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Is The Shelby GT500 Kenny's NEW Cobra R? - Kenny Brown Puts His "Magic Touch" on Shelby GT500's With NEW GT-4 Suspension System
The other day someone asked me, "Is the Shelby GT500 your new Cobra R?"… After some reflection, the comment did resonate with me in fact it remind me of 2003 and 2004, when around 200 Cobra R race cars started showing up at my door. That’s about the time Cobra-R owners serious about track-days and racing were surpassing the capabilities of their cars and wanted to go to the next level.
By then I had establishes a solid reputation for building the best handling and best all-around SVT IRS Cobras. From ’99 – ’04 my AGS 3.5 (Third Generation of Advanced Geometry Suspension system) set the benchmark for superb handling and driver confidence both on the street and especially on track. In fact Kermie, one of my all time favorite cars to drive, is the IRS Mustang Cobra I used to introduce AGS 3.5 – front K-member and Rear-IRS at SEMA in 2001.
The Cobra-R guys wanted the Kenny Brown magic in their track cars and I was more than happy to give it to them. In fact at the end of one driving season we had 5 Cobra-R’s in the shop for upgrading to my AGS 3.5 suspension system. When you consider that only 200 were ever built and at that time most of them were in storage, that’s saying something.
Now we are getting alot of calls from GT500 owners, some of which we have worked with in the past that are ecstatic that I’m back and my next Generation AGS suspension (AGS 4.0) is now available for Shelby GT500s, 2005+ Mustangs GTs and V-6s. The Shelby guys are getting serious about track-day and serious street driving and are crying for more grip, handling and a little (make that alot) of that Kenny Brown suspension “magic” they have grown to know and appreciate over the years.
In September at my 25th Anniversary Celebration at Putnam Park Road Course we met Roy and his 2008 Shelby GT500. Roy reminds me of one of those Cobra R owners whose driving ability had started to surpass the cars ability. He had performance shocks and springs, sway bars, and the usual bolt-on items, all of which made for a good handling car. BUT, what Roy wanted was a great handling car capable of extracting every ounce of power and putting it down on the race track and take it to the next level – enter my newest AGS 4.0 super handling suspension system.
Side Note: I refer to AGS as a “system”, that’s because it is. It’s a complete engineered and designed “system” – front and rear working together to maximize all the Mustang’s strengths and leverage the weaknesses, all designed around the best and fastest way to drive a live axle Mustang – I’ve had 25 years to work it out.
To transform Roy's Shelby GT500 we started first with the chassis and added our Jacking Rails and Extreme Matrix Brace to add rigidity and positive jacking points, while releasing trapped power and allowing the suspension to respond better. The GT500 is equipped with a strut tower brace and lower chassis brace, which are good enough for now, but should always be added if your Mustang is not equipped from the factory.
The front suspension is easy, at least I have made it easy, and the results are astonishing! Our new AGS 4.0 GT-4 Front Lower Control Arm module addresses all of the shortcomings of the factory suspension; adding more caster, improving camber gain through the corners, more anti-dive for shorter surer stops, adjusting the roll center to work together with the rear roll center, and dramatically refining the overall dynamics of the car. For serious competition, or just the competitor in you, we will also have our Light-Weight Tubular K-Member by Spring 2012. With just the Front Lower Control Arm Module installed Roy is going to all new heights of grip and handling!
Roy's GT500 received a whole new "makeover" in the rear suspension, which is where more of my magic really comes alive. First the front is engineered to work with, support and compliment the front suspension – as far as I know it is the only aftermarket suspension that does. I keep it simple, just like in the front and I use the geometry and components that I have refined over the past 25 years.
GT500's make big power, and the Kenny Brown GT-4 rear suspension is the only one capable of harnessing that type of power. This is the HOT set up! I replaced the rear lower control arms with my Competition Rear Lower Control Arms (because Roy wanted the best and the competition parts are the best) along with my Anti-Squat Traction Brackets (Anti-Squat is a function of the geometry of both the anti-squat brackets and the upper control arm module) to plant the power. Even more magic comes from the U-Link Rear Upper Control Arm Module. I call it a module because it is - it lengthens the upper arm (helps reduce instant center migration) and adjusts the chassis mounting hole to reflect the SVSA (side view geometry) that I have used for many years. The last part of the equation is the Roll-Center Relocation Kit and Competition Panhard Bar which work together to lower and completely change the roll center at the rear of the car and it adjusts the rear roll center to be in better plane with the front roll center (adjusted in the front control arm module). With the new rear roll-center, the need for a big rear sway bar is mitigated as I have improved the rear roll geometrically rather than using a torsion bar. Typically I’ll run my car with no rear sway bar. For faster tracks like Mosport or Atlanta, I recommend a small OE rear sway bar. Also running without a rear bar with AGS 4.0 makes the massive power of the Shelby GT500 much easier to control.
Tie it all together, shocks/struts and springs, ARE KING! Roy already had performance handling kit installed, but he's going to run out of shock and spring at some point. Your shock/strut and spring choice plays a very important role in how the car handles and drives for you; your driving style, experience level and intended use. It all can be confusing and expensive if you make the wrong choices – that is unless you have me do it for you. Let my 25 years of experience help you select the right spring and shock package for your Shelby or Mustang, let me know how you plan to use it and if for track if you are a novice, intermediate of advanced driver. I’ll even take into consideration your future driving plans and outline the next step for you when you are ready for it. At Kenny Brown Performance we like to work with all of our customers on a one-to-one basis to make sure they have the right package, taking into consideration their budget, intended use, and suspension equipment.
The end result of all this time and effort is a whole new car with superior handling, grip, and performance that is only rivaled by the best sports cars the world has seen! What's even more spectacular is the system basically bolts on with the exception of the weld-on chassis parts, and you can transform your Mustang or GT500 in just one short weekend. My develop Mustangs, all of which are equipped with the GT-4 Suspension, have been driven by top industry professionals and racers. One thing is always consistent when they step out of the cockpit – BIG smiles and lots of great comments. Paul Brown, 2011 Pirelli World Challenge GTS Champion in a BOSS 302 Mustang, drove it and declared it the best strut-based Mustang he has ever driven. Pete Epple of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Magazine declared my CSR-69 Mustang with the prototype AGS 4.0 suspension system “the most amazing car I have ever driven”. I can't wait to see the look on Roy's face after he gets a little track time in his all new GT500 - I am sure he will agree with the experts…