and throttle calibration and a cold air intake system that replaces the stock unit.
The unique carbon fiber hood, secured by a pair of stainless steel, twist-down hood pins, serves to relieve high-speed underhood pressure, move air from the front intake and engine compartment to the rear extractors and channel supplemental fresh air into the new cold air intake that feeds KR's massive V-8.
The Shelby GT500KR cold air intake seal was designed with the new hood to prevent hot engine compartment air from reaching the air intake. This channels ambient air to feed the supercharged intake for optimal combustion efficiency for horsepower and torque.
Calibration modifications include advancing the ignition timing as well as re-mapping the electronic throttle settings to provide quicker throttle response for better off-line and mid-range acceleration. Increased throttle response is met with a sharper roar from the Ford Racing-inspired exhaust system.
"Throttle response has been dramatically improved," said Hameedi. "The KR launches with authority and provides power on demand - throughout the entire power band."
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission. Gear selection is courtesy of an all-new Ford Racing short-throw shifter. Topped with a white ball, the new shifter throws are 25 percent shorter than the unit on the GT500 providing for crisper, quicker shifts.
Inspired by Ford Racing Mustang FR500C motorsport experience, the Shelby GT500KR has been fitted with an elevated axle vent reservoir to prevent axle fluid expulsion during sustained periods of performance driving or track-day use.
-A Legend in the Making
Each Shelby GT500KR begins life as a GT500, built at AutoAlliance International Inc., in Flat Rock, Mich. From there, the cars are shipped to Shelby Automobile's facility in Las Vegas.
"We are so proud of the Ford and Shelby teams coming together and working tirelessly for the last year to bring you the Ford Shelby GT500KRs with the specially engineered chassis, powertrain and exhaust components along with the unique carbon-fiber hood and the new short-throw shifter," said Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles, Inc. "Every GT500KR will be hand customized and delivered to each customer in an enclosed transporter, just like the Ford GT."
Each 2008 GT500KR model is identified by a special 40th Anniversary badge on the fenders and grille, distinctive body colored mirror caps and Shelby lettering stretching across the front of the hood and along the rear portion of the deck lid. A special Shelby Automobiles, Inc., Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tag is affixed inside each vehicle's engine compartment.
Each new GT500KR also will be entered into the official Shelby Registry.
The all-leather interior features Carroll Shelby signature embroidered headrests and an official Shelby CSM 40th Anniversary GT500KR dash plate mounted at the top of the center stack.
Other standard equipment includes HID headlamps, an interior ambient lighting package, wrapped and stitched instrument panel, center console and armrests, as well as an electrochromic rearview mirror. Optional equipment includes a Shaker 1000 audio system, DVD navigation system and SIRIUS satellite radio.
The GT500KR or "King of the Road" Mustang is the fourth limited-edition Mustang that Shelby Automobiles and Ford have brought to market since resuming their collaboration in 2001. The public will get its first taste of the GT500KR in late May, when selected dealers will offer the latest Shelby Mustang in a limited edition of 1,000 units for 2008. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the Mustang GT500KR is $79,995, including destination and delivery charges.
Special GT500KR Carbon Fiber Hood
The new 2008 Shelby GT500KR is a performance car that knows how to manage pressure, thanks to carbon fiber components that do more than just look fast.
The new "King of the Road" features the first carbon fiber hood for Ford or Shelby. The hood is a sculpted work of art, with the right science under its skin to deliver real performance impact.
"This is our first-ever production application of carbon fiber, and it is fitting that we developed it with Shelby Automobiles," said Ford SVT chief program engineer Jamal Hameedi. "It's there purely for performance. It brings important aerodynamic and weight-reduction benefits that translate into enhanced performance for our new King of the Road."
-Art and Science of Performance
Delivering more power and performance in the new KR meant a more sophisticated approach to managing underhood aero pressure, especially at high speeds. The new carbon fiber hood incorporates aggressive vents in its leading edge and large rear surface ducts on each side - cues that make the performance pedigree of this latest Ford-Shelby collaboration immediately clear.
But it's the underside of the hood where the really magic happens. Carbon fiber, cured at high temperature in an autoclave, allowed Ford SVT and Shelby engineers to create a complex aerodynamic pressure management system.
This architecture creates two pressure zones under the hood - a high-pressure zone for fresh air intake for combustion and a low-pressure zone that expels hot engine compartment air.
Intake air for the supercharger is fed via the leading-edge intake vents. Then the underhood ducting routes it directly into a high-pressure subcompartment at the left-front corner of the engine compartment. Inside the subcompartment, separated from the rest of the underhood area by a robust rubber sealing system, is a large, conical, performance intake filter for the cool, fresh intake air.
The aerodynamic properties of the new hood were perfected in the wind tunnel after extensive computer modeling using computational fluid dynamics.
The hood is locked in place - and its complex aero performance is ensured - by artful stainless steel hood pins that lock the front corners into place. Even the hood pin shape is aerodynamically honed for reduced drag.
The rest of the underhood is a low-pressure zone, thanks to the large anterior ducts that effectively suck hot air out of the engine compartment at speed. This optimizes the effectiveness of the engine cooling systems, which are critical to performance.
Having large louvered ducts on the top of the hood requires careful engineering to protect the engine and underhood components - especially electronics - from water.
Water is indirectly routed downward through underhood ducting to drains that have been carefully placed. Hot engine compartment air is pushed up through 10 smaller underhood vents and out through the larger exterior vents. The unique water management system and the use of carbon fiber for the hood eliminate the likelihood of corrosion - a typical issue for collectors.
"This hood architecture helps the new KR deliver its 40-horsepower increase without sacrificing refinement and practicality for street use," Hameedi said.
Special Gift in the Trunk
Customers who pick up the new 2008 Shelby GT500KR will find a little white box inside the truck - a little present from Ford SVT, Ford Racing and Shelby Automobiles just for the performance driver.
What's inside? A Ford Racing front brake ducting kit - one of many GT500KR race-inspired touches.
"The first front brake ducts on a Mustang appeared on the legendary GT350 and they were fully functional," said Gary Patterson, Shelby Automobiles chief test driver. "Enthusiasts today understand their value, which is why we include a set with every Ford Shelby Mustang. This car is born to run, so we made it easy for drivers to get the most out of their cars on the road course."
The brake ducting kit is essential for serious performance driving. The kit includes purposeful orange-ribbed duct tubes that direct additional cooling air to the front brakes. The kit has been engineered specifically for the GT500KR. The tubes attach with bolt-on clamps to round brushed stainless ducts integrated into the lower grille.
"The orange peeking out from behind the lower duct rings is a hint to the competition that GT500KR is ready for performance applications," said Kerry Baldori, SVT chief vehicle engineer. "We deliver the additional capability as a kit because we know that not every GT500KR will be used for this type of aggressive driving, but it's ready."
Easy-to-install backing plates for the front brake discs ensure that the flow of cooling air is directed to the front discs.
King of the Road Rumble
As the new 2008 Shelby GT500KR makes its debut as the new King of the Road, Ford SVT Chief Vehicle Engineer Kerry Baldori and Shelby Automobiles team members find it difficult to pinpoint their favorite achievement.
Forty more horsepower topping out at 540 hp? The launch feel of 510 lb.-ft. of torque? Confident, poised and predictable handling on the street or at speed? Ford's first carbon-fiber hood? The fastest production Mustang ever?
Turn the key and the new KR growls to life with the answer - an enthralling, emphatic rumble and crackle that is the unmistakable signature of the latest in Mustang performance.
"This sound is so addictive," says Baldori. "You know that something special is coming when you hear it."
Deep and purposeful, the new exhaust note is the product of its more powerful, 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 and an all-new GT500KR stainless steel exhaust system. The new exhaust features smaller, cylindrical resonators, replacing the previous model's larger, more traditionally shaped resonators.
The new system contributes to a weight reduction of more than 20 pounds and delivers additional reductions in back pressure that help to contribute to improved performance levels.
"Hearing the new KR just gets your blood flowing," says Gary Davis, Shelby Automobiles vice president of production. "It's a rumble that true enthusiasts will love and competitors will dread."
Ever the engineer, Baldori explains that the exhaust note features generous portions of fourth-order sounds for its deep resonance and the crackle of an engine with a true performance edge.
"Don't you love it?" Baldori asks with a smile that hints at the appeal of the latest Ford SVT product, another successful collaboration with Shelby Automobiles harkening back to the original GT500KR 40 years ago.
GT500KR Aero Package Details
For performance enthusiasts, the new 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR's driving dynamics should be as big of an eye-opener as its acceleration, torque, horsepower and stopping performance.
The new model features an array of enhancements designed to give it the same poised and predictable handling at 120 mph as it has at 60 mph, according to the performance engineering team at Ford SVT in collaboration with Shelby Automobiles. The team has created the fastest production Mustang ever. This Mustang can take curves at speed.
The new GT500KR's handling is the result of a clever combination of chassis engineering and aerodynamic honing, proven by its 1.0g lateral acceleration skidpad capability.
"The new GT500KR handling story is all about balance," said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford SVT.
"That's the big result with new GT500KR dynamically," agrees Gary Patterson, Shelby Automobiles chief test driver. "Its balance makes this car very confident and predictable to drive, even on the limit."
Just as on the race track, aerodynamics has played a major role in shaping the dynamic capabilities of the 2008 GT500KR.
"Our objective was to build on the GT500 to give the new model more dynamic balance, reflecting its higher power output," said John Pfeiffer, SVT product design engineering specialist. "We focused our efforts on creating even downforce levels front and rear. That meant finding more frontal downforce than the previous model."
Extensive engineering work was devoted to deliver more front downforce, starting with the most obvious aerodynamic feature on the new car - its slick carbon-fiber front splitter.
The new splitter is an all-new profile, more aggressive than that of the GT500. It is deeper and consistently full in shape, mirroring the shape of the leading edge of the hood and bumper above it for design coherence. Its lateral edges, which kick up small aero wall shapes at the wheel arches, are a clear statement of performance intent.
The thinner splitter aids with approach angle clearance, but downforce is its primary role helping achieve a 31 percent improvement.
The splitter structure creates a flat floor shape under the front portion of the bumper shape to the leading edge of the front wheels. Enclosing this area provides a significant downforce enhancement.
The splitter underside also incorporates an integral brake cooling feature, with molded shapes inspired by NACA ducts.
At the rear, the new GT500KR has a less prominent spoiler, a design to balance front-to-rear downforce variances. That's an important part of its balance and poise at speed.
"You have to experience the new KR at speed in a curve to feel the difference," Pfeiffer said. "It has an absolutely minimal aero moment of just 54 lb.-ft. at 120 mph, a 92 percent improvement versus the GT500. That is central to its confident handling ability. Because it's just as happy at 120 as it is at 60, the GT500KR is a very special performance car."
-‘Only' 40 More Horsepower?
KR's slick new aero has another special impact on performance feel.
"If you drive the GT500 and new KR back to back, you might accuse Ford SVT and Shelby of sandbagging because the car feels like it has more than 40 extra horsepower," says Patterson.
"That's an effect of the aerodynamics," says Pfeiffer. "Our computer model predicts a four-tenths-of-a-second zero-to-150 acceleration effect from the aero alone. That makes the horsepower go farther."
Chassis improvements engineered by Ford SVT and Shelby Automobiles complement the aero enhancements - and not every component is bigger for better performance. In fact, the new car is 22 pounds lighter than the current GT500.
"We reduced the diameter of the rear sway bar for just the right grip under power coming out of a corner," said Kerry Baldori, SVT chief vehicle engineer. "That's just one example of the amount of tuning that went into engineering the KR chassis."
That tuning and the weight reduction are immediately obvious in the GT500KR's light and responsive steering. Impressive given the aggressive size and stickiness of new 18-inch Goodyear tires - 255/45 series in front, 285/40 at the rear - mounted on distinctive, forged and polished wheels.
Powertrain calibration also makes GT500KR ‘street friendly' despite its impressive performance credentials. It has a gentle, balanced feel at low speed when cruising around town and an easier launch feel.
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