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OBJECTIVE - Just how quick can this car go without turning it into a racecar? Our goal is to find the true potential of this new 3 valve motor and S197 chassis. The car is a loaded 2005 Yellow Ford Mustang GT 5 speed that came dealer optioned with 20" wheels and Michelin tires. It was purchased new and currently has 4500 miles on the odometer.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS - At what point does it become a racecar? When does it truly cross that line between daily driver and "let's take the other car"? Obviously everybody will have a different opinion on this subject, what may be acceptable to some can be completely unbearable to others. Our view is that the car must retain every creature comfort (air, radio, power accessories), maintain an acceptable ride quality (no clunks, vibrations, or excessive road noise), and run strong without overheating or stalling. With these guidelines, just how fast can it go, 10's, 9's?

OBSERVATIONS - We are definitely not the first to build one of these cars. The car has actually been available now for almost a year and a half. There are superchargers, turbo and nitrous kits already available for them and cars running pretty quick with each one of these power adders. What is immediately apparent when seeing the quickest of these cars at the track is the gutted interiors and lack of power steering and air conditioning. In our opinion these type of mods completely violate the "driver" part of this buildup unless they are done solely for track day and reinstalled afterward. The only compromise to driveability in our project will be the necessary rollcage required to test at the track. We plan to put this off as long as possible and, when forced to, build one with passenger accessibility in mind.

OBSTACLES - Just how quick do we want this car to go? This will determine the amount of obstacles we are facing. A 12 second goal does not present any obstacles and really can be done with a few simple bolt-ons. Drag tires and a small nitrous kit will put you in the 12's and while fun, is not really worthy of this buildup. 11's is a little more difficult and costly but by this summer it will practically become the norm. Suspension, tires, clutch, and any of the above power adders combined with tuning will net 11's and still allow full driveability. That leaves us with 10's. Let's just say that a goal of 10.80's can be considered a solid "10 second car". Using the horsepower formula below with our goal ET of 10.80 and an advertised vehicle weight of 3450 lbs. plus 180 lbs. for the driver, it will take 569 flywheel horsepower to run 10.80's. Of course this is in ideal circumstances so our suspension will have to be right in order to make the most efficient use of our horsepower.

What obstacles will surface along the way to 10.80's? For starters, regardless of what power adder we use to get there, we will have to address suspension, fueling, and update the clutch. Will the bottom end of the motor survive 569 horsepower? This is the most questionable part of our buildup. The factory powdered metal connecting rods appear to be failing around 500 rear wheel horsepower. Given a general drivetrain loss of approximately 15%, this means that if we stay under 575 flywheel horsepower, theoretically, we should be safe. This basically gives no room for error especially when you factor in a 5% margin for error. Even if the rods survive, the factory hypereutectic pistons are questionable, especially if nitrous is used as the power adder. One other potential problem may be the transmission. Reports have been made of syncros failing on low 11 second cars but we will just have to find this one out on our own since "safe shifting" plays a major role in optimizing transmission life.

So where does this leave us? We know we want to run 10's with the project but we didn't want to get into the motor to do it. As of this date (January '06) we know of at least 4 grenaded motors from owners seeking 10 second et's. All of them ended in broken blocks. Some ran the number, others didn't make it. To date only one car is known to repeatedly run 10's without failure and it was turbocharged.

THE PLAN - Our initial plan is to install a full line of BMR suspension and driveline, upgrade the rear end with Moser components, install some lightweight SJM/Bogart drag wheels and Mickey Thompson tires, upgrade the clutch (undecided brand at this time), install a set of Stainless Works headers, Meziere electric water pump, and an STS twin turbo system with a boost controller and Alky Controls methanol injection kit. At the base boost pressure of 7 psi, this kit will produce 450 rear wheel horsepower. Combined with the headers, electric water pump, lighter BMR driveshaft, and a boost controller, power will not be a problem to reach our goal and the engine should live providing we keep a safe tune in the car. With a turbo system and boost controller it is possible to basically "dial in" your horsepower with boost. In other words, we can keep boost at a safe setting for normal driving and just dial in more boost at the track to run the number.

Who knows, once this goal is reached, we may even install a set of forged rods and pistons and crank up the boost to shoot for 9's while still maintaining complete streetability.

Follow along, this should be fun!