Lighter, Better Six-Speed Manual The Only Option For Shelby GT350

Production of the 2016 Shelby GT350 began in earnest last week, and those lucky customers with at least $48,000 are all eagerly awaiting the day their track-ready Mustang arrives. There aren’t a whole lot of options that come with the 2016 GT350 though, with option packages reduced down to either Technology or Track features, and just a single transmission, an all-new six-speed built specifically to handle the 8,250 RPM redline Shelby’s 524 horsepower 5.2 liter V8 engine.

Shelby GT350 Mustang Manual TransmissionFord of course turned to longtime partner Tremec to build a transmission worthy of the revived Shelby GT350, and Tremec did not disappoint, delivering a product that handle can the rigors of the race track for hours on end. They didn’t just stop at making it a tough customer though, as this new transmission had to be as light as possible, giving the GT350 every advantage available when it comes to racing.

For example, the modified Tremec TR-3160 transmission uses a gun-drilled main shaft that is lighter than stock, but has been post-heat treated for a reduction in gear lash, noise, and vibration. The TR-3160 also uses a dual-mass flywheel that also reduces noise and vibration while increasing shifting smoothness and eliminating the damping springs on the clutch hub. This also makes the unit both lighter and stronger.

Even the gear-selection mechanism was machined using an aluminum housing and low-friction pivot ball and shifter-linkage joints, while the rear extension housing was shortened for both added stiffness and decreased weight. No part went untouched in Ford’s quest for performance…though the Blue Oval fails to note just how much weight has been saved over the Mustang GT MT-82 or the 2014 GT500 TR6060.

Strength and weight are important factors of any transmission, but so is staying cool, and engineers didn’t skip this important step either. A unique oil-to-air transmission cooler is fed by an integrated gerotor pump, taking the transmission heat out of the coolant circuit while ensuring it stays all lubed up. That allows for a smaller engine radiator than would otherwise be necessary, further reducing the Shelby’s curb weight.

Every component is absolutely crucial to the success of the new Shelby GT350, and in a world where manual transmissions are increasingly rare, Ford has made a bold statement by only offering its top-of-the-line Mustang with only the manual option.

About the author

Chris Demorro

Christopher DeMorro is a freelance writer and journalist from Connecticut with two passions in life; writing and anything with an engine.
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