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Old 08-16-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
Fair
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Default Vorshlag 2011 Mustang 5.0 GT - track/autocross/street Project

Thread Added - August 16, 2013: Hey guys, Vorshlag just joined this forum as a supporting vendor. I went back and reformatted, copied and edited 3 years worth of our S197 Mustang development project thread updates to DFW5.0s forum, so you guys can read from the beginning. The 10K character limit here made for a lot of editing and posts to add - 181 posts were ported over, in total. I spent almost a full day getting them on here, so I hope yall enjoy them.

We have learned a LOT about the S197 chassis in the past 3 years, working on our own cars as well as customer's S197s. If you read the earliest posts you can see us stumbling into new problems and finding solutions along the way. Please read through the August 2013 posts before commenting or asking questions about some of my earlier entries, as we might have figured out some of our failures, fixed some bad choices, or answered your early question along the way.

After you've read through the current posts, feel free to chime in or ask about anything along the way. We're here to help in any way we can, and we also learn a lot from your guys. Thanks.

------------

Project introduction - Nov 11, 2010: Some of you guys know us here at Vorshlag. We're a suspension design and manufacturing shop, making the world's best camber plates as well as numerous other items for various modern sports/sporty cars, such as: competition motor and transmission mounts, competition wheel studs, wheel spacers, and even our popular E36 LS1 swap kit. We're also an AST shock dealer and we sometimes work with AST-USA on developing new shock models and valving. We're also racers... running our test cars in SCCA Solo and NASA Time Trial, among other venues.


2011 Mustang "Boss 302R" race car

It helps us in suspension development to periodically acquire and build-up new cars. About once a year we get a few new cars in the stable, and this time we've focused on the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0. We already have 2 versions of camber/caster plates for the S197 chassis Mustang ('05-11+), but we've only sold a few of them and haven't really pushed suspension parts for this chassis yet. Its been foolish of us, because its a HUGE market (avg sales are 200K units/year) that has a large percentage of owners who are enthusiasts and that auto-x/HPDE/race these cars. I've only driven a few of these S197 cars but have personally owned and raced previous generation Mustangs (7 in total) in the past, and raced in those for many years. I was never a fan of the "mod motor" 4.6L V8 in the 1996-2004 Mustang models, however, which is the main reason I haven't owned one of these already. When GM was making their sports cars with the legendary LS1, Ford was trying to match the power with smaller displacement motors that were still massively bigger and heavier. Only the supercharged Cobras and GT500s could keep pace.



But when the all new Ford "Coyote" 5.0L DOHC V8 engine was announced in ~2007 I took notice. When we found out it was going to debut in the 2011 Mustang, along with an all new Getrag 6-spd transmission, we went and test drove one right after they came out in May 2010. It took about 60 seconds of driving it before I was sold... Ford had finally built a Mustang that had some serious potential and was worth comparing to cars costing 2-3 times as much! The brakes rocked, the transmission shifted better than the almighty T56 Tremec, and the motor... oh the motor was perfect. We borrowed a new 2011 "Brembo" GT for a day, took lots of measurements and weights (see below). As heavy as it is its still hundreds of pounds lighter than the other modern muscle cars - the 2010 Camaro or Challenger - and was on par with the latest BMW M3 V8, 335i and many others. Modern cars are heavy!


This was the weight of a loaner '11 Brembo GT back in June - 3605 with 1/2 tank of fuel

Sure, as a 4-valve-per-cylinder V8, the Coyote 5.0 revs to 7000 rpm effortlessly, but more important: it has a LOT of low and mid-range torque, something the previous Ford 4.6L motors really lacked. 390 ft-lbs of torque and 412 hp is what these are rated at, but in reality they are making closer to 385-395 wheel horsepower, which means they have even more power at the crank than that. The power is what really sold the car for me.



The new Mustang 5.0 was quickly matched up against some heavyweight sports cars, and the obvious E92 M3 V8 vs Mustang 5.0 magazine match-ups popped up everywhere (see spec sheet comparo above). But unlike most of the "numbers only" comparisons, the new 2011 had some serious improvements in a lot of areas (interior quality, Sync voice control, sound system/NAV, and the suspension/brakes), and was winning the hearts of most jaded auto journalists. Sure, the Mustang ran blistering 12 second 1/4 mile times and did 0-60 mph in the low 4 second range, but for once the Mustang was as quick on a road course as the $70K M3. And you could get a 2011 Mustang for $29K retail, and the 14" Brembo brake package was only +$1600.

So we custom ordered our 2011 GT in June of 2010. With SO many optional rear gear ratios (3), and dozens of other options, dealers were loading the cars up with crap that we didn't want. We got it with just the "standard" 3.31 rear gear (for a "longer" 2nd gear in autocross situations), the Brembo brake/suspension/wheel package, and my wife insisted on the expensive and frivolous "electronics" package (boy am I glad she did - the system is incredible). The car took over 3 months to be built, and there were further delays once it arrived, but we finally picked up the car on Oct 29th.


we've been playing with wheel fitment this week... and photoshop!

So far the Mustang is still bone stock, but it won't be for long. We are planning on making various parts for the car, such as revised camber plates, motor mounts, and some other bits and pieces as we run across them. What better way to test the car than autocross and track use? So we had been planning on building it for autocross use around an as-yet-undecided autocross class, then running it in NASA TT in whatever class it fell into (the 2011 is still not classed as of this writing but it will likely fall into TTB). The obvious choice for SCCA Solo was E Street Prepared... that means virtually any suspension mods (no changing pick-up points), intake/exhaust/tuning mods, racing seats, and giant Hoosier A6 "DOT" R compounds. With the 5 time ESP National Champion in our SCCA region we wouldn't be starved for serious competition, either.

But after a year of racing in another "SP" class, and trashing lots expensive Hoosier A6 tires, I had second thoughts. We had run in Street Touring classes from 2004-2009, and we kind of missed racing there. The "ST" category allows for almost the same level of mods as "SP" but uses much more cost effective tires (lower grip/longer wearing) - basically they have to be 140 of higher treadwear. Racing in this category is lots of fun and its the only category outside of "Stock" that allows you to keep your car emissions legal and still be competitive.


This is the weight on our '11 Brembo GT with no fuel - 3563 lbs sans 12.7 lbs of "trunk junk"

Where to run this hefty Mustang? We have seen exactly one S197 Mustang run in STU before (one of our testers - and he moved quickly to ESP), but the thought of battling against the AWD boost buggies in there in a 3600 pound Mustang, even with wider 285mm tires, would be almost pointless. Well since its under 5.1L of displacement its legal to race it in STX, as long as we stick to a maximum 265mm wide tire and 9" wide wheel. So that's where we'll start.


Stage 1 testing is to verify our OEM perch/camber plate solution

To see if this is even a remotely competitive car we plan on doing several stages of prep and testing before spending the bucks for full out suspension and weight saving mods. Stage 1 will be fairly simple: little more than swaybars, Vorshlag camber plates, and maybe lowering springs.


This will be the "Stage 2" prep level for our S197 Mustang - AST 4100s and Vorshlag plates

After we test camber plates on the otherwise stock suspension for a few weeks we'll jump right into Stage 2: AST 4100 coilovers, plates, lightweight 18x9" wheels and 265mm tires (max widths allowed in STX) - then get to an autocross! There's several Nationally competitive STX cars in our region including multiple E36 328is BMWs, several RX8s and some WRXs. Sure, we'll have double the power of the rest of the class, but the Mustang has a solid axle and LOTS of extra mass to throw around. We'll know pretty quickly if the car is going to be competitive, and if so we'll go to the 3rd stage of prep - looking for every pound we can save, and adding AST 5200GA remote reservoir (the same style AST shocks being built for Continental GRAND AM and World Challenge).

continued below
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Last edited by Fair; 08-16-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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continued from above

That's another key area of testing we'll perform - to see how much weight we can get out of the car. We'll weigh everything that goes on or off this car and track every pound. The 2011 GT gained about 100 pounds over the 2005-2010 GT, due partly to the new engine, the new 6-spd transmission, and some extra sound insulation Ford added (all S197s got the extra insulation from the GT500, in 2011, according to Ford engineers we met at the 2010 SEMA show). The stock 19x9" wheels and tires weigh a considerable amount also, and we're already testing lightweight wheels/tires on our car that most of the Mustang aftermarket either ignores or doesn't know about.


Test fitting 18x9.5" ET20 wheels (needs more like ET45 offset to fit that wheel) with 275/35/18 tires


As always we're going to post regular updates on several forums for this project, and we'll share everything we do and learn. We're all about "bringing the tech". We'll start with posts on Vorshlag forum, SCCAforums and Corner-Carvers. Please let us know of other forums we should post on! Each forum will get the same updates from us. A lot of our car projects and ideas are crowd sourced, and tapping into several thousand brains is always a help. I freely admit I'm out of touch with the Mustang chassis, and we're learning as we go, but some of you out there will obviously have more experience in these and we welcome your suggestions.

One small note: Feel free to ask any questions or post helpful tips on the thread, but remember: there's potentially hundreds if not thousands of other people reading the same thread (one of our project threads from last year had 250,000 hits in 12 months). Seeing 1,000 "me too" or "cool car!" posts don't really add anything to the discussion, nor does asking the same question that's been asked and answered on that same forum thread already. Remember: if you want to subscribe to a thread you can just go to "thread tools" and click "subscribe to thread". This will keep the thread chock full of useful discussion and save everyone time when reading.

Next post: wheel testing!

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #3
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Project Update for Nov 12, 2010: What about wheels?

Originally Posted by Msquared View Post
Terry, just a thought: You have found some rims that would clear the calipers that either come in the right widths but wrong offset or vice-vice versa. Given the volume of the SN197 aftermarket (and its likely growth), I wonder if a company making one of those rims could be talked into producing some with the correct offset and the widths you want. Perhaps a retailer such as Vorshlag could commit to selling and promoting them? Just a thought.
We are looking at the potential for helping design/market a new wheel to fit the S197, yes. It would have to be "significantly different" than the hundreds of other S197 fit wheels out there to be worthwhile... lighter, wider, proper hub bore/bolt circle/caliper clearance without spacers, etc. As we're seeing there are a lot of heavy wheels, and a few Nissan/Honda/Subaru/EVO wheels that can be made to fit these cars, but not any real lightweight wheels that are truly made for the S197 (other than the $637, "20 pound" BBS being sold by Rehagen Racing - see below, right).


Left: D-Force 18x10" wheel is 18.7 lbs and $309 retail. Right: This is the only lightweight 18x10" we could find truly built specifically to fit the S197

There's probably a good place to build say.... an 18x10.5" wheel (under $350 and less than 21 lbs) that would fit the S197 correctly and accept wider than 275mm tires. We'd partner with D-Force Wheels, of course. Then again, as soon as we spent the capital to make this new wheel, a company that sounds like FirePack would just copy it with a Chinese built offering and sell it for $10 less... D-Force is also getting into forged and multi-piece wheels - we'll know more about their added capabilities after the 2010 PRI show next month. The Mustang is one car that really needs a dedicated, racer-owned/run, small wheel company like D-Force in its corner making lightweight racing wheels, and Vorshlag has worked with D-Force intensely since 2007 developing new wheel fitments for the BMW community.

Originally Posted by DougNuts View Post
Let me guess......this car will not have an LSx put in?
Ha! For once there is a car out there with a motor worthy enough to NOT need an LSx swap!


Va-goosh!
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:37 PM   #4
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Project Update for Nov 17, 2010: We've had a huge amount of responses (some that I've replied to) on the 4 forums where I have posted this thread on so far, so some of this might look familiar on the thread you're reading. Adding the RoadRaceAutoX.com forum was a big boost in ideas/questions (thanks guys).

Autocross and Time Trial Classing - We've had a lot of folks question my sanity on the decision to run STX for SCCA Solo classing. Not sure what this class is? Read the STX rules here on Jason Rhode's STX blog page. Speaking of that...

http://www.rhoadescamaro.com/build/

Go read that blog and see another racer who's bucking the trend in STX - by using a V8 powered RWD solid axle '67 Camaro Z/28! If you thought our build was crazy, he has pretty good reasoning for his similar-yet-different V8 RWD chassis decision there. Now his 1st gen Camaro STX build, when all is said and done, will likely be 300+ pounds lighter than our 2011 GT, so he might really be onto something. And remember: he beat all the Civics in STS back in 2006 using a RWD Nissan 240SX, so don't just assume that being competitive in STX is impossible in a powerful RWD car. He's proven that winning in unconventional cars is possible, if you develop it well enough. Very cool build, mad prop's to J-Rho! We've been tossing ideas back and forth on both of our cars, and he has clued me into some great ideas already.



Also, our foray into the ST category with the S197 Mustang GT isn't unprecedented. We had a Vorshlag tester (KentK) that helped us in the development phase with our S197 camber plates and AST shocks for this chassis. Somehow Hanchey and I convinced him to try it in STU. He ran the same Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5" ET30 wheels (the rears needed more backspacing) we ran on the EVO X, and he had the STU class limit 285mm wide Dunlops, with the above mentioned AST/Vorshlag suspension. It wasn't half bad in the handful of races he ran in STU, against the Texas STU crowd here, but he didn't stick around long enough to develop it. He moved to ESP class, with big 315mm Hoosier A6 tires, where its done well Nationally - and is still doing well there. The prep level he has on the car now would have sure helped his chances in STU, way back when. So for our 2011 GT in STX... sure, its going to take a lot of testing and prep, but we think its got an outside shot at being competitive. Stock for stock, the '11 GT has +100 whp over the '05-10 GT chassis Kent used in STU, too.

For NASA Time Trial use (where we should have better luck using the proposed 450 whp we think we can make in STX legal trim) we'll use a wider wheel (18x10" or 18x10.5") and a wider tire (285mm) with something like 140-200 treadwear. The 2011 GT was just re-classed in NASA from TTC (2005-2010 GT) to TTB (2011 GT), and has a race weight of 3770. We'll have to ballast up to make that, and it will likely end up in TTA with the mods we have planned. Ugh. We'll talk more about TT prep in a later post - we won't have a track test day even planned until after at least the "Stage 2" (AST 4100) suspension and the "big" wheels are on.


Factory undertray has a flip-down trap door over the oil filter. We changed 8 qts of Mobile1 and Wix filter goodness

Wheel Testing - this has been most of what we've done with the GT the past week, other than the initial oil change @ 250 miles (the stock oiling system takes 8 qts of oil - that's kind of encouraging, actually. Went with 10W30 Mobil1 + Wix filter). I started asking about wheel options before we bought the car, back in this massive Corner-Carvers thread about the Coyote 5.0 motor/2011 GT. The beef I brought up there was the lack of wider, lightweight 18" wheels made for the S197. In my early measurements I could see that the standard GT's 18x8.5" and even the '11 Brembo GT's 19x9" (ET42) wheels were small for the size and weight of this car - and there was tons of room for wider wheels going inboard. The stock 19x9" wheels/tires are boat anchors (57.2 lbs per corner!) and the factory 255/40/19 tires are super tall, too (27.2" tall!).


Left: Stock wheel/tire is 57.2 lbs. Right: factory wheel is 19x9" ET42... that's made in China

continued below
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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continued from above

The problem we quickly noted was that the aftermarket was pushing blingy, heavy, yet narrow wheels for the S197. Most of the Mustang drivers on the non-race forums were choosing cheap, "replica" wheels that are hideously heavy. Or Shelby GT500 wheels (18x9.5"), also very heavy. The only "real S197" direct fit wheel we found in 18x10" that wasn't a Chinese replica was the expensive BBS 18x10" shown below...


Above: The "Boss302R" 18x10" BBS wheel Rehagen sells is 20+ lbs and $637; Its used on some Continental GRAND AM S197 race cars

TireRack lists a bunch of heavy aftermarket stuff for these cars, too: 18x8, 18x8.5", 18x9.5" and a bunch of 19" rubbish - all of it heavy. I won't have a car that uses 19" race tires, no way. There's no reason to have 19" wheels on this car, period. 18"ers clear the brakes, and the tire choices are MUCH better in that diameter, so 18" it is. 19's is simply a styling move, and one I hate. Some of the reason we haven't found many wider 18" options yet, I think, is because the 2011 Brembo package is still "new" and the larger 14" Brembo front brakes are somewhat unknown - not all 18" wheels will clear the big caliper, as we found out.

Where were the Enkeis, Team Dynamics, Volks, WedSports, OZs and the many other lightweight aftermarket wheel options?? Well, digging deeper we noticed that they were all out there, just not listed under the S197 Mustang. Nissan (350Z), Mitsubishi (EVO), Subaru (WRX/STI), and Honda (S2000) all use the same 5 x 4.5" bolt circle (they call it 5 x 114.3mm). And most of the aftermarket wheels use an oversized hub bore, so we can make hub-centric adapter rings to fit the Ford's 70.5mm hub bore. That's good news.



So last week I tried to fit Stuart at AST's 18x10" CCW Classics (6.75" backspacing) from his '05 GT (above, left) onto our '11, but they didn't even come close to clearing the huge front calipers. The Classics aren't known for their awesome caliper clearance, but it did have me a tick worried. Next we pulled an 18x9.5" ET20 (6" backspace) Rota "Grid" Matte Bronze wheel and 275mm tire off of [email protected]'s 350Z (above, right) to see if that cleared the brakes and fenders, but I had my doubts due to the 20mm offset... (sorry for posting this pic twice, but it is more applicable here/now)


(yes, that is photoshopped to be lowered... this is the actual pic)

That first test was pretty enlightening. The gold wheel didn't look that bad on the car, either, but that was not the point. This Rota 18x9.5" ET20 doesn't fit inside the S197 fenders, as feared; the tire was sticking out past the fenders (about 1/2" out back - see below), but it was a good reference point and let us measure the inboard clearance to the suspension. After measuring the 18x9.5" Rota on the car it looks like we could go inboard by 2.5" in back and over 2" in front... meaning an 18x11" up front and 18x12" in back could just barely fit, if you played your offsets right. With enough camber, rolled front fender lips, and a different style front swaybar end link (more on that later). It should be easy to fit an 18x10 on both ends, though. Backspacing of 7-7.5" on the front and 7.5-8.5" on back looks to be ideal for 10"+ wide wheels, from my measurements.



I then borrowed an 18x9.5" ET45 wheel (a TireRack branded Subaru-fit wheel) with a mounted Dunlop 275/35/18 tire from Paul M's '95 Impreza/STi swap project last weekend. Tested it on the GT this past Sunday and it fit much better than the same size'd wheel in ET20 we tried before (under the fenders at both ends). If I had to choose a street wheel without the need for maximum width/grip or goofy class rules that limit us to little 9" wide wheels, the 18x9.5" ET45 would be the obvious choice for the S197.

So the Subaru/Nissan 350Z fitments are what we ending up searching on, as there seemed to be many more wheel choices from companies like Enkei. Hub bore is different, but like I said, we can make a hub-centric adapter ring. I'm trying to get an 18x9" in at 18 lbs or less, so Enkei is the first obvious option we're looking at (NT03+M, RPF-1 or PF01 models). Matt found an Enkei RPF-1 in 18x9" ET35 (6.4" backspace) which might just barely fit (18.4 lbs), and they also have a PF01 (new for '09) with ET45 (6.77" backspacing) that's sub-19 lbs (the 18x8.5" shows to be "18 lbs", no weight on the 9"). The ET45 will fit inboard better, obviously (nearly identical to the stock '11 Brembo 19x9" ET42 wheel). In the 18x10" size the choices got much slimmer... the most backspacing we could find was 7" (18x10 ET38) for this bolt pattern. So we ordered one of the 18x9" ET45 in the Enkei FP01 and one 18x10 ET38 in the Enkei RPF1 yesterday from TireRack and we'll test fit them when they show up next week and report back.



We talked to the nice folks at Team Dynamics, who were willing to custom make the 5x4.5"/70.5mm hub bore in one of their 18x10 wheels in one of 3 offsets (ET40, 52 and 56 - all Porsche fitments normally in 5-130mm), all of which would fit much better ion the rear but might require a small spacer up front. Weight was the killer - 28.5 lbs for the 18x10s.

Tire height is the next issue. The stock Mustang 255/40/19 tires on the 19" wheels are a staggering 27.2" tall. The 265/35/18 we're thinking of using for STX class is only 25.3" tall, which is a huge difference (for gearing, CG height, etc). Not many choices there, as most of the ST-legal/competitive 265s are all this same size. For the street a closer match to stock is a 285/35/18 tire, which is 25.9" tall. Those probably will go on the 18x10" wheels for street/track use. For a variety of reasons (racer recommendations, price, compound, & sidewall style) we're looking at the Hankook RS-3 tire for initial testing. After being out of ST category for a year a lot has changed... we probably need to test the same sized tire in Yokohama AD08, Dunlop, Kumho XS, and Toyo R1R, if not more. I doubt many/any of these have been tested on a car this heavy, either.



Last night I worked late on SolidWorks and revised our Vorshlag S197 camber/caster plate drawings (rev 3 for all of the main parts), so we're having a short run of these made in steel. It will eventually be released as an aluminum plate, after I have time to add the "Vorshlag" logo, model engraving, hash marks, and crunch the numbers. We'll test the plates on the stock springs/suspension next week, then try it with Eibach lowering springs (I think that's going to likely become a popular and affordable S197 package - Eibach springs and Vorshlag plates). I'll rate the stock '11 GT Brembo spring rates on our Longacre spring rater, too (see this Spring Archive for similar data).

I'll stop there for now. We've got a lot more to share., and keep those suggestions, questions and ideas coming.

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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Update for Nov 19, 2010: Not a lot of "work" to update on here, but we did get the baseline dyno run completed so I figured I'd share that, plus some bench racing on the exhaust, and some more wheel weight testing.

The guys at Dallas Performance were kind enough to squeeze in a quick 3-pull dyno test on our GT late yesterday. This was using their state-of-the-art, 2008 model, Dynojet® "Eddy Current", loaded in-ground 224xLC chassis dyno. They just moved to a new (and massive) location where they've built a dedicated dyno cell. Its as clean as a surgical room in there - and everywhere else in their shop. It is literally the nicest looking, most well equipped tuner/fab shop I've seen in all of Dallas/Ft Worth. They do some amazing high powered builds there, with 1000-1400 whp twin turbo V8s and V10s being the norm.

Our 2011 GT was the first stock Coyote 5.0 powered car they'd dyno'd so far. They told me that the most power they'd seen from a bone stock 2010 Camaro V8 was 345 whp, and a 370 whp pull from a stock 6.1L Hemi Challenger was the highest of any modern, stock "pony car" they have tested to date. Well the numbers from our 2011 GT beat all of those pony cars...

Here's the video & dyno chart (all pulls within 3 whp):


Click for baseline dyno video




We were a little disappointed with the peak 378 whp figure, as we'd seen a number of '11 GTs post 385-395 whp pulls, bone stock. We tried to rationalize the number on the low mileage on the motor (580 miles at the time of the test), or the fact that I drove the car around all day and didn't let it cool down before we dyno'd it (heat soaked), but in reality I screwed up and told them to dyno it in the wrong gear! For consistency and the least drivetrain loss, you typically dyno a car in the 1:1 gear, which is usually 4th gear in most 4, 5 and 6 speed transmissions. All Tremec T56 cars ever built had a 4th gear of 1:1, which is normal. But of course the 2011 GT doesn't have a Tremec, it has the Getrag MT82 6-spd (see the specs on the 6-spd).

6-speed manual transmission (MT82 Getrag) gear ratios:
  • 1st = 3.66
  • 2nd = 2.43
  • 3rd = 1.69
  • 4th = 1.32 (oops! We dyno'd in 4th, thinking it was 1:1)
  • 5th = 1.00
  • 6th = 0.65
  • Final drive 3.31:1
So not using 5th might account for maybe... -3-8 whp or so? A small but measurable amount. We'll dyno it in 5th after the next round of mods, and we'll do a 4th vs 5th gear pull to see the difference, then. We have the headers we want to use picked out and we're rounding up parts for the custom after-header system we're going to build in-house so hopefully this won't be too long from now.

We have a ways to go on the 450 whp goal, but I still think its doable. Tuners are finding 10-20 whp on otherwise stock 5.0's, just in air/fuel/spark tweaks, too. DP is looking into getting the software for HPTuners or one of his other tuning packages to be able to tune our car, but I won't bother until after we have the updated I/H/E or at least the underdrive pulleys. Nobody else tunes our cars but Taylor @ DP. He programs powerful yet reliable tunes. We'll raise the rev limit at that time to 7500 rpm, up from the 6800 rpm the car is stuck with now (was supposed to be 7000 stock).

The I/H/E mods (intake/headers/exhaust) currently planned include some sort of aftermarket cold air intake (need to research the various 2011 offerings available) and of course full length headers + custom exhaust. A biggest single gain will likely be found in the headers - the stock exhaust manifolds units are short, tortured messes of tubes. There's a lot of 2011 GT header offerings out there already, but I plan on using American Racing Header's stainless steel full lengths:



Luckily they have some of the best header products on the market and their 2011 GT 5.0 full length header options are amongst the best. They claim a 32 whp increase, using the stock mid-pipe/mufflers/no tuning. So somewhere around 410 whp is what we'd be looking at after installing just their headers, without any tuning or other exhaust mods. The baseline number they had was almost identical to ours, 379 whp, and they reached 411 whp with the headers.

The problem I see with using theirs or anyone's full length header design and catted X-pipe is the location of the converter. Here's the STX/STU specific rule:

STX, STU – Any high flow catalytic converter(s) are allowed, but
must attach within six inches of the original unit. Multiple catalytic
converters may be replaced by a single unit. The inlet of the single
replacement converter may be located no further downstream
than 6” along the piping flow path from the original exit of the final
OE converter.
Here's the stock converter location on our 2011 (there's only 2)



So my thought is to buy the headers, throw some header wrap on them, then mock them up in the car. Take the measurements and see where the cats can be placed. Then we can build our own after-header exhaust with high flow cats further upstream, maybe even modify headers/collectors a bit if needed. We can then push the high flow cat exactly 6" back from the stock unit. Its more work, and less than ideal for ultimate power gains, but its the rules. We'll at least save weight on the custom X-pipe and rear exhaust portions over the pre-made units from the aftermarket, which always use heavier wall tubing.



On the custom X-pipe and after-cat portions of the exhaust system we'll be using thin walled, 20-22 gauge stainless mandrel bends & tubing, with a few V-bands in there to make everything easily removable. I thought briefly about making an aluminum after-cat exhaust, for the lightest possible weight, but the longevity would be severely compromised and it would be significantly louder. Need to keep the tested sound number under 100 dB (SCCA limit), but with cats it shouldn't be a problem. We'll do our own before-and-after exhaust sound tests here, as usual.

Not sure what mufflers to use, yet. Just read Andy Hollis' "Sounding Off" muffler test article in the Dec 2010 issue of Grassroots Motorsports and the best results came from the Burns mufflers, so I cannot ignore those pricey little buggers. I really like Flowmaster's products and tend to use their mufflers on a lot of our builds, but I want to keep it very light and all stainless. With the cats required in STX it won't need as much muffler to meet sound regs as we used in DSP on the E46, so we might go with some sort of lightweight race muffler instead of FM's larger chambered style or the new glass-pack style Hushpower units. Since there's 2 big spots for the stock mufflers all the way at the back, that's likely where we'll end up with ours. Meaning: a full length exhaust (not a dumped/shorter run). If we can use a bullet style muffler we could place them where the stock resonators are, and use turn-downs for a shorter/lighter system.



The first two real "test wheels" purchased for the Mustang also arrived today. Both Enkei wheels were immediately weighed, with some surprising results:



So the 18x10" RPF1 was lighter than the 18x9" FP01. Weird, right? But we knew the FP01 would be heavier in the same size, just a bit surprised that a one inch wider RFP1 would be almost a pound lighter. Still, at 19.3 lbs the FP01 is already at least 7 pounds lighter than the stock wheel.

My wife stole the Mustang today so we'll test fit wheels later this weekend and post up about if/how they fit next time. I have a feeling the more curved spoke FP01 will have substantially more caliper clearance than the flatter spoke RPF1.

OK, I'm going to get back to work. Until next time,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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Project update for Nov 22, 2010: I'll start with some replies to questions, some requests for ideas/advice on upcoming mods, then I'll move on to the wheel test I did yesterday on the 18x9 and 18x10 test wheels.

Originally Posted by Tob View Post
Either allow headers or don't. I don't see how they picked the number 6. Why not 7, 10, or 14? Floorpan stampings and engine combinations can leave plenty or no room at all. Why not use a number that allows most any effort the same opportunity in fitting a long tube header?
Agreed. At least the STX and STU classes can do away with 4 cats and replace them with 2, of any type (not OE/CARB stamped units of the same number as stock, like in ST/STR/STS classes). There are rumbles of making STX/STU adopt the lame cat rules in these lower classes, but that's not until 2012, at the soonest. I hope.

Originally Posted by Tob View Post
You might consider whether any (muffler) choice greatly increases drone. There are plenty that don't. There are also plenty that do. Maybe I'm getting older, but I much prefer a quieter system that emits a simple, deep, burble, as opposed to an all-out wail.

Yup. I'm old.
Agreed. I've owned many Mustangs over the years that had oppressive exhaust drone, and I'm also getting old. And my wife daily drive's the Mustang (but she's pretty a dedicated racer, so she has mucho tolerance). When I worked at a Mustang tuner shop over a decade ago for a short stint the head tuner there (Sen-Roy, who used to post here a lot) would do tricks with varying the muffler case size on each side of a dual exhaust Mustang. It usually killed the drone. If it gets bad I'll swap out one muffler and try that.

Originally Posted by Shortcutsleeping
A quick word on coatings....if you coat, don't wrap. (his coater) said it would not help and would not be good longterm for the coating. Check with your coater and see what they say.

Costas
cars and such...
Yea, I think coating and wrapping a stainless header is probably overkill. Now I'm leaning towards just using header wrap on the stainless headers only, and not blowing $250-350 (and weeks of time!) on coating.


http://www.summitracing.com/parts/DEI-010130/

I have this 100' x 2" roll of DEI header wrap in my "shopping cart" as well as stainless steel zip ties, DEI exhaust wrap (for wiring), some long front wheel studs (for potential wheel spacer use up front - see more below), and a pair of these mufflers:


http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FLO-843048/

I did some searching and found, for the first time, real stainless steel chambered Flowmaster Series 44 mufflers. There isn't room for a small/resonator style muffler before the axle, so I might as well go with a "real" chambered muffler out at the rear bumper (these don't have packing that burns/wears out). I don't want this car stupid loud with $600 worth of Burns mufflers and dumps before the axle, either. Sure, it'll cost us a few more pounds to go with a chambered style muffler and full length tail pipes, but these FM 44's are shown to be only 7-8 pounds each (not 13 pounds like the much larger case sized Flowmaster Series 50 I used on my E36 M3). We'll see how they sound, test the sound levels, test the performance hit with and without them on the dyno, and weigh the mufflers before they even go on. These 3" type 44's are smaller than the stock mufflers so they should easily fit in the stock locations. The stock over-the-axle pipes are so compromised and crimped down to clear the panhard support (by inches) that we should hopefully see some small gains here, as well.


Stock muffler case is 15.5" long. The FM type 44 muffler case is 13" long


http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ARP-100-7722/

If anyone has experience with these wheel studs, please chime in. These ARP 1/2-20 x 3.3" long studs show to be made for 2005-2010 Mustangs ("front only"), so its a gamble if they'll fit the 2011. And at $11.36/each they are just a wee bit pricey. Probably not enough market to make it worthwhile to make our on wheel studs, though. We might need these long studs for use with the 18x10" track wheels (see below).

Originally Posted by Tob View Post
Terry, I really enjoy your perspective. You stated your goals, continue to research, make sound and logical choices, then verify results. Keep up the good work and I hope the car is capable of meeting your demands.

Tob
Thanks - we are always trying new stuff here, and I'm sure some of it won't work and we'll have to back up and try again. I like having the input from lots of experienced racers, because it limits the "dead ends" a good bit.

continued below
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:49 PM   #8
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continued from above

Originally Posted by SoftBatch View Post
To save some weight you may be able to get away with just the cats. When I had the '05 GT I had a muffler delete exhaust with stock headers and cats and was never above 93dB at the local autocross course. I know it's a different engine and exhaust configuration but there is also a big difference between 93 and 100 dB.
Yea, I have heard a "muffler delete" exhaust on Kent's ESP-prepped S197. Its still pretty loud. With full length headers and a 7500 rpm redline on this Coyote motor, it might get a bit too loud. I don't want to be "that annoying guy with the loud car" at events.

Originally Posted by Leo_DOHC_GTS View Post
We have been spinning our car past 7500 with a 8000 rpm limit. The car only picks up power beyond 7000 with a good CAI (we have a JLT) and just an off road H-pipe we see over 400 SAE on the cars we have tuned.

The shop car has; CAI - ported heads - long tube AR headers - X-pipe - resonator delete - flowmaster mufflers - 1 peice DS - RST clutch and flywheel. With SCT software we have gotten as much as 435 RWHP SAE.
Ahh, some real power numbers from an S197 tuner. Thanks for replying. I noticed when we dyno'd the car it wasn't really losing power yet at 6800 rpm, so I could see it gaining a bit more up top with the right tweaks. I'm still planning on an eventual 7500 rpm redline. With the right tire choice (we've been looking at so many) in STX it could mean a 73 mph 2nd gear speed. Virtually assured to never have to shift.

We cannot do the 1-piece driveshaft (the stock unit is a huge 2-piece unit that looks very heavy), ported heads, or the lightweight clutch/flywheel, but the rest is fair game. We need to look at the CAI offerings soon, as I'm getting tired of how quiet, stock and slow this car is already. If anyone has experience with a Cold Air Intake on a 2011 GT, especially with before/after dyno numbers, please chime in. I saw a couple at SEMA already, but many weren't ready yet.



OK, onto the latest round of wheel testing.



The two Enkei test wheels arrived Friday but I didn't get a chance to test them on the GT until Sunday. The 18x9" ET45 FP01 fit fine. This wheel bolted right onto the front and rear, with ample clearance to the caliper and strut (front) and to the inner sheet metal (rear). Even without any camber and this 4x4 ride height the outer lip of the 18x9 wheel fit within the stock fender confines.



As they should - they are almost the same width/offset as the stock 19x9 ET42 wheel. In fact these Enkei 18x9's will be 3mm more inboard than stock, which is good - I like to run narrow track widths for autocross cars when I can, to make slaloms that much easier to navigate. Its worth a little time, as we've seen in testing where we time a car through a set gate length slalom, then again with wider cone offsets by just a few inches. You can see the big end link stud that interferes with some wheel/tire clearance when you push the wheel inboard. If it comes down to it we'll just cut/shorten this stud.



So the 18x10" ET38 Enkei RPF1 wasn't quite as easy to fit. The flatter spokes of the RPF1 didn't clear the caliper on the front, as we kind of expected, and some of you warned about.



Not a huge shock - so I tried it on the rear and it looked good. There's a good 1.5" more inboard room, too.



So back to the front with the RPF1 18x10". I didn't have any 5x4.5" wheel spacers, so I started stacking washers to get the proper clearance. Turned out about 7mm of spacer is all that's needed to clear the caliper with the spokes on the RPF1 up front. Then I counted turns on the lug nuts and had just a hair over 10 threads of engagement... which equates to 1/2" (which is 1 diameter). That's just barely enough, and still only afforded about .040" of clearance at the caliper (but the stock wheel only has about .050" clearance here). Hmm.



Then there was the outer fender clearance. With the already wide 18x10" and now a 7mm spacer. It looks... well, its damn hard to tell if it will clear at full droop and with no camber, even hard to show in pictures. With the stock ride height and stock camber, I'd guess no. But we're going to be lowering the car a LOT (2-3"), which will inherently add negative camber and tire clearance. And then with some more camber adjusted in at the plates, that's more outer wheel clearance we'd be adding.

So for now we'll punt on the 18x10" wheels, and retest this wheel again once we have the car lowered and a 285mm tire mounted to it (I've got plenty of dead Hoosiers in this size we can mount and test with). It looks like we'd need a spacer of some sort, which I can draw up and machine easily enough if it comes to it. So I'll get the longer wheel studs installed, just in case. We'll also get the remaining 3 wheels in the 18x9" set, then order the tires (I'll discuss the size and model in an upcoming post). I'll be buying all of the stuff mentioned in this post in the next 24-48 hours, so if you have suggestions/alternatives, speak up now.

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:50 PM   #9
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Project update for Jan 6, 2011: Crap, more than a month since my last update?! Well we've been busy and have done all sorts of testing and multiple camber plate and spring installs on the Mustang since then. Plus we installed the long wheel studs and some other bits. I was going to break this into 3 smaller posts, but I'm so far behind on so many threads I'll do one big brain dump to catch up here


Initial check of the stock alignment - click to enlarge


First, on December 10th, 2010, we got a "snap shot alignment" at COBB Tuning Plano to check the stock alignment specs. See the pic above. These guys were super fast and efficient - its THE place to get a performance alignment in north Dallas. Anyway, the front had about -0.5° camber and +6.7° caster, as delivered from the factory. Not too shabby; that's a lot more caster than I thought it might have, and about all I suspect it will need.



Next we installed the 3rd version of the S197 Vorshlag camber plates and some OEM style upper spring perches (one of our existing BMW-based perches works perfectly, and this allows us to use the double row radial bearing on an OEM style spring - win!) onto the stock struts and springs, to verify that the ride height was unaffected (it didn't alter it even 1/16" of an inch from stock), and the car got down to -2° camber up front.



We could easily add more caster (I didn't feel the need) and a tick more negative camber at this ride height (maybe 1/2 a degree more). To reach the extra camber range we'd needed a smaller "normal" height and diameter M14-2.0 (goofy thread pitch we don't already stock) locking nylock nut, as the stock nut limits inboard camber travel. I've got them on order and will offer these for use on OEM struts with our plates, like we do for most others. The stock strut top nut is a MASSIVE thing that takes up extra room.



Next we put the brand new 2011-specific Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs on the car on December 20th, and man... what a difference that made. This dropped the Mustang a hair over 1" at both ends, and the drop naturally bumped the front camber 1/2 a degree more negative (to -2.5°), with the same camber plate top setting as before. We rated the stock rear springs as well as the Eibach rears, and of course the lowering springs were progressive. I need to make a fixture to located the MASSIVE diameter of the bottom of both the stock and Eibach front springs onto our spring rater, in order to hold them secure while rating. But trust me (after compressing both multiple times to do camber plate installs), the fronts are both SUPER soft. I'll post up the stock & Eibach spring rates/weights/length numbers when I get caught up.



Of course the Mustang looks a LOT better with this lower ride height... duh. But it still rides nicely, too (the rates on these are still pretty soft - your grandmother wouldn't even complain). After driving it around for several weeks my wife says drives almost exactly like stock (it should have been an optional spring set from the factory!), with of course an inch less bump travel. I drove it again today (I almost never see this car) dropping off some late order deliveries, and I was LATE as hell so I was driving it like a complete a-hole. I managed to bottom the rear suspension just once, just slightly, and I was driving over some nasty bumpy roads (not always on 4 wheels). So it was highly unusual conditions, heh. I would recommend these Eibach lowering springs to anyone on a budget with a 2011 GT that wants to get rid of the 4x4 look - you can't spend ~$260 in any other way and make a bigger visual improvement on these cars, period. It won't make the car faster on a race track, other than the lower cg, but it will make it "look right". We sell these springs, so I figured we'd test them before going onto coilovers - and I'm glad we did.



Somewhere in there the longer (and expensive) ARP wheel studs were installed in the front hubs. This is in preparation of installing some ~7mm wheel spacers, to test fit the 18x10 RPF-1s properly. Woo, the first "racey" looking parts!



AJ pulled the hubs off the car and did these the right way, using our hydraulic press. About 45 minutes of work. We've also had the brake lines off the car, twice, getting stainless braided lines built to order. They look so money, and fit perfectly. I had the rear lines made 1" longer than stock, since the stock rear lines were being yanked a bit at full droop, from the factory (facepalm). We will make one more refinement to one bracket and offer them on our website for all 2005-2011 Mustangs, soon. Did I mention they are red and blingy? Pedal feel is of course excellent. I'll post up pics when I've had time to upload the studio shots.


Put those shiny bits on the left.... onto that car on the right... do it now!

The S197 AST 4100 coilovers are going on next. Hanchey at AST-USA is putting the magic valving tweaks on our set (after they get back from Daytona GA testing) and we should have these beauties installed early next week. The Hypercos we're trying out first (somewhat soft, at both ends) are here and ready to go on as well. And our complete set of 18x9" Enkei FP01 wheels and 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 tires (remember: STX class limits tire and wheel widths) should be here on Monday. Hopefully we'll have time to get everything on, and the car re-aligned, before Costas and I bomb down to Harris Hill Road for the NASA instructor clinic track day event next Saturday.

I'm so excited to get back on track! I haven't raced anything since October 16th - even though I was at the SCCA TMS road course event on the 17th, I didn't get to run the 330 before "someone" blew up the motor - and I'm going INSANE. We'll grab some data via the DL-1 and some in-car video with the new auto-x tires and AST suspension on. I love that little track, even if it is a bit bumpy these days (not that we'll notice much). We'll post up more data and vids shortly after. The first official 2011 NASA Texas track event is in 3 weeks, at MSR-Houston, and there's a Pro Solo and SCCA National Tour in Texas coming up rather quickly. I haven't even bought my "now STX legal?!" giant rear wing & splitter, or nasty full length headers yet, either. Lots to do!

Cheers,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:50 PM   #10
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Project Update for Jan 11, 2011: This is a quick one, and its all about bling (preserving the factory finish and headlight glass). Costas came by last week and installed a full XPEL clear film paint protection kit, since the Mustang was still showroom fresh and unscathed by cone damage or rock chips. He installed the rocker panel kit, the "bikini" hood and front fender kits, the side mirror film, the under door handle film, and the door edge guard film kits.


Me and AJ did some Meguiers Quick Detail clean-up and let Costas take over


Costas is a master of patience, having never installed a film kit to this chassis it all went on and off several times before he locked it down


Once the clear film was on and dried its hard to even see where it starts/stops. Invisible protection.

After finishing the body protection film Costas installed the headlight cover kits.

That are tinted.

...Yellow....





I know its not going to please everyone's tastes... but it will keep the rock chips from the glass housings, and it is distinctive. We had a generally very positive response to the yellow XPEL headlight covers on the EVO X, so I figured... what the hell? And in ALMS the yellow XPEL light covers signified a different class of race cars, which was helpful in night races. So it has... a racing tie-in, sort of.


Amy and I did the headlight install on the EVO, dry, which still took us ~90 minutes. Costas made it look so easy this time

It looks a bit unusual in this indoor/fluorescent lighting, but in person it is more subdued and kinda... neat. I dunno.


Costas said "the red and yellow matches your shirt", so somehow that made it ok?

Just didn't want to distract you guys when you saw pics from this coming weekend's track event, with the yellow headlights... Just get the "Ahh! what have you done!" complaints out now.



Stuart @ AST-USA put the magic valving on our 4100 AST kit today and its being installed tomorrow. The wheels/tires are scheduled to arrive tomorrow also. Next thread update will be much more technical, with 90% less bling.

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:51 PM   #11
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Project Update Jan 18, 2011: We got a lot accomplished on the Mustang over the past week, including installing the first set of AST 4100s, our first set of Hyperco springs, another set of Vorshlag camber plates, and the 18x9" Enkeis and 265/40/18 Yokohama ADVAN AD08s. Then we had the car aligned again at COBB and got it ready to take to the track for Saturday Jan 15th, where Costas and I ran it at the NASA Instructor clinic. Busy week... let's catch up.

AST 4100 on S197 install gallery = here



Stuart at AST-USA put the valving mojo on this set of 4100s, based on the spring rates we discussed and experience he has on his own S197 with ASTs. We picked them up Wednesday and AJ started the install on by getting the Mustang on the lift. He quickly removed the stock front struts assemblies (these had the Eibach lowering springs + Vorshlag plates - which we left intact) and then started on the rear, so I could make a spring perch adapter for the back.



Normally this AST 4100 S197 set comes with a machined black Nylon rear spring adapter, but they were out of stock and only had this set of shocks on hand from a previous test set. No worries, I got the measurements and machined two spring adapters on the manual lathe. Took me too long but I finally got the 3" OD Nylon cylinder whittled down to size, and they slide over the alignment cups on the rear axle. The AST adjustable ride height platforms fit over the Nylon adapter pieces, and the 2.5" ID x 8" x 200#/in Hyperco springs fit onto those, and slide inside the upper OEM spring alignment stub.



As convenient as the inverted rear single adjustable shocks are to adjust on the current 4100 S197 sets, we're working on a new set-up with AST-USA that will go to a standard arrangement + the body will get shorter; this all will give us more stroke at a lowered ride height. We set-up the ride height at the rear to 15.5", same as with the Eibach Pro lowering springs, for now.



Up front we went with a 60mm x 7" x 450 #/in Hyperco spring and a set of our camber/caster plates + 60mm double row bearing upper perches, all placed on the standard 4100 S197 strut. We set the ride height at 15", same as before. We're also working with AST-USA on a new 4100 strut arrangement that will keep the same stroke but allow a 1" lower ride height up front, as well as a double adjustable that is completely different. Look for several more AST shock designs to be tested on this car throughout 2011.

continued below
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:52 PM   #12
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continued from above

Once the ASTs were on we mounted up we scheduled an alignment check at COBB Tuning Plano for Thursday. I took the car by there and they were amazed that AJ had eyeballed the caster, camber and toe almost spot on. They just had to tweak the toe and we were done in minutes. The car ended up with -2.8° camber, +7.2° caster, and 3/16" total toe out (that was probably a bit excessive, in hindsight, and we'll bring it in to 0" toe for future track events). The ride quality was exceptional, as always, even with radically more front spring rate. We left the rear rates low on purpose, to hopefully help put power down for auto-x use. We might end up with two different spring rates for track and auto-x use - testing different rates at both types of events will show us more, which we'll share.


(click alignment sheet thumbnail above to see larger version)

When I got back from the alignment the tires and wheels had arrived from Tire Rack, and I only had to get one loose tire mounted to the "Test fit" wheel we had ordered earlier. AJ got those mounted up and they looked good.


Click the wheel and tire pics for larger versions

Friday I dropped off dealer orders around town in the Mustang to hopefully get the silicone mold release off the tires, then drove an hour across town at days end to head to Costas' place - they weren't very scrubbed but oh well, we'd get them good and scrubbed in at the track... right?



Wrong - it rained for the next 24 straight hours. It started raining as soon as I arrived at Costas', and we had to load the car onto his borrowed open trailer in the rain. Since we had a simple "in state" tow of only 4 hours, and we weren't bringing much in the way of gear/tires/spares (1 day event), we just used his buddy's open trailer and Costas' truck to tow down with - instead of hauling out my 38' enclosed gooseneck or his 28' enclosed tag trailer for this simple day at the track. Saves a ton on gas and towing with a little 18' open trailer is a total BREEZE compared to either of our big enclosed rigs. We could have driven the car down, but with so many new parts we didn't want to risk some silly failure sidelining us, and we had to be back in Dallas by 6 pm that day.

So we left DFW at 4 am Saturday morning and got down to San Marcos at 7:45am, unloaded, and were ready for the NASA instructor clinic by 8. It rained the entire way down and all day at Harris Hill Road, plus it was cold as balls. We still had fun, even if we didn't get any meaningful testing/data/video on the Mustang, due to the crappy conditions (standing water in most turns, visibility was poor, and grip was non-existent). Costas was an "instructor trainer" and I was there as an instructor trainee, hoping to get signed off for NASA (which could potentially give me a little flexibility at NASA events to take people for ride-thrus). The event was a blast (event write-up located here; picture gallery here) and we both got some good (soaking wet) track time in the Mustang.



Costas took around his trainees in the first 2 of 3 training scenarios in the car while I rode with "mock students" in their cars during the same tests, trying to point out their driving errors (on purpose), proper lines, etc. In the 3rd scenario I drove a "mock student" (Costas) around at 80% speed in my car to show the proper lines, techniques, etc. It was easy and fun, but just not that exciting due to the severely reduced speeds (rain + training). Luckily, after lunch they let us all loose on the track for a fun session, which ended up being about 35 minutes of quicker lapping in the rain. That session made the day!


The Yokohama AD08s were extremely planted in the wet

The Mustang was a blast to drive, even in the wet. 4th gear around the whole track (3rd just caused wheel spin), and with the AD08s and ASTs the car could seemingly pass anything out there. Lots and lots of fun. Big thanks to Costas for towing the car down, shooting so many pictures (430?!) in the rain, and for signing me off on the instructor deal.


There were no fewer than six 2010-2011 Mustangs at H2R that day

So next up - we've got the first real NASA Texas TT/HPDE/race event in 2 weeks (MSR-Houston), which we plan to attend, but the first Dallas area autocross we can make isn't until Feb 27th. We're looking at everyone's schedule and there's literally 4 autocross groups with events the same weekend as the first NASA event - damn it, why does this happen every year??

Anyway, lots more changes are in store for the Mustang. The splitter we're using is supposed to be available in about 2 weeks, and we have several other (STX legal) aero parts planned during the same time frame. Then headers + exhaust + cold air + tuning.

Stay tuned,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:53 PM   #13
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Project Update for Jan 24, 2011: The first NASA Time Trial event we're running in is this weekend at MSR-Houston, so its time to look at TT classing for the Mustang. Of course we had been keeping track of everything in our spreadsheet for this car, but I wanted to share it with everyone, hopefully to help people see how "Easy" it is to class a car with NASA TT. The rules and classing for NASA TT are a bit confusing, some would even say very confusing, but the basic classes go like this (from slowest to fastest): TTF -> TTA. But its nothing at all like SCCA classes/categories. Its.. "simpler"... you just find your base class, add up points for every mod you've done, and figure out where the car goes.

So to start the classing process, we have to know where we begin. Each car is assigned a "base classing", some with penalty points already assessed, and then you can count the additional "points" for any modifications done. Each class has 19 points worth of mods you can do, then you bump up to the next class at +20, and if you keep adding points you might go to the one past it. There's a set power-to-weight ratio limit within each class, and all sorts of modifiers for the power-to-weight number, too. Once you bump out of TTA you go up into the TTS>TTU>TTR classes, which do away with all of the "points" and are strictly power-to-weight ratio based classes. Clear yet?

Let's start out with the base classing for the "S197" chassis (2005-2012+) Mustang GT:
  • '05-06 Mustang GT is TTD**
  • '07-10 GT is TTC
  • '11 GT is TTB
The two asterisks after the TTD class above means the '05-06 GT starts out in TTD class but begins its tally with +14 penalty points (each asterisk are worth +7), so that car can only do +5 worth of mods before going up to TTC.

So the 2011 GT with the new 412hp 5.0L got bumped up a full class from the 2010 GT, and the minimum race weight jumped dramatically to 3770 lbs (with driver). That series of base classing changes, to me, seemed to coincide with the power and suspension updates that the Shelby GT350 had for '07-08, which was an optional package those years. So the full class bump (a huge change) for the '11 GT had to include the power + the Brembo brakes, right?

Wrong. I got the bad news on the NASA forums today about more points assigned to our Mustang. This little tid-bit isn't even in the class rules, but is noted at the bottom of an online form for TTA-TTF classing:
Proceed to calculate your vehicle’s modification points assessment for up-classing purposes. Fill in the blanks with the number of modification points assessed for each item that affects your vehicle. You may leave the lines blank next to modifications that your vehicle does not have. Proceed to Page 2, and calculate all modification points’ assessments, then fill in total points below. ALL Factory Options and Parts Not on the Base Trim Model Must Be Assessed Points!!!
Somehow after 4 years of NASA TT racing I had missed this little note on the classification form about "factory options". This means that the following factory installed but optional bits on my 2011 GT will be assessed "points" for NASA classing - even if they are just cosmetic changes.


Left: The optional Brembo brakes are +2 points. Right: This front grill insert is is +3 points

Factory installed options, not on the "base trim level model", that will now count for mod points
  • Rear wing delete = +4
  • The optional 4-pedestal factory GT rear wing = +4
  • A 71" wide multi-piece CF wing with a huge cord, up to 8" above the hoodline, and 12" tall end plates = also +4?!
  • Brembo brake package = +2
  • GT500 rear valance (now optional on all GTs) = +1 (planned)
  • CS/GT front lower grill insert (now optional on all GTs) = +3 (planned)
  • Boss302 LS front splitter = +6 (with the CS grill insert included)

Left: This is the base GT rear "wing". Zero points. Right: Ordering without that is +4!

Here's our current list of what I consider "real modifications:
  • 265/40/18 Yokohama AD08 = +2 (for 140-200 treadwear)
  • AST 4100s = +3
  • Coilover Springs = +2
  • Camber plates = +0
But we have many more mods planned, which was pushing us to the limit of TTB. Now add in the cosmetic changes we had planned and we're going to be well into TTA. This new twist is pretty crazy, and I'm pretty disgusted with the NASA TT rules at the moment, but that's the way it is written. Now every time I hear a NASA racer make fun of the SCCA's thick rulebook, I can point out how retarded it is that a factory optional wing delete counts the same number of points as a massive CF race wing.

All of these planned mods are legal for STX class, plus many more - and that class is essentially the slowest of all Street Touring classes (ie: STX cars still get beat by '89 civics with 100 hp). Doing some basic shocks + springs + these "factory option" mods above would kick the car up into TTA... which is home to C5 Z06 Corvettes on Hoosiers, and highly modified cars like supercharged Miatas with giant aero, at least here in Texas. So now at least we know all we need to account for to stay within TTB, right? Oh no, there's more.

There's the set power-to-weight ratio limit for TTB that we have to stay under
  • Minimum Competition Weight for 2011 Mustang GT: 3770lbs with driver
  • Tested Wheel Horsepower: 367 whp (corrected) It tested 378 uncorrected, but that doesn't matter. It was a chilly day.
  • TTB Min Weight/Power Ratio: 10.25 lbs/hp

The Mustang currently weighs 3563 lbs, with zero fuel. Add +200 pounds for me and +50 pounds for fuel, and its around 3813 lbs. That gives me 372 whp before it would have to go up to TTA. Are we done yet? Nope.

Then there's the adjustment factors... see Appendix C (page 52-54)
  • For running a smaller tire 275-250 mm DOT = +.4
  • For having a competition weight 3800-3899 lbs = +.65
  • Total adjustments = -1.05 (they show + when they mean -, but their example calculations show it correctly)
  • 10.25 lbs/hp - 1.05 = 9.2 adjusted lbs/hp ratio.
  • At 3813 lbs / 9.2 = 414 whp max for TTB for this car

And I assure you, someone will contend something in all of those calculations and rule interpretations in this post. "Its so easy" that it takes spreadsheets and multiple interpretations of rules to even class a car in TT. So now I see why the SCCA ruleset is made by a committee and is very carefully worded. There's less room for interpretation and the try to close these odd loopholes where a giant wind tunnel tested wing counts the same as a stock rear spoiler, or no wing at all. I have a new respect for the SEB today, after seeing this mess. You won't hear me singing their praises often, either.

So we've got some thinking to do. Every single mod we have planned has to be assessed for STX legality, NASA TT points, and if anything lowers the weight or ups the horsepower at all, we have to re-check the power to weight ratios. We know its unlikely that the 3800 pound race weight RWD Mustang is going to burn up the STX class, but TTA? We'd get killed on little 265mm street tires against typical TTA cars. Sure, going to TTA would give us another +19 in mods before we'd kick up to TTS, so we could go to a wider wheel and tire package, like go to giant Hooisers, just for TT use. Two sets of race wheels/tires, one of which is a gumball Hoo$iers? Then we could run a "Real Wing" for NASA and different aero bits for STX. And on and on...

The slippery slope begins. Fun, fun!



I was talking with Stuart from AST-USA today, who has an '06 GT (above, left), and his car starts at TTD** (as does Kent's shown above, right) so he could do a HUGE amount of suspension/wheel/Hoosiers/aero mods to his '06 and still stay in TTC class, whereas I've got to be really careful or my car bumps into TTA - even on street tires. So check your base classing, read the rules, and have the TT director check your classing form. And still, just be ready to have someone to contest it. One of our customers had a car that set some TT track records... never had a competitor protest, until a NASA director saw it and assessed something like +12 points to the front bumper, which was an aftermarket but purely cosmetic piece. All of his records and results were expunged. So sometimes, you never know where you should be classed with NASA.

Sorry to piss and moan so much in this "update", I'm just really frustrated with the TT rules and classing at the moment. I'm seriously looking at other cars to run in TT this year, like the E30 V8 or the E36 M3. The '11 Mustang GT is pretty much boned beyond what we've done now, and this is hardly the final set of mods we had planned for the car.

Cheers,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by modmustang97gt View Post
While it is nice to switch to the stock parts to avoid the points. It doesn't seem all that fair or encouraging that if I remove a spoiler and upgrade my brakes from stock to cobra pieces. I now have the same point assessment as someone with a G Stream rear wing and baer 6-pot brakes. Yet, the point assessment is the same.
Exactly my point...

Originally Posted by modmustang97gt View Post
The problem with rule sets is that vagueness seems like its encouraging until someone really figures it out. Everyone runs what they brung until someone shows up with their brilliant flavor of the week, and now no one is having fun. This is why spec classes are so popular.

Its the price you pay I guess for a proper attempt at equality.
Well, its a pretty half-hearted attempt at "equality", in my view, when no rear cosmetic spoiler = huge CF wing. The whole note about "optional parts not on the base trim car have to take points" isn't even in the NASA TT rules, its a note attached to some online form. Seriously.

NASA TT is unique in that it has one person is making all of the base classing, modification point assessments, and rules, so we naturally get rules made from one person's point of view only. I wasn't the only one in the dark about this, so I (and others) have been trying to point out the absurdity of a factory spoiler delete having the same points as a full on race wing, over on the NASA Forum thread where this was pointed out to me. The Nat'l TT Director responded with this:

Originally Posted by Greg G.
How about this---a driver takes off the OEM wing for the higher speed tracks that have less turns requiring rear downforce and more gain from less drag, and puts it back on for other tracks where the wing results in better lap times due to the need for more rear downforce. There is clearly a performance gain by doing this "modification". The amount of that gain would/could be different for each of the 800+ different car models possibly competing. So, we are back to "If the modification costs more points for your particular vehicle than it is worth, then don't do the Mod."
And my reply:
I get that, and I'm now not saying that removing an OEM style wing should be free... but +4 points? Its the severity of this penalty that sticks in my craw.



Let's look at an example: The race wing shown above (G-Stream CF) as used on the Boss 302S race cars are +4 points, is adjustable, and produces real downforce. It can be even bigger for the same points in TT: as wide as the car (71"), up to 8" above the roofline, and limited to 12" tall end plates. No chord length limits. So a giant CF race wing is the same points penalty as removing a cosmetic OEM wing? That's my point.

Almost every OEM wing ever produced is not producing much down force, and is built for styling/cosmetic reasons. Even the "big" wings on STis and EVOs produce very little down force. One of the few cars that had an adjustable, down force producing wing were some adjustable units used on Porsche GT3s. If there was a slight tweak to the wing rule, maybe stating...

"Any OEM wing (or exact replica) made for the same model series/chassis can be used, or none at all, for +1. Any OEM wing that has adjustable angle of attack is +4"

Just a thought.
Figured I'd share that here, just to show everyone where I'm coming from (and I've had a lot of PMs, along the same lines). So with all of these points for OEM options on our car, its clear to me that staying in TTB with any 2011 GT that isn't ordered at the most basic, Spartan trim level - with no zero cost options whatsoever - is almost an impossibility. I've counted over 12 points worth of TT mod points that my car could have just with OEM options. So I'm going to say "to Hell with it" and just do the mods that are legal in SCCA STX class and "run whatever TT class it falls into", like I had originally planned.

To that end, today I ordered a bunch of parts that will hopefully add something to the car (with respect to aero) for NASA or SCCA use. First was the (optional on the 2011 GT) CS lower valance (+3), then a 2011 GT "optional" 4-pedestal OEM rear wing (for STX use only, and totally legal there), and an APR Performance GTC-300 wing (67" wide, 3D airfoil shape) for TT use. Plus some other bits I'll show later - but I did not get the (now optional on the 2011 GT) lower rear GT500 valance, as it wasn't worth the cost ($270 shipped) or NASA points, and did nothing for performance (it was purely cosmetic). For the GTC300 wing we'll make the uprights and endplates to fit the TT rules, and use it only for TT. Since I'm already taking 4 freagin points for "no wing" I'm going to have a real wing, by Damn!


Left: The 2011 "base trim" GT lower front valance. Right: The 2011 optional "CS" lower front valance

The CS valance above ($240, shipped) should be here by Friday morning, so we'll get the front end pulled off and ready, and have it installed before we load the car into the trailer and head down to Houston for the NASA event his weekend at MSR-H. We've still got points to spare within TTB, at least for a little while longer (we don't even have swaybars or any exhaust work on the car yet), so that +3 won't hurt us much right now, and we can't do a splitter (again, for TT) on the front w/o this flat bottomed CS lower valance.

Sorry for all of the complaining and moaning about NASA rules - they are what they are, and the situation won't change anytime soon, so - oh well. I'll just go out there and try to have fun, and see where the car's at for now. I've never even run at MSR-H, so I don't have much hope for matching the TTB track record there (1:42.675, set by an BMW E46 M3 in Jan-09). Even with all of this drama, I'm still pumped to get back onto a dry track - its been too many months.

We now have all new NASA regional leadership in Texas, and they seem like really nice folks (from the Rocky Mountain region), so hopefully the event will run more timely than in the past - that's the plan, at least. They've already added more event dates for the Texas region (8 so far), which is up from the previous 6 we used to have. And hopefully my HPDE students won't kill me on track, ha.

Doing some final track prep on the Mustang today and tomorrow. I just picked up the trailer, AJ already reset the Mustang's front alignment, and I'm about to go out and slap on the class numbers & letters. Tomorrow we need to mount the two transponders and the CS valance on Friday morning - if it shows up in time. I'll post up with times, pics and such after the event, on Monday.

Getting close!
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #15
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Project Update for Jan 27, 2011: Well, just wrapping up prep for the first "real" track event of 2011. Got some funny news last night - apparently our 2011 GT is contagious. An old friend/racing buddy Paul M drove our car once... that's all it took. He tried to order a car earlier this week, and we had his build all worked up on the computer: Brembo package, CS lower valance, GT500 rear valance, the 4-pedestal wing, 401A interior, Kona blue, SAT/NAV - all of the optional performance, functional, and cosmetic bits he wanted that aren't too tacky.

Then he saw this NASA "OEM options adds points" silliness...



So instead of getting the car he wanted, he found a car that fit NASA TT better. The car he bought was equipped with the "base" trim level GT wing (saves 4 points), base front and rear lower valances (saves 4 more), but still had Brembos (+2), had the NAV/SAT/Sync (I cannot overemphasize how AMAZING this system works), and was at least the color he wanted (and gorgeous). Its got the 400A leather interior, not the 401A kit like he wanted (different materials/dash), as well as the HIDs - but it was close as he could get. With this car he's now only starting with +2 points for NASA in TTB, instead of +10 like he would have been with all of the (cosmetic) options he wanted. Lesson learned. (more pics)

Anyway, Paul's car is still bone stock and looks pretty TALL parked next to mine... Attack of Godzilla!



It looked even more exaggerated in person. We measured the height differences back at the shop, and it was 2.0" in front and 2.25" in back, at the same points on the body. Some of its in the the coilovers, the rest is in the tire height differences (265/40/18 vs. 255/40/19 = 1" shorter tire, so 1/2" lower CG). The overall effect, visually, is huge. Our car isn't "Stanced-out" or anything, and you can't argue that a lower CG isn't better for grip and aero.


Left: Old and busted. Right: New hotness

Paul already has a SMod Subaru GC project underway, which will be his dedicated autox/TT car when it gets done (someday!), but for now the Mustang will step in and hold him over for track use + make for a fun street car. He traded in his '08 Subaru STi (TTA prepped) yesterday for this Mustang, which was probably a good idea seeing how much warranty work the Subie needed under his heavy right foot (engine problems - it go boom). We'll really see how strong the Coyote 5.0 and Getrag MT-80 are with Paul driving them, heh.



Anyway, Paul is building this car up a bit differently than mine, as Solo use and SCCA classing is not a concern for this one. He will instead focus on NASA TT use and build it to the limit of TTB... with no SCCA rules and autox compromises to limit it for TT use. But its still his primary street car, so its not a full-out track-only build, by any means. This will probably be closer to what a lot of you out there might do a 2011 GT, really.

We're going to first swap in some Eibachs springs (+2), Vorshlag plates (+0), and get lowered down by 1.5" next week - just for openers. ASTs will go on soon enough, but it will likely be using the new bits we're working on with AST. Then he's going to sit back and watch my car's on-track performance, and then see how the new aero bits and exhaust system planned work out, before moving much further into more mods. Should be a fun street car. Welcome to the Dark Side, Paul!



Just a few pics of installing the NASA TT required numbers (10") and class letters (4") on my car, before we load it onto the trailer tomorrow. NASA Texas is cracking down on number requirements in TT this year, and stated "no more taped numbers!", which is fine by me. Its hard to tell much about the car your passing (or being passed by) when they don't have proper numbers/class letters. This decal set-up shows class and number on the front, rear and sides, as well as SCCA classing on the sides (we're adding the required NASA decals at the track, plus a shout-out to GRM with their decals). Its just a temporary decal set-up, as we have our own vinyl plotter coming soon - so expect a more wild, completely tasteless graphic set-up soon.

NOTE: If anyone out there is a good graphic designer and can help us come up with new and unique Vorshlag livery for this car (that scales up to others car models - like our E30 & E46, plus some tester/customer cars), please PM me. Since we're getting a plotter we can try more stuff without racking up hundreds of dollars in vinyl bills anymore, until we get the look perfectly tasteless.

Thanks,
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