By on October 13, 2015

Shelby® GT350R Mustang at Grattan Raceway

Have you ever heard of the word anticipointment? It’s one of those Urban Dictionary words that seem to be all the rage with the kids nowadays. Basically, it means that you look forward to something with great anticipation, but the experience ends up being incredibly disappointing.

Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt after attending the GT350 Track Tour at Sebring International Raceway. Let me count all the ways that this event wasn’t awesome.

First of all, I do want to compliment Ford for their intent with this event. The GT350 Track Tour is a combination press event/owner event, which means that GT500 and Boss 302 owners were invited to drive the car side-by-side with members of the press. As a Boss 302 owner and a sometimes auto writer, I qualified in multiple ways. The curious nature of this setup turned out to cause problems for me later in the day, but we’ll get to that.

Jim Owens, VP at Ford Performance, kicked off the day with a rousing welcome to all of the attendees, some of whom really stepped up their driving game by wearing their Piloti shoes. He then introduced one of my personal driving heroes, Cindi Lux, who is the chief instructor at the Ford Racing School at Miller Motorsports Park. She let us know that she had brought several of her fine instructors with her to be coaching us, which I was glad to hear based on my outstanding experiences with both the Boss Track Attack and the ST Octane Academy. However, she followed up that good news with the Disappointment Number One: We would not be driving the full course.

Uh, come again?

Sebring_International_Raceway.svg

See that little gray line by Turn Three? We were going to be coming onto course on Turn Twelve, turning right on Turn Thirteen, and then turning right again at that little gray line, which basically cut off everything that makes Sebring, well, Sebring. 

Oh, and we’d only be getting three laps behind the wheel. That was Disappointment Number Two.

sebring 026I was assigned to the Blue group, which meant that I was going to be the last of the four groups to actually drive the cars. Before my drive, I was rotated through three stations where I heard the same facts about the Shelby GT350 and GT350R three times.

Here are the things Ford really, really wants you to know about the Shelby GT350 (I wrote them down, just in case hearing it in triplicate wasn’t enough):

  • The motor generates 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque.
  • That motor? It’s a 5.2 liter, flat-crank V8.
  • The aero on the GT350R means that the R will generate more downforce than a 991 GT3.
  • The GT350 is entirely different from the A pillar forward. It doesn’t share anything with the GT.
  • The R has carbon fiber wheels weighing 18 pounds, a first for a production vehicle. I picked one up. It was light.
  • Nearly everything on the GT350 is a custom-built, bespoke part. There’s nothing “off-the-shelf.” Even the Michelin tires have a custom tread pattern. The seats, shifter, and steering wheel are all GT350 specific. Even the chrome surfaces have been dulled for track driving.
  • The MagneRide suspension is also customized. It can detect variations in pavement in less than seven milliseconds, and can communicate it to the rest of the vehicle just as quickly.

sebring-020

This is a picture of a flat crank, in case you’ve never seen one.

Got all that? Good, because it’s very important. Now, this next thing I’m going to show you was in no way disappointing.

sebring 044

Stealth Gray Focus RS. The desire is strong. In fact, I’d be much more interested in a Focus RS Track Tour. Maybe as a Fiesta ST owner I’ll get an invite to one. In fact, I mostly tuned out from the second reading of the list of GT350 features so I could drool over the RS. I’ve yet to see a color that doesn’t suit it.

Okay, well, after all of that and much standing around talking to one of the event girls (she was very interested in becoming a race car driver, so I advised she get a comp license), it was finally time to drive the cars. Yes, I had waited roughly three hours to drive the car, but I was sure that it was all going to be worth it. I grabbed my helmet and my Sony Action Cam (now available at clearance prices at Best Buy) and I headed over to be fitted for my HANS device.

Here’s my video from my drive:

Ha. Were you tricked? Because that was Disappointment Number Three. No video was allowed to be recorded on the drive for, um, “safety reasons.” However, that didn’t prevent Ford from putting their own GoPros inside the car…gaahhhh. So my camera is unsafe, but theirs? TOTALLY SAFE. Maybe they were afraid that my video would look something like, well, this Lime Rock video from my bestie Matt Farah?

My favorite Farah Quote: “That’s how short this video is. And I’m sorry for that.”

So, in case you’re somewhere where circumstance prevents you from listening to my whiny voice and wind noise, let me sum up what I said on that video: My drive was Disappointment Number Four.

I was lucky enough to drive an “R” — and a yellow one, no less. My instructor, Stan, was a super cool guy and a fine driver. He allowed me to do a little more shifting than they were supposed to (I went down to second in the slower turns and up to fifth in the exit of turn six into turn seven), and he didn’t make me stick to the event-mandated 100 mph limit. Unfortunately, even with allowing about thirty seconds between the my entry and the car ahead of me, I caught up in less than one lap. They were only allowing passing in turn six, so I had to chill behind the driver ahead of me for half a lap until Stan was able to radio for a point-by. I passed quickly and easily in turn six and caught the car ahead of that before the end of my second lap. So, I chilled behind him until turn six again, at which point I put the motherflippin’ hammer down all the way into the hairpin of turn seven. Yes! Finally, some clear track! I roared through turns eight and nine, revving the engine to the limiter in third gear …

And then my session was over.

“Ahhhh! I need another lap!” I shouted. I was not granted another lap.

In summary, I got about three or four fast turns out of three laps and spent a lot of time waiting to pass at about 50 mph. That being said; even in less than ideal traffic conditions, it’s impossible not to be impressed by that motor. It just never stops revving. Like, never. My natural inclination was to shift at 7,000 rpm, but that’s not a winning strategy in the GT350R. The motor sings its happiest when you let it go all the way to redline. It’s a feeling and a sound that’s unlike anything else on the market — at any price.

Likewise, the lateral grip is just bananas and predictable as well. I never really had the chance to go full tilt into a corner, but I also never felt like I was in danger of losing grip. The accelerometer read 1.29 G to the left and 1.41 to the right. My Boss has never seen anything like that. The best I’ve ever pulled is slightly over 1 G. In comparison, the 991 GT3 I drove at Atlanta Motorsports Park was peaking at just over 1.5 G. It’s entirely possible that with more speed and more downforce, the Shelby could have similar lateral grip.

That’s it. I can’t tell you about the glorious MagneRide suspension. I can’t tell you about the greatness of the brakes. I can’t tell you much of anything other than what it’s like to be entirely frustrated behind the wheel of this spectacular machine.

I will be blunt here: Anybody who writes a glowing review of this car, based on the drive that Ford provided at Sebring, should never be allowed to pen another syllable about cars. If a person were to write such a piece, the reader can only draw one of two conclusions:

  1. The author is desperately shilling in hopes of being invited back to another event in the future
  2. The author cannot drive his way out of a paper bag, and would have been similarly impressed by a base V-6 car with Shelby badging

In fact, feel free to draw both of those conclusions. Based on the “OMG WOW” conversations I heard around the paddock, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to read your share of these reviews in the next several days. But when they tell you how they pushed it to the limit at Sebring, just go ahead and click that little X in the upper right hand corner of your browser.

Ford heavyweights, if you’re reading, I want you to pay attention to this: I am a bonafide fucking Ford fanboy. I have bought three new Fords in the last three years. I wanted to write a glowing, slobbering review of the GT350R. I paid for my own airfare, my own hotel, and my own rental car just so I could drive your masterpiece at Sebring. I didn’t get to do that. Therefore, the best grade I can give the Shelby GT350, as a Boss 302 and Fiesta ST owner, is an “incomplete.”

Send us a press car. Let me drive it back-to-back with my Boss. Then I’ll be able to give you a real review. Until then, our readers and I are left wanting. And your car deserves much better.

sebring 019

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

93 Comments on “2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Review: Seems Awesome, But We Really Have No Idea...”


  • avatar
    BDT

    Thanks for the honest review without the normal pandering. I’ll look forward to a full write-up when the opportunity arises. I’m still jealous as all get out that you got to drive it at all.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The Focus is really an ugly vehicle, and overpriced, as well (a Golf R is a much more sophisticated, attractive (inside and out), refined and better finished tool).

    • 0 avatar
      BDT

      I didn’t catch your review and test drive of the Focus RS. Link, please.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      And soon you can get one dirt cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I should hasten to add that Bark deserves kudos for being honest and calling Ford out for overhyping & thus far underdelivering on the GT350R.

      Based on Ford’s hype of the Fart Crank Plane motor, bespoke parts, and other such things, one would think the GT350R is the 2nd Coming of the Shelby AC Cobra FFS.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The under delivered on the event, not the car.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I thought marketing was supposed to overhype. Or are you that guy that complains at the counter of Burger King, your double cheeseburger is no relation to the one pictured all over the store?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          No national burger place has anything remotely resembling what I know as “beef.” McDonald’s beef patties are an abomination, and Burger King’s are full of fake smoke flavoring (a chemical additive from the same company in Illinois that makes additives for such things as Cinnabon and many, many other edible, food-like substances).

          What they do have is grey-ish, flavorless, gristly, disgusting, flat discs of edible meat-like substances (thanks Carghill, Sysco, etc.).

          Even the “boutique” burger places such as Five Guys & Bagger Dave’s are meh.

          In-N-Out is the best, least overhyped regional (not national) burger place.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I couple weeks ago I went out to a dairy farm in Armada. That’s where the good beef can be found.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Several really good places on this page:

            http://www.eatwild.com/products/michigan.html

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            DW, go try Smash Burger. It’s good, and you have them there in Det.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There are a lot of farms in northern Macomb county that have good products, but aren’t on that page. Still, it’s a pretty good list.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I went to smashburger in Troy, and it was fair, but not great. Maybe it’s a bad franchise.

            See my list down below for my favorite burgers, with Santa Fe Bite havng the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’m not even a green chile crazy). The quality of the hamburger beef was amazing.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            So it’s true; that place in Illinois must be where Clark Griswold, food-additive designer, used to work.

          • 0 avatar

            There are times when I’m glad that I keep a kosher diet. When I eat a burger out, I get one from Kravings, on Greenfield near 696. Pure beef patty and Darrell, the cook, will grill mine rare, the way meat was intended to be consumed.

            A lot of restaurants, for various reasons, are afraid of cooking anything less well done than medium rare.

            Kravings also has a couple of sushi chefs. It’s good but for what a serving of sushi costs, I can buy a half pound of lox. Sushi seems to me to be about the most expensive way to eat rice and fish that there is.

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      I feel the same way about you, DeadWeight.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Looks are subjective. I kinda like the look of the Focus. I agree they are a little spendy but in typical TTAC fashion I am a committed used only prospect so the MSRP means little to me.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Is there anything on earth that brings you happiness besides whining, complaining and tearing things down?

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      Most of what you said about aesthetics, is subjective. The R being more sophisticated, how? Do tell, and if it’s because of its DSG, that is also a matter of taste. The RS is made in Duetchland btw, and the difference between US built foci vs Euro is about the same between a Mexican built GTI and German built R; noticeable.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Could the restrictions be in part due to the time a journalist crashed a new Camaro earlier this year?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t THINK my good friend Patrick’s misadventures at Belle Isle had anything to do with it. I don’t know what Ford was thinking, honestly.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        You said other GT500 and Boss owners were invited? I’m fairly certain they dumbed down the event to account for a variety of skill levels. Boss guys might have some honest track time under their ass but your typical GT500 owner is,mostly adept at the wax on/ wax off maneuver and adriotly backing into a parking space at the local C&C and occasionally scaring the crap out of themselves by hitting 99 mph in a 5th gear pull on the highway.

        There are some GT500 guys who track their cars, there are probably 5 times as many that drag their cars and 100 times as many that own a killer set of polishing rags to protect their investment.

        This just seems like a prudent move on Ford’s part to protect the gold chain set and toss them a bone for the gouging they took at the dealer.

        • 0 avatar

          There’s truth to that, but there weren’t many GT500 owners there. I only saw one in the parking lot. Mostly Boss 302s. That being said, Ford could have solved this problem with a one question survey:

          1) Do you have track experience?

          The No respondents go in one group, The Yes in another.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Has Stealth Grey got some purple in it? On my monitor it looks like a purple popsicle dipped in cement.

  • avatar
    ferdburful

    Seems like a whole lot of whining. I understand you didn’t have enough time driving the car to really provide a review. What did you expect out of this event? I really like the Focus RS – especially that color.

    • 0 avatar

      I expected to be given an opportunity to review the car. That’s the point of the event.

      Keep in mind, this wasn’t your typical manufacturer four-star boondoggle. I paid for everything involved with this.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “I expected to be given an opportunity to review the car. That’s the point of the event.”

        Did you really though? Is it really the point?

        I thought, from being waaaaaay outside (as in, I just read magazines and blogs) it’s pretty well understood that these events are the “first drives” and let you know “hey it sounds/feels/steers/accelerates pretty well” but “we’ll have to wait for a full instrumented test to see what it can really do.”

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, it really was, and that’s really how Ford advertised it. I don’t expect to come all the way to Sebring on my own nickel to get three laps of a truncated course at half speed.

          • 0 avatar
            tnk479

            Yeah Ford, and I expect to read a free blog post from Bark M. that is a full balls-out test of your new whip. You’re disappointing a lot of people out here in the real world at our boring office jobs.

            This can only be rectified in one way: send an F-450 with car trailer loaded with a GT350R and a GT350 Technology Package to Bark M’s house pronto. Leave the keys to all three in the mailbox.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’ll drive the truck from Flat Rock to Kentucky. I have a few PTO days that I’d like to burn by driving a SuperDuty via the Interstate Highway System. I have a CDL and I will purchase my own Chick-fil-a.

          • 0 avatar

            bball40dtw, forget the Super Duty. They can drop off the GT350R and GT350 Tech Pack at your and my places and we can drive them down to Bark’s place in KY, swapping them for the ride back.

    • 0 avatar
      BDT

      Ford was expecting journalists to slobber all over the cars and write great reviews. Journalists were expecting enough seat time at 9/10ths to be able to write those reviews. It didn’t happen, so likely both parties will be let down by the event.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I need to have a beer with Deadweight some time. To wit:

    I think the Focus, in any of its forms, looks great, and while slightly less refined than the Golf, is FAR more engaging and fun to drive, even in rush hour traffic.

    Additionally, while In In-N-Out has OK burgers, their french fries are horrible. The only reason for their hype is that they aren’t everywhere, thus attaining the mystical marketing magic of “Oohh, if only we had an In-N-Out. Have you tried them? No? Oh, they are just the best. You have no idea.”

    To topic: Good writeup, but I would KILL for three laps in the car, even with the press restrictions!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I said In-N-Out is good compared to other chains.

      Great burgers are truly few & far afield.

      Au Cheval in Chicago…

      Cutter’s or Torch’s in Michigan (Detroit & Flint)…

      Parlour in Minnesota (my 2nd favorite)…

      And my favorite – Santa Fe Bite in…Santa Fe (religious experience).

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I used to go to Cutter’s on a regular basis when I lived in the city. They have very good burgers but I prefer Red Coat. I think the most underrated burger in the Detroit area is at Bastone Brewery in Royal Oak. Plus, you can have their Belgian Amber at the same time.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I always get impression meat at Cutter’s is so much higher quality than at Red Coat (one on Woodward in Royal Oak), but Red Coat is decent. Need to order medium rare at Cutter’s.

          I need to try Bastone’s.

          Don’t even waste time/money at B Spot. What a let down.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’ll have to try Cutter’s again. I’ll admit that it’s been 5-6 years. I don’t go to Red Coat often because it is so busy. My wife went to B Spot with her friend and said it was terrible.

            Try Bastone. They have good beer and a heck of a menu. Since kids eat free one Sundays (I know, weird for a bar), I end up there quite a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        kosmo

        Check that. Parlour. My old home stomping grounds!

        As a rancher buddy of mine says “Organic, shmorganic. If it isn’t grass-fed, choose the tofu.”

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Cock blocked by Ford. The ache is great.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Yeah I’ll be honest I do want the Focus RS more badly than a Shelby Mustang. But I’d settle for a Focus ST without Recaro seats. I was in the back seat of a regular Focus sedan today and it wasn’t as claustrophobic as all the ENTHUSIASTS try to make it out to be.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The Recaros are definitely a deal breaker for me. At least when we looked at one in 2013, only the very base trim had normal seats, and it was about as feature-sparse as a V6 Mustang is in 2015.

      Maybe that’s changed.. I haven’t looked at the car since.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        On the Ford “Build Your Own” for the Focus ST the Recaros have been made part of the packages that include the up level stereos and heated seats but honestly I’m not the guy buying a Focus ST so I can listen to Bach at high speed in perfect hi fi stereophonic sound.

        FYI the RS is already available to build for those of you who want to waste a little time today… ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Very little time. There are two packages, three tire/wheel options, and four colors. Just make mine crazy blue.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Well for those with real time on their hands they can play around with the Transit and Transit Connect “Build Your Own”. Darn near every option can be had ala carte if you desire.

            Sorry no ST or RS version of those.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Why can they make this low-volume track-focused car with tons of unique parts, but they won’t make a Lincolnized Mustang?

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    “There’s nothing “off-the-shelf.” Even the Michelin tires have a custom tread pattern.”

    What does this mean for real owners? Are they doomed to track down $$$ unobtanium forever a la LM002 and TRX Ferrari and PAX Odyssey owners, or will these be reasonably affordable (relative) on TireRack and/or you can switch brands without a significant performance penalty? I’ve never put the factory-specc’d S-02 rubber on my S2000, always going with cheaper/better RE-01R/RE-11s or Star Spec/Dirrezzas, is it kinda like that? Or is the magic (and resale) gone without the special meats?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I don’t know about this car, but it’s closest competitor, the Camaro Z28, is fine without it’s ridiculously good stock Pirellis. Tires are still going to be expensive on a car like the GT350 or Z28 because of 305 MM width tires on 19″ rims.

      Michelin may have “developed the tire on the GT350 for the GT350” but it’s not a one off tire. The GT350R has the newest Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. I’m sure the compound that they used will end up on PSC2s you can buy from Tire Rack. The GT350 comes with Pilot Super Sports. That’s a good tire that isn’t “special”.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Tires are still going to be expensive on a car like the GT350 or Z28 because of 305 MM width tires on 19″ rims.”

        Yeah, I get that $$ tires are a price of driving a performance car, and I’m cool with that, I just didn’t know where on the scale of “buy 4 and get a $75 gift card” and “A special run of the tire by Pirelli has been announced” these types of things fall. I don’t expect Civic running costs, but I don’t expect Italia or Veyron running costs either.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          One of the car magazines did a test by swapping the tires from a Camaro SS 1LE and Camaro Z28. The conclusion was that the high dollar Pirellis were better on the track (not the dragstrip strangly), but the Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car tires were almost as good. On the GT350, the Super Sports will save someone $800-$1000 a set over the better Pilot Cups, with longer life. For the average owner, it will be a good tradeoff.

          I’d expect availability on the Pilot Cup 2s to not be a problem and pricing between $500-$600 a tire.

          What a world we live in that Camaros and Mustangs come with stock tires that cost $600 and are a foot across.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            The problem with these cars now is they come with massive tires that end up being essentially one-offs since manufacturers engineer the car with a specific sized wheel/tire in mind and there isn’t enough commonality in size when you get up that high for economies of scale in tire production to make sense.

            Let’s look at a few examples in OE sizing. This “chart will be in the following order (from tire rack): Vehicle, UHP Summer, Max Summer, Extreme Summer, R-Comp.

            C7 Z51: 2, 6, 0, 0
            C6 Z06: 0, 6, 2, 2
            2015+ Mustang GT PP: 2, 12, 0, 0
            Boss 302: 1, 4, 0, 0
            997 911S: 0, 3, 1, 4
            987 Cayman S: 1, 11, 3, 1
            370Z Nismo: 2, 10, 2, 0
            AP2 S2000: 6, 8, 7, 1 (going CR sizing only limits options in the lower performance categories)

            Now granted tire rack doesn’t stock certain brands like Falken, Nitto, and Pirelli so you might be able to add a couple options to some of these cars, especially since Pirelli is the OE tire manufacurer in some of these cases. Also, Hoosier offers R-comps in almost any size as well, but you will pay for it.

            However, there is an important conclusion we can draw: The more your wheel/tire combo shrinks in size, the more options you have.

            I think over time as performance cars with massive tires become more common, we’ll start seeing larger performance tires become more available. On the smaller end of things, miata owners are already starting to have limited options for high-performance tires on NA sizes, with the only saving grace being spec miata creating demand to keep the smaller sizes around.

            Right now the happy place for performance tires per dollar seems to be between 17×7 to 18×10, so 215-245 in front and 245-285 in the rear (depending on your drivetrain layout obviously).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Since both the Mustang and Camaro keep getting bigger tires, I’d think we would see more options. 305/315 width tires are crazy though.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Years ago, when I got my 88 Thunderbird SC with the 5.0L V8 and the excellent for its time AOD transmission, it came with a new size of Goodyear Eagles, quite expensive compared to most performance tires, in part due to their then nonstandard size.

            When they started to flake out on me at under 30K miles, my mechanic recommended some Sumitomos at about half the price. I used to flog the living H out of them, being recently divorced, back in grad school and going through my third or fourth childhood. They still lasted me well over 50K miles. So on a per mile basis, they were about one quarter as much, and had very noticeably better grip, both wet and dry.

            It may not be Sumitomos for the GT350R, but something like it will likely arise. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a tire that didn’t kiss the right frog with the manufacturer’s purchasing and design/engineering departments.

            While the V8 Birds that year probably sold more than the Shelbys will, they were still downpedaled by Ford due to CAFE, and most people went with the Turbocoupes, which I believe had a different wheel/tire setup.

            So it was a somewhat limited production vehicle with a new wheel/tire combo that still got aftermarket tire competition (and good competition at that) within a year of vehicle introduction.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          I’m running 19″ 305’s on my 911. Very common size and lots of good options.

          My Pirellis suck though. Will never go back to P-zero.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Great write-up, and great honesty. Watched your review video too. I think it is absurd you all only got 3 laps. Is Ford afraid of a breakdown or something? Ferrari-inspired V8 and reliability perhaps?

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve had some issues with testers. That’s all I can say here. :(

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m going to guess the engine runs hot and the temp spikes. I won’t quote you on it though.

        • 0 avatar
          SomeGuy

          So I think what Bark / Jack need to do is a Z06 vs. GT350R comparison test: Which one overheats faster?

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          That might be the sound of the cat emerging from the bag.

          Still, even if that is true, it would be a better way to have handled the problem than what happened to GM, or more precisely, that GM did to itself with the new Vettes.

          But I do think if I had paid as much out of pocket as the participants did, I would have at least arranged for couple of three lap circuits (instead of one six lap circuit, to help with heat issues if they exist), and I would have tried to sort out those drivers who had the track credentials to be able to flog the car full on without putting it into a wall. (As I recall, there aren’t any walls at Sebring anyway, are there? Strictly a flatland ex-airport, as I remember.)

          The extra cost to Ford would surely have been offset by the ability of people like Bark to say “I punched it hard, and it was all that and more…” instead of “Gee, it seems like it would have been great.”

          Sort of like as if he went to the prom with the hot girl, and the prom was lovely, but he ended up going home at 8am thoroughly cock-blocked.

          For his sake, I hope bball and Ronnie are seriously considering driving a couple of them down to Bark, and then driving back with him. That would be sort of like the hot girl was cold on prom night, but spent the next weekend with him. Or something like that…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      New performance tests:

      0 to 250 degree coolant.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    This car looks really sweet but I will be keeping my Boss.

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    I want mine in Avalanche grey with the black roof; no options,please!

    BTW-Bark- how are you liking the non-Recaro seats in your ST? I just test drove one with them and while they are comfortable the center armrest is useless. Before I commit I’m thinking about testing one without the Recaros to see how they work.

  • avatar
    Chopsui

    Bark, how did the Avalanche gray look in person?

  • avatar
    mkeenly

    I attended the ST Octane Academy last year, and the 3-day Ford Racing School this year. Both events were extremely well organized and well run. Based on my experience, I would go back to FRS without hesitation. Although, from your description of this GT-350 event, it appears that Ford (hopefully uncharacteristically) messed up on this one.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I wouldn’t say Ford messed up, so much as it exercised a lot of caution in order to make sure nothing went off the track, literally and figuratively speaking…better for them that people like Bark are chomping at the bit for more, than that someone wrings one out in hot weather till it overheats and does a Z06 imitation.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    ugh that would’ve killed me, both because of the car and the track. Being in Orlando, I have long considered Sebring my home track. My memories of going every year to the 12 Hours during the heyday of the ALMS 2005-2013 will be ones I treasured. I’ve been fortunate enough to drive the full course, although not under racing conditions. Being cosigned to the short course must’ve been so frustrating. I would’ve loved to know how that car handles turn 17.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Well, Bark, having on more than one occasion taken on the role of a critic of your writing and/or some of your points of view, it is only fair that I say that I think you did an excellent job of conveying the entirety of the good, the bad, and the ugly of your adventure. You also managed to convey a fair impression of what you were able to experience of the good of the car, without becoming so embittered about getting “shortsheeted” on track time that it caused you to fail to note the good.

    And though I have on at least one occasion criticized you for your use of what struck my ear as way too slangy, even for the TTAC crowd, I have to say that you seem to have struck the sweet spot between what could have been stilted-sounding slang, or excessively formal writing, in your entire narrative.

    The article conveys a natural tone throughout, as if you had just gotten back, and were telling your friend about your experience, in a well-ordered and carefully detailed manner. I have never been a fan of the phrase “bestie” but it doesn’t seem glaringly out of place in the way that “totes” (a/k/a Valleyspeak) does to my ear, and I suspect to the ear of many other readers, though they may not comment on it.

    This was a really good one, Bark. I enjoyed it the whole way through, and it read as well as articles published in the leading trade mags.

    I am definitely looking forward to my Walter Mitty-esque opportunities to experience the GT350R in its full glory, once you get that opportunity, and give us your report.

    I will gladly and avidly seek out that review, even if you wear a two button suit while standing in front of it, and describe the car as “a totes driving experience.”

    The nits I picked are just that, nits, and fashion is largely, if not entirely “de gustibus non disputandum”, but when it comes down to conveying what the car is truly like, you did an excellent job. You left me feeling like the only way I could better understand the car would be to amass a lot more racing experience and then to drive it myself.

    And I like the idea someone else suggested…you and Jack putting a Vette and a Mustang through the paces, side by side, with each of you driving both of them under all conditions and then comparing your impressions.

    That has the potential to be an alltime classic. I hope you guys get a chance to do it, and then post it for our reading enjoyment.

    I seem to recall something like that in the distant past, in one of the main car mags, but no longer can recall if it was a Vette vs. Mustang or Vette vs. TBird setup. But I do recall that it was played up as a classic “us vs. them”, bowtie vs. blue oval rivalry.

    A 21st century version with the Z06 and the GT350R, as orchestrated and executed by los hermanos Baruth, would be a car comparison to end all car comparisons.

    Please make it happen, and then give the B&B the finished product. I can’t conceive of any other authorship arrangement that could hold a candle to what the two of you are capable of producing. So please, just do it!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • geozinger: Fnck. I’ve lost lots of cars to the tinworm. I had a 97 Cavalier that I ran up to 265000 miles. The...
  • jh26036: Who is paying $55k for a CTR? Plenty are going before the $35k sticker.
  • JimZ: Since that’s not going to happen, why should I waste any time on your nonsensical what-if?
  • JimZ: Funny, Jim Hackett said basically the same thing yesterday and people were flinging crap left and right.
  • JimZ: That and the fact that they could run on gasoline, which was considered a useless waste product back in the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States