Next-Gen Ford GT, Mustang Shelby GT350R Ready For Detroit: Report Photo:
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2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 - Overseas Photo:
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Tony O'Kane | Dec, 31 2014 | 4 Comments

With the 2015 North American International Auto Show less than a week away from opening in Detroit, word on the street is that Ford will be debuting not one, but two high-performance heroes on its stand.

The headliner is expected to be the next-generation Ford GT supercar, or at least a "concept" version of it. With 2016 the 50th anniversary of Ford's first Le Mans victory with the original GT, a Detroit announcement of a new GT would make sense.

As for what will power it, a development of the Shelby GT350's 5.2 litre V8 makes sense - especially considering its race-friendly flat-plane crank.

Ford is also expected to be heading back to Le Mans with the new GT in 2016, racing in the GTE category against other production-based race cars like the Porsche 911, Ferrari 458 Italia and Chevrolet Corvette.

But if Ford intends to go racing with the GT, it will need to have already built at least 100 road-going examples for the GT to qualify under Le Mans GTE rules. If the rumours of a 2016 racing campaign are true, then the new GT would have to go on sale in 2015.

And given no prototypes or test mules have been spotted thus far, this could make the new GT one of Ford's best-kept secrets thus far. We'll find out if the rumour-mongers are right on January 12.

Those same pundits say that a harder-core GT350R version of the recently-unveilled Mustang Shelby GT350 will share the spotlight with the new GT at Detroit.

Using a similar formula to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the GT350R is expected to sport improved aero, track-ready suspension, a deleted rear seat, reinforced body, bigger brakes and track-spec rubber.

The GT350's 373kW/542Nm 5.2 litre V8 will likely carry over unchanged.

Other cars expected to grace the Ford stand are the next generation F-150 Raptor (which may debut the EcoBeast name), the updated Focus ST and Fiesta ST, and maybe - just maybe - the Ford Focus RS.

MORE: Ford News and Reviews

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