Ford set to produce the ultimate Mustang! (Page 3)


Ford didn't stop there. They told their engineers to get a grip! And they did, by optimizing the tuning to balance center-of-gravity height, aerodynamic downforce, ride height, overall grip on bumpy roads, along with driving fun and driving ease at the limit.

The 2000 Cobra R is equipped with Eibach coil springs, lowering the car 1.5 inches in the front, and 1.0 inches in the rear. Front spring rate is 800 lb./in., while the rear rate is 750lb./in. These springs make the R 30 to 40 percent stiffer than the production '99 Cobra.

Bilstein shocks with digressive valving provide the wheel control for racing purposes. The front struts are gas-charged monotube while the rears are gas-charged twin-tube. Testing proved that Cobra's front and rear stabilizer bars provided the handling characteristics that the chassis engineers required for the R. All of the R's suspension control arm and rear subframe bushings are made from stiffer materials, which improves handling by reducing compliance-steer under higher cornering, acceleration and braking forces generated in racing. In addition, the outer pivot of the upper control arm has been relocated to provide increased camber.

Braking is undertaken with the Cobra's Brembo 13-inch vented rotors, but they have been fitted with Brembo four-piston aluminum calipers.

Air inlets designed into the Cobra fog light bezels are used to carry cool air to special carbon-fiber heat shields fitted around the inside of the brakes in an effort to cool the rotors. The rear brake calipers and rotors are unchanged from the Cobra, but special racing pads have been specified, which are 1mm thicker. These pads provide increased temperature stability, longer life and also help to decrease stopping distance.

The 2000 Cobra R comes with 18 x 9.5-inch, five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels clad in 265/40ZR18 BFGoodrich g-Force™ tires. The larger rims provide the necessary clearance for the massive front brake calipers. 

The interior lives up to the high performance hype. Custom Recaro seats provide the firm lateral support for high-g racing, and a B&M Ripper shifter provides a short throw, and positive stops for added durability. The shifter is topped by a leather shift knob with the 6-speed shift pattern embossed on the top. In the instrument cluster, the 180-mph speedometer sports the Cobra R logo.

Items deleted to reduce weight and enhance performance include all chassis sound damping material, trunk trim and spare tire cover, radio, air conditioning system, the rear seat and rear trim.

Another goal for the SVE Team was to keep the production aspect of the Cobra R simple. It had to blend in with regular Mustang production at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. By utilizing similar body components as the stock Mustang, Ford was able to not only reduce production costs, but also produce the 300 Cobra R units without interrupting the regular production schedule of the Mustang line. 

John Colletti calls it "the fastest, best-handling Mustang ever." With and estimated 385 horsepower and 385 ft.-lbs. of torque hitting the pavement, and a lateral acceleration of over 1.0 g's, he just might be right.

On to Page 4 ==>