Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept

The Ford Shelby GR-1 concept springs from a long line of Ford performance project cars and quickly establishes itself at the Shanghai International Motor Show as one of the most contemporary and dramatic front-engine, two-seat, fastback supercars. This running prototype reaches closer to reality with a 605-horsepower, 390-cubic-inch all-aluminum V-10 engine, a road-tested version of the Ford GT suspension and a stunning new polished-aluminum body.

The Shelby GR-1 concept's name pays tribute to both a performance great and "Group Racing." This uniquely emotional sports car design represents Ford's continued desire to include a high-end, limited-production specialist supercar in its lineup.
The Shelby GR-1 concept combines modern sculptured surfaces and a sleek muscular fastback design. All of the sophisticated mechanicals of this extraordinary coupe are wrapped in a sleek, muscular aluminum skin left bare and polished bright. The result is a forward-looking supercar with attention-grabbing Ford presence and Carroll Shelby inspiration.

A reality-based concept

The Shelby GR-1 is a fully engineered, production-feasible roadgoing, drivable project vehicle. The Shelby GR-1 starts with a modified version of the aluminum chassis from the rear-engine Ford GT. The bulk of the rear structure is made from slightly modified Ford GT components, including the massive trellis-like, cast-aluminum suspension nodes, the rear rails and bumper beam, a major cross-member and the brackets used to mount the transmission.

Shapely exterior

The Ford Shelby GR-1 is a sinewy, athletic design with a long hood that blends seamlessly into the teardrop-shaped cabin with a fastback roofline and falling upper fender line. The car looks as if it is in motion, even when it is standing still. The optimized wheel arches and compact overhangs define the striking stance while the strong shoulder line and smooth, taut surfaces express the car's graceful yet athletic nature. The polished aluminum body panels further express the highly sculptured surfaces and define the emotional proportions in dramatic fashion.

The front of the Shelby GR-1 concept is dominated by an air-intake aperture and airflow splitter, directing cool air into the engine bay and wheel wells, while air vents on the upper surface of the hood exhaust hot air from the radiator. Additional intakes and vents perforate the body side to ensure cooling throughout.

The front corners of the Shelby GR-1 are dominated by substantial front wheel wells housing 19-inch wheels and tires and trapezoidal High Intensity Solid State (HISS) headlamps that float above the wheel arches. This highly technical lighting package provides powerful illumination in a very compact package, allowing freedom of design without sacrificing nighttime driving visibility.

Racing-inspired interior

The Shelby GR-1 concept's butterfly doors have distinctive teardrop-shaped side-glass graphics that create an elongated appearance, blending seamlessly into integrated door-release handles.
The graceful upward glide of the doors leads into the race-inspired interior that features seats with carbon shells and fixed backs. The carbon shells are connected directly to the sill and tunnel via lightweight aluminum spaceframe attachments and can be adjusted fore and aft by way of an accessible pull ring on the seat cushions' leading edge. The seats incorporate removable Alcantara comfort inserts that are individually tailored to the occupants' body type.

Proven chassis components

From the outset, the Shelby GR-1 concept team intended the concept to perform at supercar levels but with a more "mature" feel biased a little more toward driver comfort than the Ford GT.

They started by attaching massive 19-inch wheels and tires using the Ford GT suspension system with a few modifications to accommodate the increased weight of a front-engine setup.

Designed-in suspension compliance

A double-wishbone suspension design with unequal-length aluminum control arms, coil-over monotube shocks and stabilizer bars is used front and rear. The upper control arms are identical at all four wheels and are made with an advanced rheo-cast process that allows the complexity of form associated with casting while retaining the strength of forging. The metal, heated to just below its melting point, is the consistency of butter when it is injected into a mold at high pressure. Pressure is maintained as the part cures, preventing porosity in the final product for exceptional strength.

Big, powerful brakes

With more than 600 horsepower available at the throttle, the brake pedal had to be equally powerful. The team set braking distance targets comparable with today's best supercars and turned to the Ford GT braking system for suitable components.

Brembo "monoblock" one-piece aluminum brake calipers with four pistons each grab cross-drilled, vented discs at all four wheels. The discs are a massive 14 inches in front and 13.2 inches in the rear, for fade-free stopping power.

For packaging reasons, the team devised a novel offset actuation linkage for the brake booster and master cylinder, so the brake pedal can be placed in a normal position even though its hardware is off to the side of the engine bay. The kinematic linkage concept for the remote booster actuation was an idea borrowed from the European Ford Mondeo.

Supercar powertrain

The heart of any supercar is its engine, and the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept does not disappoint.

Inspired by the biggest, baddest engine of them all the renowned 427 Ford engineers created a new aluminum-block V-10 to power last year's Ford Shelby Cobra concept. This 390 cubic inch, 6.4-liter engine, reprised for service in the Shelby GR-1 concept, is adapted from Ford's MOD engine family. It delivers the rush of raw power with 605 horsepower and 501 foot-pounds of torque associated with that big 1960s V-8 powerplant without the aid of supercharging or turbocharging.

This combination of brute force and thorough engineering has created a rarity in the world of auto shows a concept car that can actually do, rather than merely promise, 0-60 in under four seconds, and would easily exceed 200 mph if not electronically limited.

Advanced transmission

While the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept shares a significant amount of technology with the Ford GT and the Shelby Cobra concept, the team met several unique engineering challenges head-on.

First, the six-speed manual transmission had to be packaged in a way that would not compromise the occupant footwells. The rear-mounted six-speed transaxle is identical to the high-performance unit in the Ford GT, with an integral limited-slip differential to drive the rear wheels. Based on the engine's 7,500-rpm redline and the wide drive ratios, this Ford Shelby GR-1 concept has a theoretical top speed of around 200 mph, although it's electronically limited for now.

The transaxle application was necessitated by the desire to fit such a large engine into a compact coupe while leaving enough room for the driver's legs and feet. With a conventional transmission mated to the back of the engine, the tradeoff between hood length and passenger room often makes for a cramped footwell and dramatically offset pedals.Mounting the transmission in the rear helped to more evenly distribute the vehicle's weight and increased the footwell area from 16.5 inches to 21.7 inches, resulting in almost three inches more legroom than in similar performance vehicles.

Unique solutions

Additional improvements from the Ford Shelby Cobra concept include new, twin fuel fillers exiting the bodywork just aft of each sideview window and mid-way up the rear quarter panel bodywork. These racing-inspired devices feed two individual 10-gallon capacity fuel tanks that reside inside the structural chassis directly behind the passenger compartment.

The battery was also relocated to the rear of the vehicle, deep inside the luggage compartment, further aiding vehicle weight distribution and better shielding the battery package from the intense heat of the engine compartment. A new cooling system, evolved from the Shelby Cobra concept, includes a unique hood with twin portals to feed air into the engine compartment.

Dearborn, April 19, 2005
Source: Ford Mustang news from the Ford Motor Company

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