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Unread 11-12-2010, 12:56 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

Project introduction: 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).

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,

Last edited by Fair!; 11-12-2010 at 03:28 PM.
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