Ford turns its software engineers loose on its top pony car

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is now 3 years old, so for 2019 Ford gave it what we’d call a gentle refresh, mostly with tuning/software updates, but also with new Michelin Pilot Sport 2 Cup tires and a reworked rear spoiler. That might not seem like much, but Ford says buyers will see improved acceleration, grip and lap times, none of which we complained about on the current model.

Ford’s idea with the upgrades is to “flatter the novice and reward the professional.”

To wit: It put FIA and IMSA driver Billy Johnson behind the wheel to dial in the proper balance.

“Along with improved grip, brake and chassis refinements, Shelby GT350 brings a whole new level of performance driving,” Johnson said. “It’s a rewarding car to drive on-track for amateurs and pros alike, while making the driver feel like a superhero. It’s confidence inspiring in corners and begs to be pushed harder and to take corners faster.”

Power from the 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V8 stays the same at 526 hp at 8,250 rpm and 429 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is the only option. The six-piston front, four-piston rear Brembo brakes remain, as well.