The pandemic put a lot of things on pause and had many people working from home. Ford Performance engineers also long for the days of getting out and driving fast just like the rest of us. Of course, when they put foot to the floor, the goal is making our production cars even faster and more reliable.
Feeling nostalgic, the Blue Oval’s in-house hot-rodders dipped into the video archives to share a clip from the 2019 Shelby GT350’s development cycle with us. It is always fun to watch and listen to that flat-plane-crank Voodoo 5.2-liter V8 do work on the racetrack, and this clip doesn’t disappoint.
“Our engineers are looking forward to better times by looking back into our track footage vault. Come with us for a test day hot lap in a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 at Virginia International Raceway,” says Ford Performance in the video intro.
Behind the wheel of a stock Shelby GT350 is Steve Thompson, a Ford Performance vehicle dynamics engineer, who clicked off a 2:00.57 lap on VIR’s 3.27-mile Full Course (not the 4.2-mile Grand Course used for those famed Lightning Lap competitions).
He and the rest of the Ford Performance engineering team sharpened the already stellar Shelby for the 2019 model year by improving its aerodynamics brakes, drive-mode calibration, and suspension. Having driven it in anger, we can confirm those changes were definitely for the better.
“The updates we made to the 2019 GT350 created a fantastic car for a challenging track like VIR. The car has a natural, tied-down feel to it and the added grip and aerodynamics inspire a lot of confidence,” Thompson explained. “The engine and gearbox also really harmonize to make for a great track experience. It’s a really rewarding driver’s car.”
Watching him put the car through its paces in the video is pretty rewarding too.