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Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT + S197 Development Thread

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  • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

    Mustang Braking Capabilities and Improvements

    Now lets take a step back for a second and move to a higher level discussion of S197 Mustang brakes. This is another area we wanted to address on our TT3 Mustang, but a little background helps further the overall S197 discussion. We've been pushing the limits of the OEM 14" Brembo front/11.8" rear disc brake set-up that comes on the '11-up Mustangs (that have the Brembo option) as well as the Boss302 and most of the GT500 Mustangs (the GT500 upgraded to 13.8" rear discs in 2013 and 15" front discs and 6-piston calipers in 2014), and wanted to see what we could do next.

    Long ago we found that these brakes could be overtaxed quickly on track if left 100% stock. The basics are there (size of rotor, proper caliper) but the factory installed "consumables" weren't quite up to the task of track events. Easy upgrades like flushing out the old stuff and installing real DOT4 brake fluid (like Motul RBF600), using proper track-compound brake pads (like Carbotech), installing upgraded brake flex lines, and especially front brake cooling ducts and hoses makes a huge improvement in braking with the S197 Mustangs on track. Yes, even with the big 14" Brembos, you need to think about these upgrades if you want to push it on a road course. These are BIG, heavy cars with 420+ hp, and it doesn't take much effort to overtax even the larger Brembo brakes on track.

    Track pads, proper DOT4 brake fluid, good flex lines, front brake ducting - the Braking Basics

    Most HPDE drivers in S197 5.0 Mustangs, even the casual 3-4 events per year HPDE guys, will want to do this list of brake mods above before taking it out and pushing the limits. Sure, if you want to roll around at 5/10ths of the car's maximum potential, you can do it on bone stock brakes, but the fluid will be the first to go. Once it boils, the pedal goes to mush and you lose all braking power and driver confidence. Track day is over. The stock brake pads will last to about 6/10ths of full speed. Once you have track worthy pads and push to about 8/10ths, you'll need front brake ducts. Not every track newbie will find the limits of the bone stock brakes on their first track day, but many often do. You can learn this on track, and have shortened track events (or take the "green line" unexpectedly), or you can plan for this and do these somewhat modest brake upgrades up front.

    Our TT3 Mustang's times are closer to the STU cars (left) than the AI record holders (right) - maybe we should step up the brakes?

    We have had nothing more than this list of "HPDE worthy" Mustang brake upgrades for a while, but we've been pushing the brakes way beyond those limits. Take into account the lap times this car is turning, noted abuse to consumables, and the brake temps we've been seeing. Our lap times alone should be a big clue that we need to do a little more to the brakes than basic HPDE upgrades. So we've been comparing our TT3 times to American Iron racers, simply because they share the same power to weight ratios (9:1 to 9.5:1) and basic layout of our car (solid axle, RWD, relatively heavy). Our TT3 set-up is still 300-500 pounds heavier than most of those AI cars in our region, and we run a wider/stickier tire, but still - it is a benchmark we use, and the closest thing we have to compare lap times to other than just the TT3/TT2 cars that run with us in TT. Last year this car was running a hair quicker than the AI track records, but this year it has been more like 3-7 seconds quicker.

    Consequently, the brakes are getting a lot more beat up on our car this year. A lot more. Rear pad and rotor wear has been getting steadily worse the harder Amy and I push the car. Ryan noted some very high rear brake temps at NOLA, which got me thinking about a rear brake upgrade. I will admit, our Mustang is a bit of an oddity, as it is run at a very heavy weight (our current minimum is 3770 pounds with driver), with much wider wheels than most Mustangs you see on track (12"), and with some significant downforce. I will always "drive like an autocrosser", Left Foot Braking into every corner where I have to slow down, and braking VERY late. Also, we've stuck with the OEM Brembo brakes for a long time, rather than going to a pricy aftermarket Big Brake Kit, which a lot of folk just automatically do.

    But should they upgrade to an aftermarket BBK? These 14" Brembos are pretty damned beefy, up front at least. I'm not sure a "different brand" BBK would help with longer wear or more stopping power. Consumable costs can and will go up when you go to an aftermarket BBK, however. Multi-piece 14" rotors often cost $400-800 each, or more. Aftermarket calipers also can reduce your brake pad choices, unless it is also using a pad profile that some other high volume (OEM) brake systems do. This is where the Mustang Brembos shine, because even though the calipers are made in Italy, they are the OEM fitment for many thousands of factory optioned Mustangs, so replacement calipers and associated hardware can be purchased at a Ford dealer for reasonable amounts, and the brake pad profile is fairly easy to find. The front rotor costs are also low because of their high OEM production numbers, so lots of replacement brands are available (we have the Centric premium 14" front rotor listed for only $99, for instance).

    Do you need to get a BBK? the OEM 14" front rotors and brake pads used in the Brembo cars are less costly

    We've tested so many brands of pads and rotors on this car since we started racing it 2010, we have found what we think works best. So we reached out to these manufacturers and become a dealer for several brake component brands. Part of the reason was to reduce the consumable costs for our own cars, too. But now we have enough stuff avilable and in stock that we added a brakes page under the S197 Mustang section of our online catalog.

    We've burned through all of the parts, brands and compounds on OEM-based S197 brakes, and now we offer what works

    Adding brake parts seems natural to some, but I resisted it for years. See, we've always been known for aftermarket suspension manufacture, development and service work, plus a few brands of aftermarket wheels, and our BMW LS1 swaps. But now we carry several brands of brake rotors and pads, make our own brake lines for several cars, and even have our own "big brake kits" based on some OEM bits. Our Mustang brake ducting kits are about to hit, too. So, we added a new section, and it seems to have been well received.

    GT500 Rear Brake Upgrade

    Anyway, back to our TT3 Mustang's brakes - I've been abusing the components and the rears are wearing too fast and getting too hot. We had several options to address this. One, add rear brake ducting. That's... not a bad idea, and we will do that to reduce brake heat out back. But I wanted to add a bit more braking POWER at the same time as a larger heat sink (rotor). To accomplish this we could have gone to an aftermarket BBK option. But, I am kind of cheap at heart, and wanted to keep it OEM based to keep rotor and pad costs down. Naturally, that left one option: the '13-14 GT500 rear brakes. We have installed these and already have an upgrade kit for 2005-14 Mustangs, since we had several customers already asking us to do this work on their cars, and we sort of figured out some crucial cost savings in this rear brake upgrade.

    Left: GT500 13.8" rotor and caliper installed. Right: The OEM rear discs are 11.8" in diameter and use the same caliper and brake pad

    The 2014 GT500's brake components are becoming popular upgrades on the various Mustang forums. The 2014 GT500's front 15" 6-piston brakes are a bit extreme, and most of the draw is to the hard parking crowd, for the Big Brake/6-piston looks. Hey, I get it - looks cool, but very few racers have moved up from the 14" brakes to 15" brakes. Some of the Pro teams and endurance cars, sure, but not the club racers or Time Trial guys. What intrigued me more was the fact that the 2013 model GT500 got a big bump up in rear rotor size, from 11.8" up to 13.8", so we went with this upgrade first. Why? Because we were seeing problems in the rear, not the front, and this upgrade is fairly substantial for a very modest cost.

    Left: GT500 13.8" rear rotor is 16 pounds. Right: The 11.8" rotor it replaces was only 12.5 pounds

    We searched high and low and have rounded up the OEM GT500 13.8" rear rotors, the taller caliper brackets, and even the "GT500" calipers. The weights for these parts vs the 11.8" parts are shown here. Note where all of the added weight is - almost all of it is in the rotor. And the GT500 caliper? It is identical to the '11-up Mustang caliper, and even superceeds the 2005-2010 GT rear calipers. That is something we found after digging and testing, but Ford says this shouldn't be. They will have to revise their books, because the '11-up GT rear caliper is identical, from the casting numbers to the final machined part.

    Left: The taller caliper bracket for the 13.8" brakes is 5.3 pounds. Right: The caliper bracket + support for the 11.8" brake = 4.84 pounds.

    The 2" larger diameter GT500 rear rotor is almost 3.5 pounds heavier than the old 11.8" rotor it replaced, but my pic above was a very worn rear rotor (which had lost about a pound of metal), so it really only went up about 2.5 pounds. This is added metal that can absorb and shed heat, which isn't a bad thing. The taller caliper racket is almost a wash, with the GT500 version being about a half pound heavier than the shorter GT version. One thing to note is the GT's 11.8" rear caliper bracket has an axillary support bracket that clamps around the axle tube and adds some lateral support. This extra bracket doesn't exist on the GT500.

    Left: The GT500 caliper is the same unit as the GT. Right: The rear dust shield for the smaller GT brakes

    We went ahead and kept the "GT500" caliper we bought and used it on our 2011 Mustang, mostly because our old calipers were looking a bit worn and crusty. Ford insisted these were different calipers, but that just was not the case. We did another GT500 13.8" rear brake upgrade on a 2012 GT a week later and re-used the guy's old OEM calipers, which were identical so they fit identically. There is no dust shield for the 13.8" GT500 brakes, so the old one is removed (doesn't weigh much). The old brake lines worked on the new caliper location, too.

    13.8" rotor installed with the old 11.8" rotor slide over the lugs, for scale

    All told we added about 3 pounds per side on the 13.8" rear brake upgrade, compared to the brand new weights of the 11.8" disc brake parts. That's not bad for a TWO INCH upgrade in rear rotor diameter. This increase in diameter will increase rear braking torque, the added rotor mass will add more surface area and should help with rear brake cooling, and we hoped the ABS system can keep the braking balance in shape on track (it did).

    The hardest part of the swap was pulling the axles out of the housing to be able to change out the caliper brackets. Not hard really, just messy. So you will need to replace the diff fluid and re-seal the diff cover if you plan on doing this rear brake swap. Since the axles have to come out it is a great time to upgrade the rear wheel studs (ARP 3" long rear S197 studs), but these technically can be done on the car (it is just more of a PITA). Also check your outer axle seals for melting/wear. Ours had been replaced earlier this year, so it all went back together and was about a 2 hour job, start to finish. We will go back and make/add rear brake ducting for this car soon, too.

    Left: These larger 13.8" Rear brakes fill out the inside of the 18" wheels on our 2011 GT. Right: Same brakes on a 2012 GT with stock 19" wheels

    After the new 18x12" wheels were fitted, new springs were in, front fenders were on and trimmed, the rear brakes were upgraded, axles were back in and diff fluid changed, the ride heights were finally squared away and the car re-corner balanced. Damn... this car is heavy.

    We brought both R6 and A6 compounds of mounted Hoosiers to Hallett, a first for us

    Another planned change for our TT3 car from all previous NASA events for 2013 was the switch from Hoosier A6 to R6 compound. The A6 tires just don't last very long on this heavy car, and we were hoping the R6 tires would be a better compound to test with. This is helpful when we go to the NASA events early and run the Friday Test-n-Tune, on tracks where we don't know the layout (driver training) or if we have had significant changes to the car since we ran here last (always!). The longer wearing R6 would help Amy and I learn this brand new (to us) track layout, but we didn't get wrapped up with the car in time to go to the Friday testing, so we had to learn the layout on race day. And then I broke the car almost immediately on Saturday... long story, tune in next time to hear more!

    So the Hoosier A6 tire is terrible for track use. TERRIBLE. I wouldn't do it if this tire was penalized like the non-DOT racing slicks (it should be), but this is part of the TT Arms Race, so I keep bringing them. The A6 is very heat sensitive and after 1 hot lap on our car it has been falling off about 1 second per lap, and after 3 laps they are just a greasy mess. It has gotten to where I have to get in my best lap on my first lap, usually in the first (coolest) session, and I've stopped even scrubbing the tires at all on the warm-up/out lap. The R6 should be a lot more forgiving with regards to heat, we have nothing but hot months of racing and testing ahead, and I didn't know the next track on the schedule (Hallett) at ALL. The R6s went on the new 18x12" set and a set of worn A6s went on the older 18x11/18x12" set of wheels... but hopefully we wouldn't need them, and that set could stay in the trailer this weekend. I told my guys here that I'd only mount them if I was getting beat, heh.

    Our service shop was slammed that week before Hallett. The guys handled all of this 12" wheel/fender/brake development and prep work on our 2011 GT in about a day and a half, in between customer jobs, during a super busy service week where we had too many cars scheduled. Our service workload has gotten pretty heavy of late - so much so that I've hired a third technician to help, who starts this week. We had no less than 7 Mustangs at the shop one day last week, along with the regular BMWs, Subarus, Miatas, Corvettes and four LS1 swap projects we have going on. So I've been busy looking at bigger buildings to buy to move Vorshlag into, and will update this thread and our blog after we find the right place.

    Gotta stop it here. More soon,
    Last edited by Fair!; 08-09-2013, 06:58 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

      Project Update for July 24, 2013: Still playing catch-up from June events and developments with S197 Mustangs. So in our last update two days ago we talked about some brake parts and our 13.8" rear brake kit, the upgrade to 12" wide front wheels and the steps that took to fit, plus the lower ride heights we could finally get the car down to. Race prep car was wrapped up late Friday afternoon, June 21st, loaded in the trailer sitting on fresh 315mm Hoosier R6s, and Amy and I hit the road 5 hours north to Oklahoma for the NASA event Saturday and Sunday. We made it to our hotel outside of Tulsa and crashed out, set to arrive at the track at 7 am Saturday.

      NASA at Hallett, Saturday, June 22, 2013 - CCW

      This track has been looming on the schedule all year at me. I was half dreading going to Hallett... because I don't know this track at all. I cannot explain why, but after 26 years of competing in track events in Texas I've never made it to the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Oklahoma. Everyone I race with has, and they all rave about Hallett - with it's tricky/blind/off camber corners, the brutality on braking systems, and the short straights that can take the horsepower advantage away. Some folks made it sound like I would be lucky to beat TTE classed Miatas? So I didn't know what to expect, even after looking at some youtube in-car videos.

      Here's the TT Track Map for Saturday that we made for the TT Racers

      This track has been around for decades, and was designed to run in both directions - and it is often run both ways, which in itself is fairly unusual. From the looks of it I knew I would have a steep learning curve, but the timing with prep on the car and the growing service load in our shop didn't allow for the Friday Test-n-Tune day as I'd have liked. Doing that test Friday at NOLA made a huge difference helping Amy and me both learn this new track. And many folks I talked to said you needed to learn Hallett, respect the layout, and that it takes years to master. Everyone knows someone who has crashed in "The Bitch", an infamous off-camber uphill turn that will bite your ass. I had zero experience there - never been there, never driven a lap - and I was scheduled to drive only on Saturday's 4 sessions, with Amy taking the wheel on Sunday. Solid plan!

      So if you click on the Saturday results below, you will notice my name listed at the bottom, with not time, next to 3 no-shows (who paid but didn't show up that day). But I did show up, and even ran 3 whole laps Saturday, just didn't get any laps counted. Why, do you ask? Well first off, it was the TT Warm up (1st session on Saturday), so times only counted for Grid Position for TT sesison 1 that followed. But I didn't get even these provisional times, as I left my AMD wired transponder turned off (idiot!), left my Aim Solo lap timer in the race trailer (Idiot!) and managed to break the car by driving into a huge curb on lap 3 (IDIOT!!!).

      So yea, on Saturday I got in a whopping total of three laps, no official times, had no idea how fast I was going, and my day was over by 9 am. This video below shows my epic driving fail.... but it is also helpful as I give a rolling commentary of the track, corner numbers, and you can see the layout at a very modest speed going CCW.

      OK, so if you watched that, I will explain briefly what happened. We gridded up based on "what we think we will run", which is how you typically do it on the very first TT session Saturday. I lined up on grid so I could follow KenO's TTB classed E46 M3, trying to learn the racing line from him. That worked well enough but after a couple of laps he backed off (running A6s) and he gave me a point-by after Turn 3 on lap 3. Meanwhile I had a faster TT2 EVO working his way up through the field and breathing down my neck leading up to Turn 2, so I was preparing to get a little ahead of Ken then give the EVO a point by right after Turn 4. And since I was watching my mirrors instead of where I was going, you can guess what happens next... I drove right off the inside of Turn 4, smacked a curb with the rear wheel, heard a huge BANG! and broke something in the rear suspension. I felt the impact and thought it had cut a tire, but it was part of the Watts Link. With Amy riding shotgun, of course. Oh FFS...

      Its hard to see how far offline I was unless you know this track, but I was 10 feet from where I needed to be. I managed to drive into a big hole in the dirt right before the curbing starts, then WHAM! the wheel smacked the sharp, leading edge of the curbing. Huge impact, lots of tire smoke, and I thought we had a blowout. Idiot driver...

      Assessing the Damage + Repairs at Vorshlag

      After sitting out the rest of the TT session at the Turn 6 corner station, trying to see under the car through thick green grass, one of the wrecker drivers loaned me a bungee cord. I used that to get the lateral link tied up, that was otherwise dragging the ground, then drove the car back to the pits. Amy was calling me Curby McCurbison from that point on. One we got to our paddock spot it was time for a closer look. Oh, and that's when we noticed how we tore up the trailer on the tow up, driving on some horrible "toll road" in Oklahoma. So bumpy and bouncy that the tires on one side slammed into the fender and bent two panels on the side of the trailer. The F-350 rides so well we didn't notice how much bouncing around the trailer was doing. Glad we didn't cut a trailer tire. (Kurt has since fixed the trailer damage, moved the fender up, and clearanced the panels for more tire travel - on both sides)

      Damn this car is low now. It took driving up on some boards but I finally managed to get a jack under the axle and raised the rear up in the air to take a closer look. I had fellow TT racers and even AI racers stopping by to help, telling me to take the car to the infield race shop for repairs, but when I saw what broke I knew our day was done. It was a solid hit and I sheared off one of the Watts Link propeller stands, which allows the axle to float side to side until the tires smacked the inner fender wells (which explains all of the tire smoke that I thought was a blown tire). With an impact like this, something had to give. Nobody's fault but my own. I knew this wasn't going to be an easy track-side fix - especially since the part that broke was missing in action (probably flew off and bounced out into the woods). I knew where the closest spare part was - at Vorshlag, 5 hours away in Plano, Texas. Time to load up, our day was over.

      Quick mention about this track. Hallett is a picturesque track plopped in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. Surrounded by lush grass, old growth trees, ponds, and rolling hills. It is very unique in that all of the paddock, grid, pit lane, buildings, and spectator parking is located INSIDE the track layout. Most of the racers are paddocked near the track, behind fences and tire walls, but it makes for a great view of the race at all times. Also, there is no tunnel or bridge to get inside or out during a race session, so everyone has to wait for a break between sessions to access the infield. They have an efficient system of manned gates and every ~20 minutes they closed the track, then let cars pass over the track surface to access the infield or to leave. Beautiful little road course with LOTS of elevation change, trees and ponds everywhere, lush and green, and being 5 hours north of Dallas it was a hair cooler than home on this June day (high Saturday was 95°F but breezy).

      We were loaded up, the car was strapped down by 11 am and were on the road back to Vorshlag. I had called our fabricator and head technician Ryan, who was luckily in town and not off supporting a pro race team, as he does on some weekends. He agreed to meet me at Vorshlag and we'd fix the car quickly, then get it reloaded and back to Oklahoma for Sunday. Just a quick 10 hour round trip, no problem! After seeing this kick ass track for the first time I wasn't about to let my curb smackdown end with a DNF for the entire weekend. Onward!

      Amy and I went and got checked out of our hotel outside of Tulsa (and cancelled that night's stay), stopped for lunch, then drove back towards Dallas. Made it back to Vorshlag, unloaded the car (again, with the help of lots of boards), got it on a lift, and Ryan was wrenching by 4:15 pm. We robbed the part we needed from an S197 Watts Link kit we had in stock and he got the propeller and one of the lateral links (that dragged the ground for a ways and had some road rash) replaced and re-aligned by 4:40 pm. We checked out the rear tires for damage, they looked fine, and I reloaded the car and took the trailer to my house for the night. Got to sleep in my own bed instead of a hotel, which was a bonus.

      NASA at Hallett, Sunday June 23, 2013 - CCW

      We woke up by 1:30 and hit the road by 2 am, to make the 5 hour trek back north to Hallett. Yes, 2 am. We needed to be there and be unloaded by 7:15 am to make the grid for the first TT session. Amy had agreed the night before to give up her seat for Sunday to let me drive 3 if not 4 of the sessions. She also volunteered to drive the truck & trailer the entire 5 hours up, so I could sleep on the way. Amy... freagin... ROCKS!

      Sunday was going to be unique in that we were going to run the track in the OPPOSITE direction for TT session 4. It wouldn't count for points, but it would count for a track record, as TT had never run Hallett Clockwise. Since this car has been racking them up this year, I really wanted a chance to set two TT3 records on the same day. I was determined to get out on track for all 4 sessions, learn the layout quickly (in both directions), and get fast/clean laps going both ways. Remember, a 4-off or a spin is a DSQ for a TT session, so I had to learn the track layout quickly, stay clean, and go fast.

      This ended up being a very hectic, busy day, and I neglected many normal "track test" procedures. I think I checked tire pressures once, fuel got so low it starved in one session (my quickest session, as it happened - this wasn't a good thing), and had zero time to make any real adjustments on the car or brand new set-up. Not having Ryan there for track-side support was tough, but what put us behind was the fact that we were in front of a lot of new faces. We had dozens of people stop by our trailer to say "hi" who had never seen us at Hallett, which was a lot of these folks' home track. Many were old and new customers, and lots who have read this build thread. Some wanted to talk about BMWs, Mustangs, suspensions, TT, and more. And one of our Mustang customers (Mark Council) who lives in Oklahoma was at the track on Sunday and I had promised him a ride-along in a TT session. He was there Saturday as well, but missed seeing us run, as I broke the car right before he got there. Not complaining - we always love talking to customers and friends - but I should have just asked one of the guys from Vorshlag to tag along to help with the car between sessions. We got spoiled at NOLA having Ryan and Brandon there with us.

      Anyways, I went out in TT session 1 with Mark riding along for most of the laps, throwing away my times for the session as I was taking a rider (automatic DSQ in TT with passengers). I was also taking it a little easy driving, which we're supposed to do if we have a rider along with us. I ran some dismal 1:26 laps, and after 4 laps I came in to let Mark hop out, hoping to get back out and take another 1-2 hot laps with only one person on board. By the time I got around to the start/finish they were throwing the checkers. Crap. I was still so green on this track I didn't take the same line on any consecutive laps, so far.

      We were watching the ambient and track temps rise and knew from the forecast that it was going to get close to 100°F as the day progressed. This meant I wasn't going to be fast on track towards the end of the day. I threw away that first session (and was clearly still learning the track) and had only racked up a total of 7 laps over 2 days. I went into session 2 knowing that this was likely my last shot at getting clean, fast-ish lap going CCW, as session 3 would be HOT and session 4 would be going Hot and ClockWise. The video below is from TT session 2, shows about 5 laps with lots of driver mistakes, and right when I'm getting faster in the car... well, you'll see.

      So as you see in the video above, my fastest CCW lap of the weekend happens on lap 2 (1:24.3). I made some driver mistakes on lap 1, 3 (and it fuel starved a bit in the 100 mph left hand Turn 1), and 4, but was really hoping to get a quicker time on lap 5. The predictive lap time on Lap 5 looked better even after passing a TT1 Viper coming out of Turn 6 (excellent point by, I lost no time). It was looking like a 1:23 lap, right until I exited Turn 9 (aka: the Bitch) when the motor laid down. I think it fuel starved again, which sent it into some sort of limp mode. Not the first time this has happened. The engine temps were fine, right in the middle, but it was down to about 50% power until I cycled the key. And when you turn the engine off and on, it resets the Traction / Stability control systems. The only way to turn them off then is to come to a stop for 5 seconds and mash a bunch of buttons, so that ended my session. No, we haven't found a way to disable the traction control system permanently in the SCT tuner, yet. The only "solutions" so far also kill the ABS, which I'm damn sure NOT going to do... Nope! I'm an ABS whore, and proud of it.

      So that session was pretty disappointing. My fastest lap of the weekend happened after taking only 9 laps at a brand new track. Sure, as an autocrosser I should "learn the track quickly", but I'm just not that good at picking up an all new layout like this. I needed more laps, and more cool weather, but it wasn't to be. Sure, I went out again in TT session 3 but by then the ambient was in the mid 90s and everyone was slowing down. I had some high 1:24s and a lot of 1:25s in that session, and felt like I was pushing the car harder and getting better lines, but the grip just wasn't there. I also had a 2 wheels off on the exit of Turn 6, which the corner worker somehow interpreted as a 4 off, so they DSQ'd that session on accident. It didn't matter, as my times were slower anyway. Realistically, the car should have been running 1:22s or quicker going CCW, so I was pretty bummed, but at least this time was quicker than the old TTA record (have done that every time this year, so far), and a hair quicker than the AI track record (AI's top qualifier Was MikeP with a 1:25.7; he won all 4 AI races that weekend). Still, that 1:24 lap is nothing to brag about. Oh well, it gives us something to beat in 2014.

      (Continued below)
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

        (Continued from above)

        Sunday TT Session 4 - CW

        So for the 4th session Time Trial was to run the track in the opposite direction. There was a 2 hour charity endurance race Saturday afternoon run in this direction, but as far as I could tell not a single TT driver had run it CW all weekend. And since TT had never set any records going CW, we were all on equal footing on a new layout, to us. Again, as an autocrosser, I would hope that I could learn the CW track layout quicker than non-autocrossers, and I ended up closer to TT1 than going CCW. Other autocrossers did well going in this new direction, including KenO, who also set a TTB track record in both directions this weekend (beating his own, previously set TTB record for CCW).

        We had 9 TT drivers stick around for the CW laps, so we lost some folks who left early. It was late in the day and ambients were 99°F, nobody knew this layout, so we figured the laps would be slower than normal. Some locals that run both directions said that CW is about a second slower than CCW, but we were all more than 2 seconds off our CCW times. Again - it was hot as balls and none of us really new this layout.

        Driving this track clockwise was a weird experience, and I barely even had a dozen laps running the other way to compare it to. The big elevation change exiting turn 9 was now downhill on the entrance and braking zone going CW. Turn 3 and Turn 2, which are easily paired up CCW, where you accelerate hard through 3 going that way, ended up being a tricky braking sequence that sent two racers off track going CW. It seemed that a lot more turns were blind in this direction as well. So I gridded P2 and basically latched onto the rear bumper of the TT1 Viper, then just hoped he knew where he was going and tried to keep up. He did great and eventually gave me a point by after a few laps (he took a cool down), but all I could muster was a 1:26.7 lap, about 6 tenths off of the lone TT1 driver. The 100 degree temps made for unhappy tires, and I was getting pretty hot myself. Stayed out the whole session but the times were crap. Still, it was a TT3 track record, and the 2nd fastest CW lap for the TT session.

        Looks like we had two drivers get DSQs in the Clockwise TT session. From what I heard one of them drove right off of Turn 2 and the other followed him! That must have been a hairy ride. So yea, I'm glad we stuck around for the last session of the day, as this 1:26 CW lap gave us the 6th TT3 lap record for the year. Neither the CW or CCW laps was exactly a barn burner, as I said before, but it was two new track records and I'll take it. I'm also glad we went ahead and fixed the car, drove back and didn't bail on racing on Sunday altogether - thanks to MikeP for pushing me to fix the car and return, to Ryan for giving up part of his Saturday doing the repair work, and to Amy for making it all possible (giving up her sessions Sunday, driving the tow rig like a boss in the middle of the night, etc).

        Originally posted by kbrew8991
        New Track Record tables:
        Hallet Motor Racing Circuit (CCW)				
        Class	Driver              Car		
        TTU	Randy Andersen	    Chevy Modified	01:26.134	Jun-13
        TT1	Troy Messer	    Chevy Corvette	01:18.720	Jun-12
        TT2	Kong Chang	    Mazda RX7	        01:23.152	Jun-12
        TT3	Terry Fair	    Ford Mustang	01:24.365	Jun-13
        TTA	Bryan Harrison	    Chevy Corvette	01:24.671	Jun-11
        TTB	Ken Orgeron	    BMW M3	        01:25.301	Jun-13
        TTC	Norm Wilhelm	    Subaru WRX	        01:29.459	Jun-11
        TTD	Joel Selman	    BMW Z4	        01:30.463	Jun-11
        TTE	Chris Kearns	    Mazda Miata	        01:32.229	Jun-13
        TTF	Ken Brewer	    Toyota MR2	        01:33.698	Jun-12
        Hallet Motor Racing Circuit (CW)				
        Class	Driver	            Car		
        TT1	Raymund Guerrero    Dodge Viper	        01:26.161	Jun-13
        TT3	Terry Fair          Ford Mustang	01:26.786	Jun-13
        TTB	Ken Orgeron	    BMW M3	        01:27.896	Jun-13
        TTD	Heberto Ferrer	    Mazda RX8	        01:36.606	Jun-13
        TTE	Chris Kearns	    Mazda Miata	        01:37.892	Jun-13
        Looks like 4 track records on the CCW course were reset and 5 all new records were logged for the CW direction that weekend. Traditionally this Hallett event is called the "Summer Championships", as it is the last NASA Texas event before a multi-month summer break. This means there were trophies for all of the weekend's Club Race and Time Trial winners, which is always fun - taking home some wood.

        Car Set-up & R6 Tire Impressions

        Watching my videos it is obvious I never got the apex on Turn 4 going CCW even remotely correct - I was always too early. Between course familiarity, switching to the A6s, and running faster in the cooler/early sessions, there was at least 2 seconds left in the car, if not more. So it is hard to give good impressions of the set-up when I was still learning the track all day, but I'll take a stab at it. While I didn't make almost any adjustments while at the track, due to time constraints in the paddock between sessions, we did come to this event with some significant changes... spring rates, ride heights, front wheel width, R6 tires, and more.

        Even though I left the A6s in the trailer all weekend the R6s still felt like they did a fine job, and more importantly, this harder tire let me take a lot more laps than the A6s would have allowed. Really, the car felt pretty damned good on track with this new set-up. Low speed cornering felt faster, with understeer lessened greatly. It was still there at high speeds, like into Turn 1, but elsewhere the push was diminished. The brakes felt phenomenal, and lasted deep into each sessions without overheating, so I will say the 13.8" rear brake upgrade was a success. I could push the car HARD for 5+ laps and have no fade. The braking into Turn 2 was very intense, with a long straight from T1 to T2 I was topping out 4th gear (120-ish), then braking downhill into a tight 2nd gear turn.

        Yes, the Mustang looks goofy with the oddly cut, black front fenders. It will only get uglier before the front gets repainted, too.

        After my curb fiasco on Saturday I was staying well clear of the edges of the track, save my minor 2-off in TT session 3. Lots of experienced Hallett people use the curbs in many corners to widen the track (esp Turns 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10) but I stayed the hell off of those things on Sunday! I wish I would have had a few more sessions to acclimate myself to the new car set-up and to this all-new-to-me track. I think if we would have been there Friday for the Test-n-tune event we both could have had some better lap times. Oh well, I caused the shortened Saturday, so I have nobody to blame but myself for the lack of track time. Next year.

        So we still have a ton of things to cover from late June and into July, but that will have to wait for next time.

        Last edited by Fair!; 07-24-2013, 02:27 PM.
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


        • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

          Got this question from an SCCAforums member...

          Hello, I was curious to here your opinion on something considering the headache these upper mounts have caused most people. If you were to ignore, just for a moment, any rules in terms of the racing you do with this car would you ever consider running a Torque Arm setup on the S197 since it eliminates the upper mount? What's your opinion on a Torque Arm setup in general on the S197 for a car that would see some small time events, back road shenanigans on the street and normal day to day driving? This is something I have considered pretty hard lately since I have yet to see a good option to get rid of all the problems with the upper link. I hear NVH can be a bit of a challenge with the Torque Arms transmitting rear pumpkin noise into the cabin but some folks haven't thought it was too bad and others thought it sounded kinda Cool
          That's actually a very good question, and one I've had with several SCCA autocross racers, various S197 track enthusiasts, and GM guys. I'm going to post this in my S197 Mustang build thread across all forums, since the "Torque Arm in an S197?" question comes up a lot. And there's a lot of bad information out there, I feel.

          Sometimes The Aftermarket Sucks

          First, let's look at the aftermarket as a whole, and the actual worth of many of the suspension product offerings. Remember what I have said for years about a lot of the bolt-on doo-dads in the aftermarket: some of the stuff out there is made simply because people will buy it. If it is steel, shiny, fabricated, and looks "neat" it often sells. There are so many bolt-on braces and reinforcements, replacement K-members and feeble control arms out there it is hard to wade through the junk and see the small number of helpful, properly designed, quality made parts that improve something. Some of the "I just replaced X" part" stories are soon followed by "This stupid thing broke!" complaints, but most of it gets enough steel thrown at it that they don't break, just don't do anything to improve the car. I had someone ask yesterday at the shop, "Should I get a better strut tower brace for my 2012 Mustang GT?" And I said "If you want a prettier one, sure, why not... but it won't make your car handle better or go any faster. Having any strut brace is usually just about good insurance for long term chassis rigidity... but the stock one works great". I would wager a guess that 75% of the bolt-on crap made for the S197 is mostly blingy steel, only made to lighten your wallet...

          "Well, It Worked in The 1970s"... But So Did Bias Ply Tires

          A Torque Arm + Panhard Rod rear suspension was first used by GM on the Chevy "Monza" chassis in 1975-80, adopted it to the Cosworth Vega chassis in 1975 (thanks wikipedia!), then was the basis for the all new 3rd gen Camaro/Firebird (F-body) chassis in 1982, and continued through the 4th gen F-body run all the way until 2002. The picture above is a mid 1980's V8 Camaro built for NASA's CMC class, and was in our shop for custom 3" stainless exhaust fabrication. This car has the stock stamped steel torque arm in place, and it bolts to the rear axle assembly - which was made to hold this. The transmissions in these cars had integral front mounts as well.

          What's Good For The F-Body...

          There are dozens of tubular or square steel fabricated aftermarket torque arms made for the 3rd/4th gen F-body chassis, some are adjustable (pinion angle), some have a front sliding spherical mount, others are "de-coupled" or even have a spring front mount. Most are made for drag racers but there are a few tailored for track racers, which can work for autocrossing. These are not a bad upgrade on these cars, as the stock stamped steel piece if a bit flimsy when loaded up with lots of braking torque and/or tire grip and/or power.

          The TA rear suspension was a novel way to package the "upper" rear control arm of a solid axle car while still leaving good back seat room. The long torque arm, stuffed in the driveshaft tunnel, replaced the traditionally short upper control arm(s) in a 3- or 4-link rear suspension. There are some geometry advantages and some disadvantages to the TA, but for the most part it worked in these factory designed cars because it gave better packaging and good enough handling & acceleration. It hurt braking performance, however, and the F-body's dreaded "axle hop" is traced to the geometry and bushing failures of the factory Torque Arm. Still, it was better than most of the crap used in pony cars in the 1980s-1990s, and I've personally installed aftermarket torque arms (plus panhard rods or watts links) onto many Fox and SN95 chassis Mustangs, with good results.

          Torque Arms Fit For Foxes

          These Fox/SN95 solid axle Mustangs, based on a 1977 Fairmont rear suspension, are a horribly handling messes with the stock "quadralink" rear suspension. These cars had no secondary lateral axle location, and instead the upper control arms are canted inboard at the top to give some lateral control of the axle. When these 4 upper and lower arms swing through their arcs, though, they bind HORRIBLY. To combat this, Ford kept the rear control arm bushings SUPER soft, which covered up this inherent suspension bind. Then, after they put a decent V8 in these cars (1985), Ford engineers slapped 4 shocks on the rear axle - two vertically mounted, two horizontally mounted - to keep it from axle hopping and flopping around under acceleration, because the control arm bushings were all so soft. Truly a terrible OEM solution in every way. Still, they sold a crapload of these cars, and drag racers and other racers changed the rear LCAs quickly. I've owned and raced and worked on many of these Fox Mustangs, too. If you added stiffer polyurethane bushings to the UCAs on a Fox/SN95, you would eventually rip the control arms and upper mounts arms right out of the chassis. Been there, seen that. These added MASSIVE bind as well. We took the rear springs out of a Fox with poly rear bushings and it not only supported the weight of the car, but you could drive it like that! So much bind.

          This meant that getting those upper control arms out of the rear suspension was IMPERATIVE, and naturally Mustang guys looked at the F-body TA solution. For the most part (with some notable exceptions), these 3rd/4th gen F-bodies dominated the Fox/SN95 in autocrossing and road racing for nearly 2 decades, and the factory TA + Panhard rod rear suspension was a large part of that handling advantage. So yes, an aftermarket Torque Arm + lateral link is a great solution for 1982-2004 Mustangs. It can work in drag racing or autocrossing, and SCCA rules makers finally relented and allowed the upper arms to be removed when a Torque Arm was installed. Many, many years after allowing TAs.

          Why would you keep the UCAs in place with a newly added TA? Bad class rules. If anyone kept the OEM arms in place AND added a Torque Arm to a Fox/SN95, there was so much rear suspension bind that it made things much worse. Tossing the UCAs away when you installed a TA was normal, but not in SCCA circles. You see, the rules makers often don't understand suspension design or the aftermarket solutions, at all, and after writing rules allowing Torque Arms in SP, they "forgot" to also allow removal of the UCAs. Then when this glaring omission was pointed out, they fought the UCA removal for years. SCCA knows best! So autocrossers with these Fox/SN95 cars that wanted the benefits of a torque arm would have to "keep" the stock upper arms in place, so many replaced the UCA bushings with Nerf football foam. This let the UCArms flop around harmlessly, didn't affect the handling and did not add bind. So the upper arms were just there for show, like on a T-rex. RARR!!! This met the letter of the rules, and the SCCA rules makers finally realized their mistake and updated the rules to allow UCA removal. Many. Years. Later.

          A Lot Can Change In 30 Years

          Some things never go out of style, but some technologies do become outdated. Brake drums are never used on performance cars anymore, but they were the standard for braking for almost 100 years. Just so, the almighty Torque Arm rear suspension has probably seen its day in the sun. Sure, this was a great aftermarket solution for 23 years of Mustang production, and it also worked well enough for 21 years on the factory F-body chassis. But what about the S197 chassis? The 5th gen Camaro? No, not so much use anymore. Ford found a way on the S197 to package a 3-link and finally added a separate Panhard Bar, and still managed to add high revving 420 hp V8 and kept the price under $29K. They could have used a torque arm, but there are just so many compromises, so they didn't.

          But the aftermarket sometimes just keeps doing what it makes money at. Since a lot of what is made and offered for the S197 Mustang is coming from some of the same shops that have been developing parts for the old Fox/SN95 for almost 3 decades, some of them just take the same old solutions and apply them to the newer chassis. This is where I think the mistake lies - in what I call "aftermarket inertia". Dated engineering that doesn't necessarily work well on the latest Mustang chassis is being pushed onto people by some parts makers... that either don't know any better, or just want to make some sales. I say all this with the "In my opinion, your results may vary, blah blah blah" statement at the end.

          The new for 2005 Mustang S197 chassis has a pretty decent 3-link/panhard rod rear suspension, that is light years ahead of the Fox/SN95 mess it replaced. This was and is the best handling Pony Car Ford has ever built, and part of why the 2011+ GT and Boss302 is compared in the same breath, and favorably, to $70K BMW M3s by all of the major car magazines. It was the first Mustangs in 2+ decades to not be based on the old 1977 Fairmont suspension technology. Sure, the S197's LCAs and UCA are still chock full of soft rubber bushings to allow for a smooth ride, but the fixes for these are MUCH easier than the Fox/SN95 cars. Just get some good, adjustable length LCAs with better bushings, ignore the UCA, bolt on some LCA relocation brackets, then get proper dampers and springs. Once the car is lowered you need either an adjustable Panhard rod or a Watts Link kit, to control the lateral location and re-center the axle. For 90% of the track/auto-x S197 guys out there, that's a good fit. For the last 10% at the pointy end of the racing grid, add a properly made UCA that has sphericals at both ends. Done.

          I think an aftermarket Torque Arm is the wrong suspension solution for the S197 chassis. It could even make the car handle worse than stock, in some instances, possibly... no, very likely adding axle hop under braking. I haven't driven an S197 with a TA yet, so I could be wrong... but I don't think so. I've raced in too many Fox, SN95, 3rd gen and 4th gen F-bodies to believe otherwise. As a suspension designer, I understand the geometry minutiae, the Pros and Cons of a torque arm set-up. I've owned 8 different 3rd or 4th gen F-bodies, 6 Foxes, and worked on many dozens more of them over the past 20 years. So I've witnessed axle hop in these cars first hand, the clanking and banging of the aftermarket TAs, and seen the extremes needed to tame these newly added problems. I've even seen a T56 transmission housings literally EXPLODE at an autocross, after violent axle hop under braking, with the torque arm pounding into the transmission in a 4th gen F-body. BOOM! Gears and fluid and case going everywhere. I have fought with bushings and shocks and tubular Torque Arms on these cars, both my own and customer cars, and know that they make for less than ideal street cars when you "fix" most of the problems. Aftermarket TAs get very noisy, very fast.

          So all that being said, I won't recommend a Torque Arm as a good solution for anyone with an S197 Mustang. Except for ONE situation: Serious, ultra-competitive SCCA autocrossers who cannot replace the LCA or use LCA relocation brackets (in ESP and STU class) but otherwise CAN run a torque arm.

          Which leads us to where we are now on solid axle rear suspension rules in SCCA Solo. The rules are broken. The solid axle rear suspension rules, as currently written for SP and ST, seem to be penned by people that do not understand suspension design, or the common aftermarket solutions. So we end up where the only way to get the geometry corrected on a lowered S197 is by spending $1000++ adding a janky, last century Torque Arm rear suspension solution to a 21st century car. Again, only on a serious SCCA autocross car built for ESP or STU, that's the only time a Torque Arm on an S197 makes sense. We had even planned on making one for my 2013 GT we were gong to build for ESP, until the SCCA "re-clarified" a rule that made the class less than ideal for us to build around (and kept the rule broken for 2+ years).

          For everyone else that autocrosses or tracks their car, not in SCCA's ESP or STU class, don't use this Horse and Buggy solution. That may seem negative towards the SCCA, and harsh to some aftermarket companies, and frankly it is. Because I've had to build cars around SCCA's broken and tortuous rules for 25 years. And I have seen too many useless suspension parts and poor solutions being sold by manufacturers. We go to trade shows and see that roughly 75% of the stuff there is useless CRAP. It frustrates me when I see people waste their time and money on useless crap.

          We still design many of our suspension products to meet some SCCA rules, begrudgingly, but it is because some of our customers want that. It drives me nuts when a rule is written so poorly that we have to make something less than ideal to meet it, but they write the rules used by 80% of the autocross clubs in the nation. What do ya do? Until the day that another group supplants the SCCA in autocross attendance and rules making, we're all stuck with their mess of a rulebook.

          I write letters to the SEB asking for rules updates and fixes. All. The. Time. It doesn't do much good, but if enough people write in and ask for these common sense updates, over enough years, they.... will.... them. Also, given enough time, many of these old farts die off or leave the sport, and eventually some new blood with a little sense will make it onto these rules boards. I've seen a few bright, upcoming autocrossers make it onto a few committees and rules boards lately, and that is encouraging.

          Here's what to ask for, if you are stuck in ESP or STU in an S197 Mustang, and want to see changes:

          1. Allow alternate LCAs. Adjustable in length, tubular steel in construction, why not? You're talking under $300 in parts to fix stamped steel, floppy stock arms, all while giving you pinion adjustment.

          2. Allow bolt-on, axle-side LCA relocation brackets. This $100 fix is so common and works so well that it hurts me to see them not legal in Solo (we install 2-3 sets of these on S197s per week). These make for significant fixes to rear geometry on virtually ALL solid axle RWD cars that are lowered (other than 1960s-based leaf sprung cars). Allowing these low cost, commonly available-for-every-car-in-ESP brackets that move the pick up points negate the need for $1000+ torque arm "fixes".

          Those two allowances are sorely needed, as the current SCCA Solo rules for this area are at least twenty years out of date with the aftermarket and racers.

          Before you ask, yes, I know some people will want to know more of the nitty-gritty details. Someone will ask for the geometry breakdown, every pro and cons, somebody else will throw three pages of calculations, another will add some vector graphics, and before you know it this will turn into an internet suspension nerdfest, heh. I think this summarizes the argument quickly: basically everything you do to help forward acceleration by adding a Torque Arm, hurts braking. Just adjusting the squat geometry ($100 LCA brackets) in a lowered S197 helps as much or more as a TA, has no down-sides, doesn't add the clanking and banging that normally comes with an aftermarket TA, and is 1/10th the cost or less. Well, other than the fact that they are not yet legal in some SCCA Solo classes. Also know that a TA is an old 1970s solution that just doesn't necessarily help the 2005-era S197 chassis 3-link rear suspension as much as it did the 1970s opposed 4-links in the Fairmont/Fox/SN95.

          Last edited by Fair!; 07-24-2013, 03:45 PM.
          Terry Fair -
          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


          • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

            Ford EPAS Feedback Failure?

            The Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) is a potential problem on 2011-14 Mustangs if you modify the suspension in certain ways. This question often pops up online and I get calls and e-mails from customers on a weekly basis, so I figured I'd put an updated "Public Service Announcement" in our S197 build thread as well as any EPAS specific threads we see on Mustang forums. I am not saying that this will happen to your 2011-14 Mustang, or another Ford automobile with EPAS steering, but it happened to our 2011 GT and we've heard of this on at least 100 more cars, too. A customer of ours recently found this Ford EPAS document, which explains what the electric steering is supposed to be doing.

            PDF of EPAS document:

            Of course in their effort to make "Pull Drift Compensation" work, to fix a problem most people didn't know or care about, the engineers neglected to see the possible negative side effects to this system when it sees parameters outside of the OEM suspension/tires/bushings. When you take a 2011-up production Mustang and modify any of these items below you can potentially cause the EPAS to go into an erroneous feedback loop.

            Modifications that can cause EPAS Feedback Failure
            • Aftermarket Front Control Arms
            • Aftermarket Front Control Arm Bushings
            • Radical changes to front suspension geometry
            • Significant tire/wheel changes (especially R-compound tires or slicks)

            Our issues first occurred with lowered ride height + poly LCA bushings, on an autocross car daily driven on 265mm street tires.

            This list may be incomplete, but it shows what we've seen that can cause this failure, and what some other suspension manufacturers and racers that have called and talked to us about have seen. It doesn't always happen when you change these parts, especially if you just do the mods and only daily drive the cars. Often it only takes time or circumstances - when these mods are installed, then eventually the car is driven at road course or autocross event, the feedback failure soon follows. And once it begins to happen it only takes a few circumstances (minimum speeds, a certain amount of steering input speed) for it to happen again and again. Watch the video below for how this happened on our 2011 GT after installing Energy Suspensions front LCA bushings.

            Vorshlag EPAS feedback loop video.

            The video above has been viewed many thousands of times. It has been sent to Ford engineers, but to my knowledge, Ford Motor Company does not have a fix for this, nor do they even acknowledge that there is a problem. The blame is quickly put onto any aftermarket suspension or wheel/tire modifications. Which is true - those changes can kick off this error, and we have not seen this happen on 100% stock Mustangs.

            But... there is an error in their programming, for this to happen so frequently with one simple bushing change. This issue cannot be fixed with a new program upload into the EPAS computer (located within the steering rack assembly), either. All attempts to over-write theses "ones and zeros" have been rebuffed or failed. But Ford Racing has a fix...

            Vorshlag does not sell the M-3200-EPAS steering rack, but Rehagen Racing does.

            We talked to Ford Racing folks, who knew all about the problem. They developed the "race rack" above for the Boss 302-R/302-S race cars, which all come with this M-3200-EPAS rack installed. It has the same hardware as the production 2011-14 racks, but just has the "auto nibble" or "Pull Drift Compensation" programming turned off. It is a simple $999 fix. They will not over-write this programming onto a used steering rack - they will only sell you a new one. We asked many times while the M-3200-EPAS unit was on backorder for several months.

            So, if you have a 2011-14 Mustang and plan on doing a lot of suspension modifications, either AVOID touching the front LCA bushings or using an aftermarket control arm (or even the Boss 302-R LCA) or PLAN for this rack upgrade. The LCA bushing or arm replacement are the two most common causes of EPAS feedback failure, and doing either is almost a 100% guarantee you will see this feedback failure. But if you run a production 2011-14 Mustang in any serious track or autocross competition, you pretty much HAVE to replace these bushings, so plan on the M-3200-EPAS upgrade at the same time.

            Why are these bushings imperative to replace? See for yourself. The rear-most lower bushing in the front Lower Control Arm is a HUGE chunk of soft rubber. It is the size of a 8 oz beer can. And if the rubber wasn't bad enough, it isn't even solid - there are channels or voids cast into the bushing, which are filled with hydraulic fluid. This does not make for a stable platform to mount the control arm, through which a majority of the suspension loads pass through.

            Bushing Deflection Test

            Do this visual bushing deflection test, as it is a real eye opener. Go in a parking lot with your S197 Mustang. Have someone prepared to drive the car while you watch. Stand a few feet beside the car and watch the front wheel. Have them reverse briskly then stop firmly. Watch the front wheel move fore-aft relative to the chassis. It will move a LOT. This is unwanted wheel movement and suspension geometry change in action, and it is very evident. The S197 Mustang is not the only car that suffers from super soft front suspension bushing deflection, as you can do this test on virtually any BMW or Subaru and any number of modern cars and see the same thing happen.

            Now imagine the car braking from 100+ mph, on a road course, while turning, and the car is equipped with wider and much grippier R-compound race tires. With the stock Beer Can-sized rubber & hydraulic bushings in place there would be a LOT of front control arm bushing deflection, which results in unwanted toe change to the front geometry. This will make the car unstable under braking. This is undesirable, of course. The fix is upgrading to firmer (polyurethane) front control arm bushings. These parts are low cost, with a less than fun installation, but they do work to control toe change under braking. But once installed... steering rack feedback will most certainly occur. And believe me, when this Feedback Failure happens on the street it is disturbing enough, but on a road course it is downright scary. We found that the only way to stop it once it happened on a road course was to come into the pits, cycle the ignition key, reset the Traction Control system (turning it 100% off), then going back out. After about a few months of this nonsense (while waiting on the M-3200-EPAS to come off of backorder), we finally replaced the rack with the Ford Racing unit and it has never happened again. There were zero other changes or benefits to this $999 steering rack.

            I'm not trying to sell folks on some bushing upgrade, or scare you into buying a steering rack we don't sell. Just warning you of a potential recipe for problems if you have one of these cars and do these mods. I don't want people reading our forum posts, buying Mustangs and mimicking our S197 suspension mods, to then blindly fall into the EPAS Feedback Failure. And overall these 2011-14 Mustang GT/Boss302 cars are the Performance Bargain of the Decade, and I highly recommend them to anyone that wants a super reliable 420+ hp V8, RWD sports coupe with outstanding brakes (optional Brembos), and a good basis to build upon - all for a really low price. Heck yes you should drive one, and you might end up buying one, just know that this is one of those potential Achilles heels, and the fix is fairly straight-forward, if a tick costly.

            Note: This issue does not affect other S197 Mustangs, like the 2005-2010 models with traditional hydraulic assist power steering, and might not even affect other cars made by other car makers with electric assist steering. More and more automakers are moving from hydraulic to electric steering assist systems, and this technology has MANY benefits (costs, weight, power savings, tunable power assist). I do think these electric racks will become the norm for OEM and racing vehicles alike. Ford just has a glitch here that I think they could fix with a little programming, and they have in the $999 Ford Racing version.

            Terry Fair -
            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


            • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

              Please explain this new Vorshlag brake duct cooling kit how will it be different from the Boss.


              • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                Project Update for August 6th, 2013: My last two posts in this thread were not specific to our 2011 or 2013 GT builds, but needed to be covered: the Torque Arm discussion followed by the EPAS warning. I will get back to our project cars in this post, I promise. Where were we....well back in June we hit several events. After we got back from the NASA weekend at Hallett in the TT3 Mustang, it was time for another Five Star Ford track day at ECR. In preparation for this event, we developed and installed our 14" Brembo BBK as well as a new Vorshlag brake ducting kit for the 2013 GT and performed our typical race prep on the 2011 GT and tweaked a few other things. The 2013 GT is now for sale as well (see this link or the details at the end of this post).

                Three Track Tests in the 2013 GT

                If you have been reading this thread for a while you know that I had purchased a 2013 Mustang GT last September for use in SCCA autocross use, for a dedicated ESP build. Long story but that plan was scrapped, so we decided to keep the car long enough to develop some new parts and move it to make room for an all new 2015 Mustang (that's still happening). We tracked it twice before and planned one more track event with this car, and each time out on track was a test. Each time I drove the car, at ECR, on the same set of 295/35/18 Nitto NT05 tires, to try to keep the variables minimized.

                Test 1: NASA at ECR, Oct 6th, 2012 - This was when the car had 500 miles on it, stock brake pads, the base GT's smaller 13.2" front brakes, even stock brake fluid. The car had our lightweight 18x10" wheels, the 200 treadwear 295 Nittos (that were purchased to run at the Optima Challenge in July 2012), a big Eibach front sway bar, and Vorshlag camber plates. I ran it in NASA TTB class (got killed, of course) and ran it for two sessions on October 6th. Even with stock suspension, power, and brakes, I managed a best lap of a 2:07.315, a solid 9 seconds slower than TTB winner KenO, but we stuck it in TTB just for testing purposes. I was only able to take about 3 hot laps, as the brakes would go to the floor on my 2nd hot lap, and it took several cool down laps to get them under control. During my 2nd session the front pads melted, fell apart, and it went to the backing plates. No brakes. The car was a big floaty mess and pushed like mad, but it could still boil the 295mm rear tires on any corner exit, easily.

                The ambient temps were in the 50°F range and the weather was clear. I drove two cars that weekend: our '13 GT and the '11 GT in TTS class, turning a 1:56.343 in the red '11 Mustang on Sunday - my new personal best lap at this track. Driving the '13 Mustang GT was a big hot mess, and braking with the small stock brakes was downright scary. The fluid got so hot that we melted some seals in the master cylinder (took us a while to figure that one out). I will never... EVER do another track event on OEM brake fluid or pads. Never.

                Test 2: Toy Run at ECR, Dec 8, 2012 - Now we had installed about $5000 worth of suspension upgrades and the handling on the 2013 GT was a LOT better. The suspension mods included a lowered ride height via AST double adjustable coilovers with remote reservoirs, 400#/200# spring rates (still relatively soft, but stiffer than lowering springs), and the same camber plates, wheels, tires and front sway bar.

                We also upgraded the brakes to Carbotech pads and Motul 600 fluid + Vorshlag SS brake lines. Massive improvement in stopping, but it would still only do about 1-2 laps and didn't stop much, if any harder. It kept the fluid from boiling, but the pedal was still mush (we hadn't found the master cylinder seal issue yet). The ambient temps were again 50°F and clear - almost exactly matching the NASA event two months prior. My best lap was a 2:03.7, so we dropped 4 seconds with coilovers and brake pads. That's a solid lap time that most S197 owners would kill for, and yet we had bone stock rear suspension parts, bone stock power, and still were on the small diameter brakes.

                I drove a staggering four cars that day (2013 GT, ChumpCar, BRZ, and 2011 GT) so my slate was very full. Needless to say I didn't get in a lot of testing/tweaking. With some more time and testing we might have found a little more time, but the brakes were still a limiting factor - they still had almost no endurance, and the mushy pedal did not instill confidence. I could take one hot lap followed by a cool down, rinse and repeat. Two hot laps in a row wasn't possible, due to the brakes overheating.

                Test 3: Five Star Ford at ECR, June 29, 2013 - So our third and final track test with this 2013 GT was the ECR event in June. I will go over the test results, then I'll back up and show the work. Same tires, and suspension, just one improvement to the car. However, this event was brutally hot and we saw ambient temperature creep up to 99°F by day's end - when I ran my best laps in the 2013 GT. People and bodies were overheating, and brakes were a nightmare on this day for most (see my event write-up below for more), but not this car.

                This event was a lot more crowded than either of the previous two tests, and since we were sharing the AIM Solo (GPS lap timer) between our two Mustangs, I ran in intermediate while Amy ran the 2011 GT in Advanced. This made getting a clear lap utterly impossible for me in the 2013 GT. I ran four sessions in the 2013 GT, one session in the 2011 GT, and another session in a friend's GTS3 BMW, for a total of six sessions. I caught cars on almost every single lap. At the end of the day I finally took the 2013 GT out in the Red group and got one - count em - one clear lap. I finally ran a 2:03.3 lap with clear track, in the hottest part of the day. It was MUCH easier to drive to that time on that lap than back in December, when it was almost 60 degrees cooler, too. And for reference, the best Amy or I could get in the 2011 GT was a 2:00 flat lap on this hot June day, nearly 4 seconds off that car's pace from October or December. So this brake upgrade did much more than the ~1/2 second improvement in lap times show.

                Making the 14" Brembo "Vorshlag" Brake Upgrade and Brake Cooling Kits

                The brakes are all we changed on the 2013 GT for this June track test. The brake system improvements made the car both faster and EASIER to drive. I could also push the car hard, lap after lap, without losing stopping power. Huge, massive, immense improvement.

                The upgrades included jumping up from the 13.2" OEM rotors to 14" Centric rotors, and from the 2 piston sliding calipers to the fixed Brembo 4 piston calipers. We went with Carbotech XP20 pads up front and XP12 rears, and had front brake ducting as well. The car could stop at 10/10ths every lap for 5-6 laps in a row (that was usually the length of the session). I was abusing the brakes as hard as I could and they just didn't care. We also had replaced the old Master Cylinder, so the pedal was finally rock solid.

                The Vorshlag S197 14" Brembo brake upgrade kit we came up with is based on the OEM 14" front brakes used on the GT500, Boss302, and 2011-14 "Brembo" GT's and Track Pack cars. We get the new calipers from Ford, the rotors from Centric, the pads from Carbotech, Vorshlag stainless braided lines (BrakeQuip), and it comes with all of the Brembo hardware. We make the kit option-able with any of the Carbotech pads, with or w/o the Vorshlag lines, and even w/o the brake backing plate dust shields - if you want to upgrade to a brake ducting kit. The prices are very competitive and we've already sold a few of these to track drivers in 2005-2013 Mustangs that came with the smaller front brakes. It is immensely more affordable than an aftermarket BBK, as it uses $99 replacement rotors and a common brake pad profile.

                The funniest part is that the massive aluminum 4 piston Brembo caliper is lighter than the aluminum 2 piston OEM caliper, due to the steel sliding mount that the 2-pot works with. The 14" rotor is a tick heavier, of course, but that's mass you want for soaking up and shedding heat. We upgraded the front rotor to Centric's best option; this rotor comes with black coated hats, which won't be rusty looking in a week like the stockers.

                We are still finalizing our brake ducting kit, which will have a specific grill and grill ducts for the '13-14 GT's and will be made to work with the CS Lower Fascia on the '10-12 GTs. I'll post up more about that kit later, when it is ready, but needless to say for serious braking on track you have got to duct the front rotors. Our '13-14 duct kit will pull air from an unused portion of the lower center grill area rather than the outboard fog light openings like some other kits (including the '13 Boss302). This inboard spot gets cleaner, higher pressure air and has a straighter shot with the brake duct hose routing when you pull from the location we did. Again - when I have more pictures and details I will share them - those two pictures above are only from my phone.

                Continued below
                Last edited by Fair!; 08-09-2013, 06:58 PM.
                Terry Fair -
                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                  Event write-up Five Star Ford at ECR, June 29, 2013

                  In the section above I talk about the 2013 GT Tests 1 through 3, with the 3rd test being done at a June 29th 2013 event. I drove two other cars that day, and we worked on many more, so I will do a quick event write-up. As I've said before, the 2.7 mile course at ECR is a brake killer, and when it is approaching 100 degrees it only gets worse. But we love ECR as a test track on Mustangs because it has a lot of tight corners, bumpy surfaces, and these brutal braking zones. There are also some decently long straights to take advantage of power.

                  We had both our 2011 GT (Amy in the red) and 2013 GT (Terry in the black) out running at this event. We took riders all day.

                  I noticed several things after driving both the '11 and '13 GT's that day. One, while the extra 50 whp from the modified exhaust/tune/cold air on the 2011 GT makes the car a little louder and more fun, the added power isn't a HUGE improvement. The stock powered '13 GT 5.0 could hold its own on the straights with virtually any car out there. Both cars had very high end monotube adjustable coilover dampers (Moton doubles with remotes on the '11, AST doubles with remotes on the '13), so the bumpy nature of this track upset neither car. And after adding the same 14" Brembo front brakes, ducting and Carbotech XP20 front pads to the '13 GT as the '11 GT, they both braked VERY well, lap after lap after lap.

                  No, the biggest difference between the cars was grip.

                  Obviously, the '11 GT has wider wheels (12" vs 10" wide) and tires (315/30/18 R-compounds vs 295/35/18 streets), and a much softer tire compound (Hoosier R6 vs Nitto NT-05) than the '13 GT. This made for different driving lines and speeds in corners, but almost identical brake marker choices. The Turn 3-4-5 complex as well as the Turn 7-8-9-10 sequence were MUCH slower in the black '13 GT on 200 treadwear street tires than in the '11 GT on big sticky Hoosiers. In the end we only saw about 4 seconds difference in the fastest lap times from each car that day, and it was all in the turns. But, and this is important, the '13 GT could only do one TOP SPEED 10/10ths lap in a row, due to rear tire overheating. The brakes could go all session, finally, but the street tires would only make it for one very hard lap before they got so hot the rears would start slipping and sliding like mad. And this is even with +60mm more tire than stock at each corner.

                  Video from the Eagles Canyon Track Day ~ Hosted by Sam Pack Ford. Video by Ben Freedman

                  Again, I'm kinda hard on tires and brakes, and aggressively use the throttle, so I might be more prone to rear tire overheating than some in Mustangs. The '11 GT could just pound out lap after lap at the 2 minute mark or quicker, with the Hoosier R6 tires. It was easy to keep going and going at full tilt, as long as you didn't get stuck in traffic.

                  ECR Photo Gallery:

                  I did notice the '13 GT run a bit on the warm side, late in the day. We haven't seen overheating in our 2011 GT at all, even running it for the past three years in all sorts of hot weather events (up to 105°F). But last weekend in my 2013 GT it got up past mid-way on the stock temp gauge, to 3/4 and almost to the "H"... first time we noticed that. This was after 6-7 hard laps (15 minutes) in the last session of the day when it crept up to 99°F. The only difference in our two Mustangs is the grill... the '11 GT has no foglights and the '13 GT still has them in place. Both have completely stock cooling systems, and none of the extra coolers that come on the Boss302 or Track Pack cars. Strange. Only did it once, and after half a lap it cooled off back to normal. Never had a check engine light or loss in power, just saw it creeping up and I cooled it off. I dunno... if I was going to keep this car the fog lights would come out next to hopefully improve radiator air flow.

                  I had a blast driving Dave B's GTS3 BMW, too (below, right). This was formerly the gold 4-door 325i called "Goldmember" back in the day, which I helped him flare and stick 18x10" wheels with 285mm tires onto. Dave worked on the GRM E30 for a year as well. This car has come a long way and it is now gutted, caged, with an S50 motor, and he's raced in NASA GTS several times with some wins. The car was built on a tight budget, but is still fast and fun. He wanted me to take a session in it, so I climbed in, knees hitting the dash, and managed about 6 laps before I brought it in. Lots of grip, no, mountains of grip! Those 285mm R compounds on a sub 2500 pound car WORK.

                  We tracked down a few issues and I told Dave I'd come out and help him debug some things at another ECR test, which I did on July 13th. I got out there with all of my test gear, sitting on pit wall, timers going, 7:30 am, he's making a warm up lap... and of course the car broke (camshaft) on his first test lap - dumb luck. Oh well, we'll do it again soon and help him get more speed out of this car. It should run 2 minute flat times once it is sorted; he played lead-follow with me in the 2013 GT and he could keep up.

                  I've still never driven a '11-up GT on track with the base model 18x8" wheels and 235mm All Season tires (above left). I suspect it would be quite hilarious, but probably very frustrating after a lap or two. These tall 18" all seasons are nice for the street, but you can NOT use the gas pedal much or the rear will spin for days. I've tried in our 2013 GT on the street, but they are devoid of any usable grip. These particular wheels no longer fit over the 14" front brakes, so they are of no use to me on the 2013 GT. I'm still amazed that Ford would put a 420 hp motor in these cars and allow the base model GT to come with such skinny, crappy, low grip tires. The 13.2" brakes are also pretty much crap, and won't last two laps of hard use on a track like ECR. As I tell anyone that will listen, the MOST important option to get when ordering or looking for a '11-14 GT is the BREMBO BRAKE OPTION. This is the best bang-per-buck option on the best bang-per-buck model Mustang ever made. It only only takes you from a 13.2" front rotor with craptastic sliding 2-piston calipers to the 4-piston fixed Bembos and 14" rotors, but it nets you a one inch wider wheel as well. True, it is a 19" wheel, which is really only done for styling purposes, but at least it comes with a 255mm tire.

                  Again, if you purchased a '11-14 GT with the smaller brakes, we've got that covered plus more in our Vorshlag 14" Brembo Upgrade Kit. Hugely important if you ever track your '05-14 Mustang and it came with the small stuff. I mention this again because we had some good examples of how bad the smaller 13.2" Mustang brakes are that weekend at ECR, with one fellow getting all of ONE hot lap before he called it a day. It took one lap for the fluid to boil, the brake pedal went to the floor, and off the track they went. Weee! We've since hooked him up with some proper fluid and Carbotech pads, and he's heading back out on track, but the 14" Brembo front brakes are on his wish list, and brake ducting won't be far behind.

                  The base GT's 13.2" front brakes are better suited to drag racing or autocross, not track use.

                  Ryan was there at this ECR event with me and Amy and he worked his butt off all day long. There were a lot of noobs at this event, driving new but mostly bone stock Mustangs, and some EVO and BMW guys, too. Even with instructors slowing them down, several of the new guys ran out of brakes in one or two sessions. Luckily we brought a lot of tools, a generator and an air compressor. We ended up doing full Motul RBF600 brake fluid flushes on several cars, one guy fried his pads, swapped some wheels for people, changed camber on multiple cars, diagnosed weird sounds and shimmies in half a dozen cars, and basically Ryan was wrenching all day long - he never even made it to pit wall to work on our two cars. Most of the work was on brakes.

                  In the first session of the day, a student asked one of the experienced instructors to take a few laps in his 2012 Mustang GT (non-Brembo car). The instructor took a warm up lap (driving 5/10ths), then sped it up a little on the beginning of lap 2 (7/10ths) and drove right off the end of the hardest braking zone corner. He was shocked - "Man, I was barely pushing the car, didn't have two laps on it yet. It just lost the brakes completely!!! Pedal went to mush, I was pumping the brakes but nothing was happening."

                  Been there, done that. We looked at the car and both the fluid was boiled and the front pads were gone, turned to goo. Luckily no damage was done other than to ego. Student was really bummed, as he got ZERO laps himself (they gave him credit for a track day the next weekend). We brought spare track pads for S197s, but didn't have them for the non-Brembo front calipers in our trailer, so he called it a day very early. Amy saw him in the paddock later, all bummed out with no brakes left, and she stuck him in the passenger seat of our 2011 GT. After a session riding with me in the 2011 GT we turned his frown upside down. He was so pumped when he got out of the passenger seat - hooked for life! He came by later the next week, picked up some Carbotechs and Motul from us, and I gave him some barely used 13.2" front rotors, and he was back at the track the next weekend - with no problems.

                  So the moral is - don't underestimate the basics. S197 Mustangs come with "low rent" brake consumables from the factory: the stock brake fluid and stock brake pads are really for street use ONLY. Even noobs can ruin the old/stock fluid quickly. Sure, some new students are rolling around so slowly that their brakes might make it the day, totally depends on how hard they push it. I seem to find the weak link in any cars' braking systems very quickly, and apparently so do some other instructors. It doesn't take much to really need front brake ducting on these cars, too.

                  Time To Sell The 2013 GT

                  As much as it pains me to do this, it is time to let this car go to a new home, and it is now for sale. We recently saw the extremely delayed ruling on the Watts Link/Diff Cover change for SCCA ESP class (a simple rule tweak took 8 months to write + 1 or maybe even 2 more years to implement?) and now it might not take effect until 2015? Basically this demonstrates that they don't care about Mustang owners with these needlessly slow rulings - delaying the "rules fix" to make the majority of the off-the-shelf Watts Link systems legal until after 2015. Progress within this club is painfully SLOW and frustrating. I'm not sitting on this 2013 GT for another year or TWO just so the rules makers pull their heads out of their back sides, so the dedicated ESP build we originally purchased this car has been aborted.

                  Vorshlag 2013 GT is FOR SALE. See more here.

                  Still, buying this car wasn't a waste. We got some testing done, logging good track data in wheel/tire changes, camber plates, shock/spring upgrades and brake upgrades. We developed a few unique to '13-14 parts, and made somebody a really cool track/street car, but for the most part I lost a lot of time and money on this car purchase. I won't forget this one for a while, and will think very hard about it before I build another car around SCCA Solo class rules again. Lesson learned.

                  Left: This is the lightest stock 2011-14 GT we have ever weighed. Right: Not much room left in my home garage to park this one

                  We have added a few more mods to the car since the 3rd track test day in June. We had previously installed a Spohn "Del-sphere" Adjustable Panhard Bar to this car but it just made too much noise on the street, so I had the guys yank that piece out and install a Whiteline Adjustable Panhard Bar instead. Ahh.... quiet and effective. While they were under there, I had them add Whiteline LCA Relocation Brackets too. These brackets improve the rear geometry for cars lowered like this, and makes it better for street, track and dragstrip use. This black on black 6-spd car is absolutely spotless inside and out and has 5100 miles.

                  It has AST double adjustable coilovers with remotes ($5000), WL Panhard Bar and LCA brackets, Vorshlag camber plates, D-Force 18x10" wheels, 295mm Nitto NT05's, 14" Brembos, Vorshlag brake ducting and SS brake lines, all synthetic fluids, and plenty of custom care done by the Vorshlag techs. Details like the Seals-It 2-piece grommets in the trunk for the reservoir pass-throughs, custom reservoir mounts, and more. A lot of car for the price - see the For Sale page for more details (please don't post questions in this thread - PM me or e-mail us at

                  If the price is still shown on the linked for sale page, then this car is still for sale. If not, it is sold. Somebody is going to get a killer street/track car for a great price. We showed it at the last Dallas Cars and Coffee event and had some bites, and I suspect it won't last long. Again - I'm losing a lot selling it at this price, but having two track S197s right now doesn't make sense. We've got so many project cars being built and this 2013 GT is now just a distraction. If you want to come by and look at the car, please call Vorshlag a day before, so I can bring it to the shop from my home garage.

                  Last edited by Fair!; 08-06-2013, 05:00 PM.
                  Terry Fair -
                  2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                  EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                  • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                    Project Update for August 14th, 2013: I am still playing catch up on the event coverage in an "STU prepped" 2012 Mustang GT I co-drove in July, some changes in SCCA classing that affect the S197 (both good and bad), and some major aero work on our 2011 Mustang GT that we are attempting before NASA Nationals in a few weeks. Let's get to it.

                    Since the bulk of this post has to do with a test we did in an STU prepared Mustang, I will give some background on the many SCCA autocross classes that an S197 Mustang can be raced in, with my personal views on each. I've raced in every single one of these classes at some point in the past 25 years, and many of those times were in an SN95, Fox body, or S197 Mustang. Or a Camaro, Subaru, BMW or EVO.

                    SCCA Solo Classing - Many Choices, None of Them Great

                    I have been fairly vocal about my disdain for some of the rules and rules makers in SCCA Solo (autocrossing), but it is still the biggest club doing these lower speed events in the country and it cannot be ignored. Many other clubs just adopt the SCCA rules, letter and verse, so this big book of rules is the one most people go by (346 pages in the 2013 Solo Rule Book, plus another 28 pages for supplemental event regulations and tire clarifications). Honestly I try to get S197 racers to NOT build around SCCA rules, as it will likely only cause you frustration and pain, but if your goal is to become a competitive autocrosser and nothing else, then this is the series to build around. If you are a casual autocrosser, just know the basics below, build what you want, and "run what ya brung" at local events in the class that is the closest to your car.

                    Let's examine the basics of each of the optional SCCA Solo classes for the S197 Mustang:

                    F Stock - Aftermarket shocks are allowed (up to custom double adjustables with remote reservoirs), aftermarket front OR rear sway bar, R compound tires (which goes away in 2014 with Street class), but stock sized wheels, stock springs, and very few cars can have any additional camber adjustment (and virtually all stock cars need it). If you don't have a 2007-08 Shelby GT (which is essentially an "ESP-Lite" car from Shelby/Ford), then you're wallowing around on stock spring rates, super tall ride heights, and hating life.

                    I really dislike the Stock category due to the excruciating restrictions in some areas, yet wide open rules for tires and shocks (which can really drive up costs), and calling it the "entry level" autocross class is a bit of a misnomer. The super sticky tires needed at the top levels to compete puts the costs of this "entry level" class far out of the reach of the average autocrosser, and the restrictions on modifications keep just about every car's suspension tuned so poorly that they handle for crap AND eat tires too rapidly. There were a lot of good, proposed changes to fix this category for 2014 (camber addition, banning crazy custom shocks, sway bars open, 200 TW street tires, +/-1" of wheel diameter), but the rules makers backed down and in the end only really got one change through - the switch to 140 treadwear street tires for next year. It is still going to be a painful class for the typical (non-Shelby GT) Mustang S197. It will still have too much pitch, roll and brake dive and it will handle like the images shown above.

                    Street Touring (STX -> STU) - For most of the ST category's existence, the S197 5.0L cars were able to run in either STX (on a max 265mm street tire and 9" wheel) or STU (on a max 285mm tire, unlimited wheel width). In 2012, they locked this car into STX which I felt was a slight mistake. We raced our 2011 GT in STX for two painful years, where it sucked badly, then stepped up to a 275mm tire on a wider wheel and ran in STU twice. The handling and fun was a lot better for such a modest increase in tire size. Suspension options are mostly unlimited shock, spring, camber, and (non-metal) bushing choices, with some out of date rear suspension restrictions. Motor has to stay stock from throttle body to exhaust port, with headers, full exhaust (with catalytic converters) and a cold air intake being open.

                    You can tune the engine (EFI) to your heart's content, which essentially allows for unlimited boost on factory turbo cars (there is no policing of boost controls - nor any scheme to ever do this). We pushed hard to start a letter writing campaign in early 2013 to get the V8 S197 Mustang moved to STU, and it seems to have worked. Supposedly this is going to happen starting 1/1/2014 (or 2015 depending on how you read the confusing rules update). Will this car do any better in STU relative to STX? Probably not a WHOLE lot better, but the added tire is badly needed on these heavy, powerful cars - we tested this theory in the event described below. Even as uncompetitive as it seems on paper, I feel STU is the class that 90% of the casual Mustang autocrossers would end up in.

                    E Street Prepared - If you've been reading this build thread for a while you know that we left STX/STU and went to ESP in our 2011 GT in late 2012. We had limited success there (4th at Nationals), due to a lack of testing time, excessive weight of our car relative to the top ESP car (a hybrid Firebird build of a drivetrain/chassis combination only allowed in this class), and some other mods we had not explored yet. This class allows the same weirdly restrictive yet expensive suspension mods as Street Touring, plus unlimited wheel and tire width, and super sticky R compound tires (with treadwear ratings approaching 0 and slick tread, yet still "DOT" certified). Again, some weird aero mods are allowed (circa 1960), plus unlimited intake manifold, no emissions regulations, some obscure amounts of port matching, unlimited EFI, and unlimited boost (which is explicitly allowed in this category).

                    This is still a "good" class to build for, if you can stomach the tire bills, and with enough time/money/testing a fully built S197 could win this class. An expensive tire budget is a key issue. The Hoosier A6s start to fall off after about 20 runs (usually 60 sec in length), and are probably corded after 40-60 runs. If you want anything more than local competitiveness, you will be building a purpose built race car, sans A/C, radio, emissions, and more. But it will still have the stock camshaft, heads, internal engine parts, and the funky rear suspension issues are likely to be in-curable without extraordinary measures.

                    Street Mod - This class takes Street Prepared rules, then adds a good bit more. Cars in this class must have four seats (from the factory) so that puts your Mustang up against a lot of AWD turbo cars, lighter BMWs and several other four seat RWD cars.

                    Winning SM in an S197 can happen locally (we've done that a few times), but at the National level you will be hard pressed to get the car down to minimum weight and still be fast enough to beat the other cars here. Still, the relatively unrestricted nature of the rules - unlimited engine mods, metal bushings allowed everywhere, big wings and splitters - will attract a limited few S197 folks to this category.

                    So those are the main SCCA Solo classes for the S197 Mustang. You could also build for C Prepared or E Modified in an S197, but those two classes are ruled by completely gutted race car shells running on giant non-DOT slicks. And both classes have their own set of open yet restrictive rules that will make you want to pull your hair out. Just... don't even think about those two options. Of all of the above choices, I feel the only two worth exploring in an S197 are STU and ESP, with STU being the much more common choice, as you have to run on 140+ treadwear street tires and keep emissions equipment. This saves you a lot of money and keeps your car a dual purpose street/autocross car.

                    Since we started the STU letter writing campaign, personally raced an S197 in STX for over two years, and raced an S197 in STU when it was allowed before 2012, I wanted to see how one of these cars would stack up at a local SCCA event in STU once again. So less than two weeks after the August 2013 FasTrack announced the S197 move back to STU (effective in 2014, we think), I found a Coyote equipped Mustang with a lot of the standard STU mods to co-drive and we ran it in this new class.

                    SCCA Autocross, concrete lot at Dallas Raceway, July 28, 2013

                    Mark Council is a Vorshlag customer and tester and has been building his 2012 Mustang GT around the ESP class in SCCA autocrossing. Mark said before that he would prefer to race on street tires, if this chassis was moved to STU class in the Street Touring category. So after the August 2013 FasTrack announcement, he offered me a co-drive, we found a Texas Region SCCA event on concrete, and away we went.

                    Mods to Mark's 2012 GT include: AST 4150 coilovers, 550#/in front and 250 #/in rear springs, Vorshlag camber plates, lots of negative camber, 18x10" Vorshlag/D-Force wheels, 285/35/18 Hankook R-S3 tires, Torsen T-2R differential, reprogrammed rev limit (7000 rpm), factory 3.55 gears, MGW shifter, mufflers, Whiteline sway bars front and rear, optional CS lower fascia, optional Brembo brakes with Vorshlag SS brake lines and Carbotech AX6 brake pads. He has more planned, but that's what it had installed when we raced it. Not a bad combination at all and it's 100% streetable and emissions legal. And most important of all, it's STU legal.

                    In order to avoid running both drivers in the same heat on this VERY hot Texas summer day, we split up into two available run groups. Two drivers running the same car in one heat would have overheated the tires quickly, plus made it more difficult to "reset the car" between runs. I've done it many times at local events and it always becomes a major time crunch - bleeding air pressure, cooling the tires and engine, checking tire temperatures, changing numbers, resetting cameras and more. So I ran in the 1st heat in the "X" class, with my first runs at 77°F ambient and my last runs in the high 80s. This is an optional class in our region to allow the National level drivers (or anyone who chooses) to compete together in this class, running with a PAX factor. It keeps the regular classes from always being dominated by the National level folks. I had no illusions that I would win X-class, as the PAX factor for STU almost exactly matches ESP's, even with STU having a lot more restrictions and running on street tires. I just wanted to break up our runs into two heats, but still wanted to see how the car stacked up in this PAX class.

                    Click above to watch Terry's third and fastest run in STU-X. You can stream up to 720P rez

                    Mark ran in the actual STU "open" class during the 4th and final heat of the day, which was also the hottest part of the day (97°F). The course was dirty in the first heat and cleaned up for later heats, but the added ambient temperature took some of the "clean" advantage away, at least on street tires. We figured we would analyze his runs against the four STU cars and my runs against the X-class "pro" drivers and both against overall PAX results. I got 29th out of 136 in PAX, which is much lower than I have done at these Texas Region events lately in our 2011 Mustang in ESP or even StreetMod. But before you guys over-analyze the PAX results, comparing this car's runs by me (running in X-class in 1st heat) or Mark (running STU in 4th heat) to other classes/heats, know this:

                    There was a course change after the first heat. The first heat had the following classes: AM, BM, CM, CS, GS, DM, EP, FP, FSP, GP, STF, X. The Safety Stewards demanded a change to the finish, but not until after the entire first heat had made their five runs.

                    Terry driving during his fifth run with Mark riding shotgun. Pretty cool video with
                    three camera views . Almost as quick as his solo third run. Up to 1080P rez

                    Again, splitting up and running in two different heats was a choice we made due to the hot conditions and relatively short heats. We knew that if both of us ran in the same heat at the very end of the day (97°F by day's end), that the tires would overheat badly. As it was, we still sprayed tires after EVERY run in the morning (for me) and TWICE after each afternoon run for Mark. The rear tires got HOT HOT HOT. I even had some trouble with the brakes hitting a bit of ICE MODE on the ABS as well. Again, the course was much dirtier when I ran in 1st heat, and Mark had no such complaints.

                    Left: Splitting up our runs into two heats allowed Mark (L) and me (R) to help each other between runs. Right: Jason McCall's BSP Corvette.

                    The mid-event course change essentially throws away the comparison data for runs that were not made in the same course configuration (1st heat vs 2nd/3rd/4th heats). During the morning course walk I predicted the finish would be too fast and that the curve right before the lights would create lots of spins and prompt a course change after the first few runs. Instead of making the change early and re-running the first few cars, they made the unusual decision to change it after an entire heat ran. Ironically the course fix didn't make the course that much safer - as there were almost as many spins in the finish after "the fix" as before.

                    continued below
                    Last edited by Fair!; 08-14-2013, 11:18 AM.
                    Terry Fair -
                    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                    • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                      continued from above

                      Click the "spinning image" above for in-car video from McCall's BSP Corvette (5th overall in PAX). This 48.464 second run was clean.

                      If you look at my best raw time (51.228 sec), it looks like I nearly matched 7-time ESP National Champion Mark Madarash's official time (51.19 with +2 seconds for a cone), and out PAX'd him... But again, he ran another course with only one run and it had a cone (something broke on the line during his second run - he left the event early after his single run in heat 3). I did put two seconds on the four cars that ran in STU open, but again, I ran a different course. Nobody knows if the course change was faster or slower, or by how much. Just... "different". 1st, 3rd and 5th in overall PAX ran in the 1st heat (and were all in "X" class), whereas 2nd, 4th and 6th in overall PAX ran in later heats on the altered course, so who knows?

                      The only data that is really usable is to compare Mark's STU times vs other STU and STX drivers, or my times within X-class. No offense intended, but the drivers in STX are a lot more competitive than STU class in our region, with the two top STX cars being fully prepped, dedicated autocross-only cars (we've worked on both cars here at Vorshlag) and driven by serious drivers. Brad Maxcy was ON FIRE that day, where he won STX class big time and PAX'd strong (6th) with his 50.29 second run (compared to the fastest STU time of 53.126). The X-class has 100% PAX factored results and only the first three runs count for times or overall PAX. They DSQ runs 4 and 5, so I took passengers on runs 1, 4 and 5, which is how National level events are run - three runs and done. I was 7th out of 9 X-Class entrants, and my third run was one of my best feeling runs in a LONG time, yet I still got creamed relative to X-class.

                      Part of that is the actual PAX number for STU is terrible, and even STU people will tell you the factor for this class sucks. The STU PAX is .846, whereas ESP is nearly the same at .849, while STX is considerably better at .827. So this test was only partially successful and many of the comparisons we wanted are invalidated by the changing course and conditions. Next time we set up another S197 in STU test (you up for it, Mark?) we will both run in STU open class, and just spray those tires like mad.

                      S197 in STU: Impressions + Street Tire Car Control

                      All-in-all Mark's mostly-STU-prepared Mustang was a LOT more fun to drive in STU trim than my '11 GT was in well prepared STX trim. Personally I wish Mark's car had the 3.31 gears (instead of the 3.55), as we had to use 3rd gear on this course. And the MGW shifter was too balky and difficult for me to shift fast, but I feel this way about every aftermarket short throw shifter I've come across on the MT-82. Give me a poly rear body mount bushing + stock shifter and I'm never missing a shift. Other than that the car was a dream - we only made a few tire pressure and shock adjustments and it felt like I could put the car anywhere I wanted, rotate as much as needed, step on cone bases, put the car in any amount of yaw, etc. But of course it always takes some delicate car control to get everything out of a 375 whp car on 200 treadwear street tires. It was a LOT harder to drive this car in STU than our Mustang was in ESP, where we had massive R compound tires to generate gobs of grip. Autocrossing on street tires is a smart choice financially and it will also make you a better driver.

                      What? That sounds crazy, but bear with me for a minute. When I first started autocrossing I was in college and had no money. Neither did any of my racing buddies at the time in the Texas A&M Sports Car Club - we were all starving students who raced whatever we could on cheap, junk tires (usually used street tire take-offs we pillaged from a local tire store, or discarded R-compounds we scrounged from Texas World Speedway events). Instead of splurging on $1000/set R-compound tires every 4 or 5 events, we ran on $20/set "may-pops". But a bunch of us were racing together in the same cars (mostly 5.0L Fox Mustangs and V8 Camaros) and on the same grip levels, so it was fun.

                      To make it competitive (competition = fun!), we created a new autocross class that had virtually unlimited mods, but had to be run on max width 275mm 200+ treadwear tires and the car had to be tagged/inspected/insured, back in 1990. We called this class Super Street Modified, and we banned all Porsches and Corvettes (and would have banned AWD turbo cars, but they didn't exist here yet). At our 120-150 entrant TAMSCC autocrosses we would regularly have 30-45+ cars in the SSM class, almost 100% of which were RWD pony cars with college student drivers. Since our tire budgets were kept so low, we could actually afford to do a lot of autocross events, and even set-up and ran TAMSCC practice events many times per year. At these practice events we would make 75-100 runs in a single day, sometimes using up more than one set of tires. Not four autocross runs in a weekend, but one hundred. Seat time, seat time, seat time.

                      We would swap cars, learn techniques from one another, and we all developed a lot of car control as a result. And you know what? A lot of National level autocrossers and competitive road racers came out of this group of budget driven, college street tire autocrossers. Since we were forced to drive on low grip tires, it made us better drivers. And while all of those folks have since moved beyond street tires and are racing on the best tires money can buy, we all benefited greatly from racing on street tires for several years. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have half the car control that I do now if I hadn't raced a challenging, high power RWD car on low grip street tires way back then. So don't blow all of your money on R compound tires if you are just starting out in autocross - learn to drive fast on street tires for a few years before taking the plunge.

                      Driving Mark's 2012 GT on 285mm Hankook street tires reminded me of my days racing in SSM - back to dancing around the rear tires' friction circles in a stick axle car with too much power. Throwing this big car around, muscling it through tight offsets, using every ounce of forward acceleration that the tires would allow... it was damn FUN. Driving it at 11/10ths all day and not hitting a single cone was what I really liked, even if my raw and PAX times weren't noteworthy to almost anyone else there that day. Running in any ST class takes thick skin, as you just might get beat by an H Stock car on R-compounds. So be it.

                      Unlike the two years where we hopelessly slid around in STX in our 2011 Mustang GT, the added 20mm of tire and extra 1" of wheel width running in STU once again made this car a good bit easier to drive than in STX. It was by no means a cake walk though. The throttle takes a delicate touch and it is still likely one of the more difficult cars on the paddock to drive quickly. Sure, Mark could add a Watts link, real race seats, and a different shifter (did I mention I hate all S197 short throw aftermarket shifters), and it will only get faster. Adding things like a cold air, headers or other power upgrades probably won't make it faster, but will make it more fun, and a tick lighter. But this car is 90% prepped for STU as it sits. And it will never win a trophy at Nationals, heh.

                      And Now: C5 Corvettes to STU?

                      Our test was a bit of a bust, due to circumstances out of our control, so we will all need to run more Mustangs in STU. Once we have gathered a lot more data then we can try to prove a case to have the STAC/SEB add more tire width to STU stick axle cars. Does The S197 need a tire adder? Of course it does. But it will take a lot of events, a lot of time, and a LOT of letters to get the SEB and STAC rules makers to even think about that. Still, the Mustang is MORE FUN TO DRIVE IN STU than in any other class (FS, ESP, SM, CP, EM). That part I will stand by. Just as long as you don't mind getting beat by virtually any car on R-compounds.

                      How anyone could logically put these two cars in the same class is beyond me.

                      Members of the STAC have said openly that they don't really care about Pony cars/Mustangs, and that they think this request to move the S197 from STX to STU is pointless, but at least they have agreed to it so far. Your volume of letters could not be ignored. The STAC now actually seems more concerned with adding a virtually-never-raced, low production two seat Corvette (non-Z06 C5 Corvettes, to be exact) into STU than helping the much more common S197 Mustangs and Pony Cars be competitive in their new class. They sit around and compare thrust vector calculations rather than using any logic or common sense about vehicle choice. Just... ignore the whole Corvette-to-STU thing, it will blow up in their faces. Please write a letter opposing it, of course. I feel that if more Mustang folks just show up and run STU, then they can't ignore these cars forever.

                      Mark's fifth run in STU was his fastest and good enough for second out of four in the class.

                      Big thanks to Mark C. for the co-drive, and to the folks in STU at this event for being cool with Mark running in the class "a bit earlier" than the planned class move (2014-ish), hence the STU* class marking in the video description above. Mark drove his tail off and took second place out of four in the class, but I don't think traditional STU racers across the nation are too worried about these heavy metal pony cars moving into the top ST class. The 3500-3600 pound V8 S197s will need some help (more tire and/or extra allowances) if they are to ever trophy at the National level against 3000 pound AWD cars making 350+ whp. After having prepped and raced in several AWD turbo Subarus and EVOs as well as E36 M3s in STU, I know it is a rough road ahead - but at least the car is going into the a class that allows a little more usable tire.

                      Vorshlag 2011 TT3 Mustang GT - Pre-Nationals Preparation

                      There is so much going on to our red 2011 Mustang GT that I really don't know where to start. I've been gathering front end parts for this planned aero re-work for a couple of months now, and the fabrication work to make the changes we wanted have been going on for the past week or so. As I've said several times in this thread, we're taking our street car Mustang GT to the NASA Nationals and throwing our entry into the TT3 class. Many racers think I am foolish to even try, and they may be right, but since we're not going to the SCCA Solo Nationals (always the same week as NASA's road race Nationals) we wanted to go check out NASA's big annual shootout instead. We have a lot of customers who will be at the NASA Nationals that we can see and I've never driven Miller Motorsports Park in SLC, Utah. It should be fun.

                      Miller is a large, fast track with straightaway speeds exceeding 160 mph in TT3 trim... we think. The track is located in the desert just outside of Salt Lake City, so the altitude is 4000 feet, which means the air is a good bit thinner here than in Texas. We are developing a MASSIVE new splitter up front with a ducted hood to hopefully help with the high speed push we've been experiencing this year, and to compensate for the thinner air in SLC. We designed this splitter in-house and had it water jet cut to our specs, and everything else shown below is also being built here at Vorshlag.

                      Left: The "let's take a look" phase, showing the 3" aluminum tubing. Right: Off with the Leguna Seca splitter.

                      This new mega-splitter (10.25" long at the nose) should make considerably more front end downforce than the 5" long ABS plastic Leguna Seca splitter did before, and hopefully it will help with cooling (which is also more difficult in thinner air) as well.

                      Left: Since she won't let us cut on OEM sheet metal, we bought another hood. The 19" wheels are on for "ease of pushing". Right: Proposed ducting.

                      We have moved some things around under the hood in order to make room for the large holes we're adding to the hood (a used 2010-12 stock aluminum piece) to better pull air from behind the radiator. The OEM coolant reservoir is no longer sitting behind the radiator on the right side, it is now relocated off to the left side of the engine bay, out of the airstream we're adding.

                      New bumper beam is 1.75" x .120" wall DOM tubing and it bolts on to the frame rails. Plenty strong, but less bulky than the OEM beam.

                      The cold air inlet tube is no longer blocking the left side of the engine bay like the factory routing. Now it goes over the top of the radiator support towards a Corvette style air cleaner located in the space where the old bumper beam was. A new tubular bumper beam replaces the stock piece and will anchor the down-stays for the splitter as well as a tow hook. It looks like the 3" diameter tube snaking over the radiator support wouldn't fit under the hood, but this 3" aluminum tube (with a MAF sensor plate welded in place) does clear with the hood down. The hood has been clearanced on the bottom side (two of the three layers of aluminum were notched), the center mounted OEM hood latch is gone, and the hood will be held in place by four aero latches.

                      Left: Radiator ducting coming together and air inlet looming above. Right: Ghosted image showing the insides.

                      These changes seem like trivial things, but it took a good bit of fabrication work to re-route the inlet tube and to relocate the coolant reservoir. The added "real estate" behind the radiator and in front of the engine will have some "waterfall" air deflectors we create down in there. These will help push the incoming air aft of the radiator up to the hood openings. These will not be 100% perfectly sealed, but it doesn't have to be to still gain some significant front downforce.

                      Left: Upper grill block off plate and new "sacrificial bumper cover". Right: Cold air inlet plumbed through radiator ducting.

                      continued below
                      Terry Fair -
                      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                      • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                        continued from above

                        We have two modifications in store to reduce drag. First, proper fender flares for the larger 12" wide front wheels. Second, we've sealed off the entire upper grill area with all of the cooling air coming into the lower grill opening in the CS lower fascia. A sealed aluminum radiator box has been fabricated to force air from the lower grill to the entire frontal area of the radiator (actually, to the a/c condenser - yes, this car still has A/C. Hey, we live in Texas!). A smooth grill cover will be made to help reduce the drag on this huge, "inverted" factory front grill. We have an aluminum grill cover for now, but it will hopefully change shape soon.

                        Left: Front rework is getting closer. Note the relocated coolant reservoir. Right: The blue hood is clearanced (and photoshopped red!)

                        The splitter we made is from sheet aluminum (6061-T6) that we had water jet cut to our drawing. It is very big. The picture below shows where Ryan was with the fab work on Monday the 12th, but we've gone much farther than that by the time you read this.

                        Ryan is deep into the middle of this fabrication work and I will hopefully have time to show a more polished look before we roll out to Utah on a 22 hour tow in three weeks time. We're mocking up the front flares tonight and we will have a surprise in store on how we make them. We are showing more of the TT3 Mustang's front aero work in real time on our Vorshlag Facebook page, too.

                        Tires - What To Use, What Is Affordable?

                        The number one budget busting item on our race car is still tire costs. We've been using Hoosier A6 and R6 tires this year, and with Hoosier's generous contingency program plus a string of wins we have won about 16 tires so far, but we've used more than that. We didn't have any TT3 competition at Hallett, which means no tire payouts, so we were out of luck for more fresh tires to take to NASA Nationals. I found a close-out deal on some Continental tires, quickly read the TT rules, and bought a pallet of them.

                        Left: 320/650/18 fits perfectly onto an 18x12" wheel. Right: Mountain of 305mm and 320mm Continental GT slicks.

                        The mountain of Continental tires arrived last month. I had hoped to use them in TT3 events and in testing, with the Hoosier A6 still being our ringer tire we'd use for one session per day. The A6s don't have more than one hot lap in them at a time, so when I need to learn a new track, a harder tire like these Continental GT tires work better. These Continental slicks are actually made and sold by Hoosier, and I have been told they are pretty close to an R6 in terms of grip and wear.

                        Left: The 305/650/18 Continental slick fits perfectly on an 18x11" wheel. Right: Note the "tuck" on the 18x10" wheel at right. Too fat.

                        Well... it turns out I didn't read the TT tire rules very well. All non-DOT slick tires take a pretty hefty penalty over the DOT Hoosiers in TT1-TT3, even if they are harder and slower than a DOT tire like the A6. There was an exception for the Continental slicks used in SCCA Grand Am racing - they are classed as a Hoosier R6 and do not take this penalty. So, I bought a pallet of them... but these aren't the same tires, and instead are from the Continental/Rolex GT class... so to use these admittedly slower endurance slicks I will have to take a 300 pound weight penalty. 4090 pounds is a bit too much to stomach for a race weight, so we won't be using these on a NASA race weekend. I will save some of the 320/650/18s and use them for HPDE events and testing, then sell the 305/650/18s on 18x11" Forgestars as a package. Luckily the 305/650/18s fit very well on 18x11" wheels, so I think these will make some weekend Mustang racers pretty happy. Look for mounted/balanced sets for sale soon.

                        Cars and Coffee Dallas August 2013

                        We brought 3 Vorshlag cars to a C&C event this month to show off some of our new shock offerings. I washed all 3 cars myself and we added some subtle decals here and there. Matt's blue BRZ was sporting Vorshlag camber plates and a brand new set of MCS TT1 coilovers which we measured, spec'd and had built to our specs. Brandon's white NB Miata in the middle has our first set of "Bilstein Redline" coilovers that we built in-house, a few days earlier. Once we have the valving tweaked on the rears these NB shocks will go on sale, and I will talk about both of these coilover sets in more detail soon, inside our "Shock Announcement Thread". And of course my 2013 Mustang GT has custom built AST doubles with remotes. We had this car here more to show it off to potential buyers than the shocks it had.

                        C&C August Pics:

                        Yes, the black 2013 GT is STILL for sale. We had a few nibbles but none of the interested parties showed up to come test drive it. So please - spread the word. I need to turn this car into cash to help fund new Vorshlag product development. For Sale Ad is here.

                        What's Next?

                        Some additional fab work is obviously needed on the TT3 car, and the final mounting of the new mega-splitter is happening now. A new, much thicker, all-aluminum fabricated radiator is due tomorrow, which will hopefully help with any other cooling issues (again - in three years of track abuse we have never had a single overheating issue on this car) that we might see from the higher altitude or the reconfigured grill. A track test is planned in the following week and we'll take photos and video using flow vis to see if we're on the right track. As always, I will share all of the progress and testing in this build thread. Hopefully we can add one more update right before we head out to Nationals, with the car all back to one color, after the final track test.

                        More soon,
                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                          Project Update for August 28, 2013: Been a busy couple of weeks since the last project thread update, with the majority of the new aero work completed on our TT3 Mustang after working long hours every day and night. It was a major thrash to get all of this done in a 2 week period. During that time we also ran an autocross event with Amy driving our 2013 GT (STU) and me in Matt's BRZ (STX), and then track tested the new front aero parts on our TT3 Mustang. We're now in the final week thrash to do all of the "clean up work" to the car before we load up and head 22 hours across country to the NASA Nationals Sept 4-8th, so let's get caught up.

                          S197 Mustang Coilover Tester Needed in Dallas/Ft. Worth Area

                          Before we dig into the STU Mustang autocross test results, let's get to the reason why we went to this event out of the way - to test some MCS coilovers on one of our shop employee's cars, a 2013 Subaru BRZ. And this has a bearing on the S197, too. How is the suspension on a BRZ important to a Mustang? Well, they have several things in common: both chassis have McStrut front/shock rear suspensions, both have a factory coilover spring on the struts, and both chassis Vorshlag makes camber plates for. They also both are RWD, and they share almost the same track width (about the only dimension they have in common). So our suspension testing on the BRZ does sort of apply to S197 Mustangs.

                          We also sell MCS coilovers for the S197 Mustang, and in fact we have the first TT1 set in stock that we had built to our specs. All we lack is a tester to buy this set, then let us photograph, install and measure all of the parameters we like to check on a brand new suspension option like this. We've done installs on MCS RR2 doubles with remotes and TT1 singles on other cars, just have get a Mustang buyer to let us install a set for the S197 chassis.

                          Fitting the custom built set of MCS TT1 shocks to a tester's BRZ, sans springs, for bump/rebound measurements

                          We need someone local with an S197 that street drives + tracks or autocrosses their Mustang to sign up as a Vorshlag Tester for this first MCS TT1 set we had built. This would include a discounted install at our shop, a free corner-balance, and hands-on set-up help at a local autocross or track event(s). Go to the recently updated Vorshlag Tester Page, read the Tester Expectations, and if it sounds like a fit, sign up to be a tester via the method shown on that page. Don't call, or shoot me a PM, or send a fax, or wire us a telegram, but instead follow the instructions on that page to sign up. If your criteria line up with ours, we can get the MCS TT1 installation pictures for the S197 chassis. This would be another great monotube offering we can provide for this chassis (to go along with the offerings we have from Bilstein, Moton and AST). The MCS units are a bit unique in that they only have a 2 to 3 week lead time, are modular and can be upgraded to doubles or with remotes, and the have very beefy internals, shafts and housings.

                          SCCA Autox at Crandall, August 18, 2013 - STX vs STU?

                          So we decided to enter this autocross after we installed the MCS TT1 coilovers on Matt's 2013 Subaru BRZ. This car has been waiting on proper coilovers for almost a year, and after a few fits and starts we finally got a high end, adjustable monotube coilover on the car that was made to the specs we wanted. Working with MCS has been easy and we've installed and sold a good number of their singles (TT1), internal doubles (TT2) and doubles with remotes (RR2) onto our various customer cars.

                          You can read more about the BRZ project here, but the plan quickly became to drive this car in its Street Touring class (STX) at the same event as two S197s we brought and ran in STU. Amy drove our 2013 GT (which is still for sale - hello, is this thing on??) and Mark C drove again his 2012 GT in STU class, so we could compare times against each other and against the other STU and STX cars in attendance. There were a number of strong regular competitors in STX cars at this event who ran in other classes for various reasons (mostly time of day choices). Still, it was worth comparing to the top ST cars there, so we will, at the bottom of this post section.

                          Vorshlag Photo & Video Gallery:

                          So Amy Fair, my wife, is a 3 time National Champion autocrosser (STU-L twice and ESP-L last year) was running our 2013 Mustang GT in STU. This car is far from under-prepped, and in fact had a couple of "illegal for STU" mods, but this was a good venue to test those things because they were both items we've been asking the STAC/SEB to include for solid axle STU cars. The main suspension items were a $5000 set of AST remote reservoir double adjustable shocks with 400F/200R coilover spring rates.

                          The 2013 also has a big adjustable Eibach front swaybar, plenty of front camber (VM plates), upgraded and ducted 14" Brembo brakes, and 295/35/18 (10mm wider than allowed in STU - for now) Nitto NT-05s (200 treadwear) on our Vorshlag/D-Force 18x10" wheels. It also has Whiteline rear control arm Relocation brackets (also not yet allowed) plus a Whiteline Adjustable Panhard bar, to center the axle since it is lowered approx. 2 inches. This car had zero power mods, as it already made 377 whp with the bone stock 5.0L Coyote motor - which is too much for 295mm street tires to deal with on TRACK (see above), much less use in thae "knife fight in a phone booth" which is autocross.

                          Have I mentioned that this car is for sale? Oh, there, I did it again. Somebody is going to come by and drive this car, realize what an amazing deal this is, and buy it. And then rub it in other peoples' faces.

                          Mark C is a bit newer to autocross (couple of years) but has a solidly prepped car as well, and was running on fresh RS-3 Hankooks in 285/35/18. These felt like they had a good bit more stick than the year-old 295 Nittos on our car, so the extra 10mm was probably a wash, if that. Mark's Mustang was on AST 4150 coilovers, 550F/250R springs, BMR adjustable panhard bar, the same 18x10" wheels with the aforementioned "200" treadwear RS-3s (they used to be 140 treadwear but Hankook asked the Pope to sprinkle holy water on them and viola! they are now 200). It also has a Torsen T-2R aftermarket diff, 14" Brembos, and some other goodies, but also stock power.

                          SCCA Event Results:

                          I guess the BRZ was fairly well prepped for STX, too. I figured beforehand that we might give the two STU Mustangs a run for the money, and was hoping just to keep within a second of the fast STX guys that I watch in our region, like Brad Maxcy's BMW 328is and Mark Sipe's RX8.

                          Mark C (STU 150) and Amy (STU 197) ran their 5.0 Mustangs in the first heat of four for the day - which was both good and bad. It was good because the surface temperatures on this concrete lot were lower, as were ambient temps in the morning runs. This meant the tires wouldn't get overheated as quickly - but we still had to spray tires on both cars after runs 2-4. At least the didn't have co-drivers to add to the tire heat. But it was bad because the course surface for first heat wasn't as clean as it gets later. Texas Region SCCA does a phenomenal job in prepping the course, with multiple backpack air blowers and brooms, but nothing replaces car tires scrubbing the surface clean. And the course was a bit tricky. It was long, with a LOT of slaloms and near-offsets, perfect for narrow cars - more of what I call a "Miata-centric" course, which we see a lot since the course designer drives a Miata (love ya JJ!). It also had three increasingly tight 180° turn-arounds that joined long-ish acceleration zones. This was AWD heaven.

                          Walking it I could see the two STU Mustangs probably having trouble with corner exit traction compared to the AWD cars in their class, as the exits from each major "slow down element" (the three turn-arounds) were pinched off (aka: decreasing) and not what these cars need to "excel". The tightness of the 180s were also going to be tough to navigate in these big cars, as were the slaloms. But the BRZ on 17x9" wheels and brand new 255/40/18 BFG Rivals was almost as wide, at a measured 71" outer track width. So it might struggle through the slaloms, too.

                          It turned out to NOT be the case for the BRZ. This car was eating up the slaloms! In the video linked above (which has horrible audio, thanks to a previous gen GoPro HD camera) is my best run in the BRZ. It was a GRIP BUGGY, and at 2700 pounds with 255 Rivals, excellent shocks and great camber, I guess it should be. My first run in the BRZ absolutely obliterated both STU Mustangs. Now I did run in heat 4, so the course surface was cleaner. But it was also 90°F, so it was hotter when a ran, too. And I was co-driving in a 2-driver car with Matt, and we had to do fast driver changes - we barely had time to spray the tires, switch numbers and reset the seat/wheel between runs, and we had help (thanks, Olof and Mark).

                          So it looked like Matt's BRZ was pretty quick for having zero testing, at its first ever autocross. We basically threw a bunch of parts at this car, took some guesses at set-up, and went out there and drove it. Of course the parts didn't suck... custom spec'd MCS TT1 coilovers, 450#/in springs, Vorshlag plates, Whiteline bars, Enkei 17x9" RPF-1 wheels (15.8 pounds) and brand new 255/40/17 BFG Rivals. It needs a test day to get the bars, spring rates and other adjustments sorted, but we tweaked shock settings and tire pressures during the event and it felt pretty damned good.

                          This car was hooked UP on this course. At 2700 pounds the BRZ has a huge weight advantage on the 3600 pound S197s in STU, but with 166 whp it lacks a bit in the "go" department. I beat on that car like a rented mule, launching from the Start at 5500 rpms and taking it to redline several times on course; even using 3rd gear on most of my runs. These cars have relatively low power levels, but it just didn't matter. This is autocross, where WEIGHT WINS. In the end the BRZ was 3.6 seconds faster than Mark or Amy in STU and 1.5 sec faster than the winner in STU. That was shocking, and more than a little depressing. I mean, sure, I knew the BRZ could be faster but not THAT much faster than two well prepped STU S197 5.0 cars.

                          Matt, the car's owner and a 5 year veteran here at Vorshlag, is still a novice autocrosser yet beat the 30 car Novice class handily in the same BRZ. So I guess we had the car set-up well enough from the start. Co-driving the car with him in the last heat of the day made it tight on driver switchover timing, and the car slowed down on my last 2 runs - we think from both tire and brake pad heat (he had on the OEM pads and I was turning them to goo with my hectic Left Foot Braking). We just could not get the tires cooled down on our last 2 runs.

                          Left: Twin turbo LSx powered 68 Camaro on street tires! Right: 2 liters of naturally aspirated fury pumping out 166 whp. Its no Coyote 5.0.

                          PAX Results:

                          I will be the first to admit that I'm no "momentum" car driver, yet the times still PAX'd 13th out of 121, and won STX class by a 2.5 sec margin. My best run in the BRZ was run #3, still with with a passenger on board (took passengers on runs 1-3, then took runs 4-5 solo), so I know the car had more left in it. I feel that the tires were just a tick too hot, and word is the Rivals do not take extreme heat well - but what does well in Texas summer heat with 2-drivers running back to back? Not a whole lot. Normally you don't want to have a 2-driver car in any class in this kind of heat.

                          Amy driving the 2013 (at left) in the same 180° corner as Mark in his 2012 (at right).

                          Looking at the results, the two STU Mustangs were bringing up the tail end of their class. It seems that the Mustangs were very close to each other, and in the end Mark beat Amy by .009 sec, which is no small feat. Sure, Amy was coning runs left and right (3 of 5 runs) but her fastest run was clean and on her 5th and final attempt. Maybe her car's tires were past their due date (NT-05s were never that grippy), but she was hustling around that course and stepping on cone bases, cutting good lines. She's been racing since 1993 and often matches or beats my times, but she's a bit rusty in Solo this year. And in case you are wondering, I might guess that.... I might have put a second on her that day in that car, maybe. I almost never beat her by more than that, and we are often in the same tenth (or she beats me) when we co-drive together.

                          The image above (click or any other it for larger version, as always) is a "composite results" listing I put together of all of the STX & STU cars. I even dragged in some StreetMod and X class entries, that were really STX or ESP cars (but not the entire X or SM classes). Sometimes the online results disappear over time, so I like to make my own copy. This grouping shows all of the cars that matter to the STU Mustang. As you can see there was a good variety of cars in the STU class, including a 2.5L WRX, an EVO X, an E46 M3 (Gaith's car, which we have worked on several times), and the two Mustangs bringing up the rear. STU should be faster than STX, of course, but it doesn't always work out this way.

                          continued below
                          Last edited by Fair!; 08-29-2013, 11:18 AM.
                          Terry Fair -
                          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                          • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                            continued from above

                            It looks like my STX winning time was also good enough to top STU and all of the STX cars at the event but one, as Mark Sipe cleaned up some cone trouble with a hero 5th run (running in Street Mod during heat 3) that put almost 9 tenths on the BRZ. He's a damn fast driver and has been racing that RX8 since about 2006, and it is set up well. Maxcy was fast in his well prepped BMW 328is (running in X class) but also had cone trouble and sat on his 1st run. Since he was in X class and they automatically DSQ the 4th and 5th runs (that class only), and he was a bit closer on his 5th run. Madarash's ESP car was smoking fast, and even with the harder SMod factor he just out-placed me in PAX results. After watching all of my runs on video, there was clearly more time in the BRZ than we saw in this first event, with better driving and a developed set-up. As usual I complained more about power than anything, and there are some proven power mods on these cars out now, too.

                            In the end I think this event was a better test point for the "S197 in STU" idea than the last autocross where Mark and I drove his 2012 GT in two different heats on differing courses (mid-event course change, ugh). The times we see in these results show another piece of data supporting the request allowing more tire on the Mustangs in STU. Even with 295s and $100 worth of "cheater" rear suspension upgrades, it was still lacking. Both Mustangs would have gotten killed in the old STX class, especially running on the skinnier 265mm tires, so I think STU is still the right move for these cars. Of course everyone can always drive better and Mark will only get faster as he gets more seat time and mods on the car, but Amy isn't new to this sport and neither of them brought an un-prepped STU car.

                            Since there is still no resolution in sight on the ESP Watts Link rules debacle (delayed until 2015, for no good reason), see I will continue to not build a car of my own around an SCCA class in 2014. This is unusual for me, as I have almost always had a car built around some SCCA Solo class rules since I started autocrossing in the late 80s. Instead I will try to continue to co-drive cars like Matt's STX BRZ or maybe Mark's STU Mustang, at local events through this year and maybe even into next season. Might do the "local" National level events but I won't travel for them. We have been doing 25-30 race weekends a year for the past 7 or 8 years in a row, and it is taking its toll. Amy and I will continue to concentrate our personal cars and efforts on campaigning our 2011 Mustang in NASA TT (as well as another car we are building) next year, which as a club has been a good bit easier to deal with.

                            We are also on the list for a 2015 Mustang, as soon as they are released, whatever it looks like or weighs. Who knows how the SCCA will class this car, or if it will be heavier than the outgoing chassis? I think that all of the rumors out now of it being lighter than the S197 are wildly optimistic, but I am hopeful that with IRS it might have better corner exit traction. Time will tell. However it turns out we will try to make it better, and track + autocross it to test parts we develop for this new chassis.

                            More Aero Prep on TT3 Mustang

                            Now for the stuff most of you have been waiting for - if you even bothered to read the autocross bits above, I thank you. Many of you have been watching the progress of our front aero work from the past two weeks on the Vorshlag Facebook page. But for the rest of you, let's catch up from where we left off in the last update, where we were just starting to get the new aero development underway. Don't forget that almost every picture I post can be clicked for a larger rez version.

                            One big slab of 6061-T6 x .190 sheet makes up the new splitter, and yes, we probably went too thick and this thing has a sizable amount of heft. Its hard to tell in the small picture above (left) how much bigger the new unit really is. The black one is the Leguna Seca ABS splitter sitting on top of our aluminum BMF splitter. The Leguna piece sticks out past the lower fascia by 5.5". The new unit sticks out front by 10.25", almost double the forward length. It also goes back a couple of feet and is wider by nearly 4" per side, and is mounted 1" lower as well. The extra width is there to better line up with the upcoming tire spats/flares that will cover the front of the 18x12" front wheels. Spinning tires sticking out in the air stream are a big contribution to drag, so we planned to cover the leading edges.

                            The spacer to lower the splitter was built out of is 1" square aluminum tubing, pie cut on the back side and bent to match the curved contour of the lower fascia. This was then TIG welded back together while held in the fixture shown above, ground smooth, drilled for the existing mounting holes, and bolted between the splitter and fascia it becomes a rigid spacer. Ed cut and shaped this thing one night using his portable band saw, then Ryan (who did 90% of all of the work in this aero mod project) welded and ground it smooth, and it came out looking much nicer than any race part should. If we have ground clearance issues we can remove this 1" spacer and adjust the rear mounting eyes upward to match.

                            The radiator I talked briefly about in my previous post is shown above. Yes, it is a Mishimoto unit, which is a fabricated, all-aluminum radiator that is much larger than the OEM piece. It bolts in place and has the integral mounts for the A/C condenser, which is still on this car. We were going to buy the Ford Racing Boss-S radiator (M-8005-MGT), but at $750 retail (still $650+ at the lowest shipped price) I just couldn't stomach that. We have had excellent results with Mishimoto radiators in the past on LS1 BMWs (I have one in my new E46 LSx build, one in the Alpha E36 making 490 whp, McCall had one in his Z3 LS1, Matt has one in his E36 LS1, etc). Then we realized... damn, we're a Mishimoto dealer, and they do make an S197 drop-in radiator. We sell this radiator now for $247, which is a steal. I will touch on how it worked in my coverage of the ECR track test, below (excellent).

                            Above left you can see the "waterfall" air deflector that we built for behind the radiator. There are brackets that hold it in place (not shown in these pics yet) and it has rubber edging and cut-outs near any radiator hose. This deflector seals to the bottom of the radiator but is open on the sides. It directs the airflow up towards the hood ducting, but isn't part of a 100% sealed duct system. We talked to other race engineers and they agreed - the small incremental improvements from making a 100% sealed radiator-to-hood duct system is not worth the added work compared to what we have done here. We could get 90-95% of the benefit for 1/3rd the work. The upper right pic shows the first iteration of the rear splitter mounts. These are custom made pin mounts that go into small spherical eyes that can be adjusted up/down for a better fit. We have 3 on there, and the outer 2 have latching pins.

                            Above left are the fabricated struts that hold the front of the splitter and bolt to the fabricated push bar behind the bumper cover. These are adjustable in length and made from aluminum tubing and steel threaded eye ends. They have been weight tested and also proven on track, don't worry. The above right picture is with the hood ducting cut and some corrugated cardboard stuffed in place, for mock-up. Then Brandon did his photoshop tricks and made the blue hood look red.

                            Building the hood ducting was done in the method shown above. We looked at other ways, and even attempted to weld on the aluminum sheet that the OEM hood is made of. welding was a major chore so we went with rivets. The aluminum side panels have small angle pieces riveted to them and to the hood, and he structure is actually stronger than before due to the boxed shape of the two ducts.

                            How big are the ducts, and why didn't we just "buy a Tiger Racing hood!", like so many people suggested? Well, as you can see, a human head will fit through the duct openings, so they are bigger than anything we've seen out there. The drop on the ducting is also very deep, unlike any off the shelf hood we have found for the S197. This drop was only possible by moving the coolant reservoir and factory routing of the cold-air inlet to the middle and going over the radiator support. THIS was why we did all of that work. The TR hood also has the ducts in less than ideal placement, in my humble opinion, moving from a low presure (forward) to high pressure zone back by near the windshield. It is also $1500+ for a composite hood that is prone to cracking, and a real bear to paint (according to a body shop I talked to that has done a half dozen), whereas this is a $300 used aluminum OEM hood with just "some fab hours" into it. It is still light and yet strong enough to work for years without cracking. Mostly it allowed us to make the ducting as deep as we wanted in where we wanted, instead of being stuck with an aftermarket composite hood's shape and layout.

                            As you can see above, Ryan added some epoxy seam sealer to the edges of the hood openings where the sheets of aluminum met. Again, welding this OEM material proved problematic, so we went with rivets and panel bonding epoxy on everything. It is air tight and STRONG. The ducts are BIG, placed in the correct low pressure areas (in theory), and they drop WAY down and grab air from the now uncovered back of the radiator, with more flow pushed upwards from the waterfall deflector. This hood ducting combined with the massive splitter we fabricated should produce significantly more front downforce than the LS splitter we used before, even at low speeds. In theory. Neither Jason nor I are aero engineers, but our mechanical engineering backgrounds aren't from another planet, either. We also know some smart aero guys who gave us a lot of tips.

                            Continued below
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                            • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                              continued from above

                              We never got a good picture with the bumper cover off of the new "Corvette style" air cleaner installed onto the end of our fabricated aluminum intake tube, and now that is all buried under the front end and I don't want to pull it all apart for a pic. Above are a couple of pictures with the clear cellophane still on the air cleaner, but mounted in place. Removing the big, bulky factory bumper beam and foam crash structure and replacing it with the fabricated 1.75" x .120" wall DOM tube allowed a lot of extra SPACE for the rather large air cleaner to sit and draw air from. It is up out of the air stream with just the carbon fiber "lid" visible from the grill opening. It might get a tiny bit of extra airflow from some "ram air" effect, but I doubt it will be noticeable (it wasn't on track). That wasn't the intent of the new intake tube routing and air cleaner location - it was all about making room behind the radiator for the new hood ducting's surface area.

                              In order to leave as much room behind the radiator for more surface area on the hood, to allow more flow through the ducting, we ditched the OEM electric fan and shroud. Why? The stock fan shroud was VERY THICK (4" or more), and it was also sealed to the entire back surface of the radiator. This is a good thing on a 100% street car with stock grill and stock radiator, as it allows the fan to suck air from the full back surface of the radiator and not just the round area that the fan blade covers. We aren't as concerned about stop and go traffic driving as much now, and once you are up to speed (45 mph or so) on track the "free flow" across the radiator makes the electric fan irrelevant - and in fact, the shroud can restrict free flow at speed. So we added a slim aftermarket 16" diameter electric fan without a shroud. This mounts to the Mishimoto's upper and lower flanges with custom aluminum brackets Olof fabbed up. We have it tied into the factory wiring harness and it functions just like the stock fan (computer controlled). When Ed and I ran the car Friday night to burp the new coolant system (filled with distilled water), the engine idled for about 20 minutes and the fan came on 2 times for about 30 seconds. Trust me, it moves some air. You can feel it sucking in on the front of the radiator and also blowing hard up from the waterfall deflector. We had to wait for the track test to see if the ducting work would pay off with adequate cooling, seeing that we blocked off over half of the grill opening area. We were warned by countless Mustang folks watching the pics on FB that it would overheat and melt the block like the core of the earth, too.

                              Another area we wanted to improve was the oil / air separator system. We have been using the JLT for over 2 years, and had upgraded their normal kit to have a real mounting bracket (we fabbed) and real metal fittings and lines (the JLT kit comes with plastic bits that eventually crack/leak). It was OK but the kit we had only drew crankcase pressure from one cylinder head - the passenger side. I picked up the can from a Moroso kit a while back and used it in a new system we built. This larger Moroso oil / air separator draws from both valve covers, into the separator, with a vacuum source on the other side of the can. We were pressed for time and simply used 5/8" heater hose for the lines with Norma clamps crimped at each end. We set-up the Moroso can using fittings with hose barb ends that we put together and mounted to the firewall with the included mounting bracket. I hoped the heater hose could take suction without collapsing (it doesn't!), but we had the track test to check that out at.

                              I'll cover the new flashy bits and we'll move on to the track test. First you will see coil covers are painted red now instead of blue, which I had spray bombed 2 years ago. A recent Vorshlag customer upgraded to some metal Ford Racing units and gave us his painted red ones, which actually match this car's body color so we swapped them out. Meh, it was a freebie, and the blue covers were a bit garish. The other bit of flash is the GOLD foil on the intake tube. This is not just for hard parkers, as it is used on real race cars all the time. This foil is DEI reflective gold foil, which we've used before on other builds, especially when the intake tube is around a source of radiant heat (like this one, which routes right over the top of the radiator and sticks out in the post-radiator air stream). And Brandon just took this shot (above right) of the air cleaner with the bumper on - note how it isn't really in the air stream, but tucked up behind the bumper cover. Un-ram air.

                              At left above we have the fabricated aluminum grill cover riveted to the factory grill surround. It isn't the final cover I had envisioned (wanted a smoother, more aerodynamic insert), but it was already made and we went with it for the track testing - and might not mess with it for a while. You can also see the tow hook we finally added to the front of the car. Yes, we went 3 years without a tow hook - and luckily never needed one. Whew! Above right I am doing the "200 pound splitter load test". The splitter doesn't bend, instead the front suspension just takes up the extra compression load, as it should.

                              We had a LOT of late nights over the previous 2 weeks to get the car track ready, and finished up Saturday night and loaded the car into the trailer at around 10 pm. As I was installing 4 temporary hood pins Ryan swapped on new front Centric rotors, new Carbotech XP20 pads, and flushed a little Motul 600 through the lines. The track prep went to just about the last minute. The plan was to test at ECR on Sunday morning at 9 am.

                              Note: we did not have the flares completed when we went to test, we do understand that some bad aero drag occurs when the tire is visible from the front like this, but they were partially done before the test - just not enough to mount them. Due to some business reasons, we are not showing the manufacturing techniques for our flares. Nothing revolutionary, but I've never seen flares done the way we have in mind - and it could completely flop, so I don't want to show my ass if it does, ya know? There are some teaser shots of the flares in progress, below, from after the track test.

                              Dyno Tuning at True Street

                              We have to back up a couple of days to cover the dyno tuning we had done before heading to ECR. On Friday before we went to the track to test we delivered the Mustang pieced together just enough to get it to True Street Motorsports, who does all of our Mustang engine tuning. The bumper cover and splitter weren't attached yet, but that didn't matter for the chassis dyno pulls. We've been using True Street for close to 3 years, and they have re-tuned our car after each major change. Our motor is bone and cooling systems have stayed all stock, never been opened up, and never given a single hiccup, thanks in no small part to their custom tuning. They've been the folks that kept our dyno numbers solid (430 whp back in 2011) yet keep the tune safe enough to beat on for 3 years and 17,000 miles.

                              Left: Driving to a corner gas station to fill up with 93 octane. Right: loading up to go to the tuner

                              Any time you make a change to your Mustang (with regards to power parts) it could need a new tune. I am not a believer in "mail order tunes", because without driving the car and/or putting it on a dyno and pulling air:fuel numbers and seeing the power curve and listening for knock, it is an impossible task to do this well. I am, however, a strong supporter of working with a local shop and getting proper dyno tunes done on your car, in person, with no e-mailing of files involved. Also, before you buy a stand-alone tuner (we use the SCT) talk to your local tuner shop and buy the tuner from them. You are always better off patronizing your local tuner with parts orders. Sure, you might spend $10 whole dollars more than the cheapest of the cheapest online parts wh0rehouses, but it will pay off in the long run with one-on-one help from YOUR shop that does YOUR tune, right on their own dyno. If you have a 5.0 Mustang in live in North Dallas, trust me, True Street is the place to get your go-fast goodies and engine tuning from. Come to Vorshlag for your suspension parts/work, for sure, but go to True Street for your power parts and tuning.

                              Anyway, Ryan and I stopped by and talked about an upcoming event (see below) then we asked Sean to give us a "safe" tune once again. By safe I mean tune it for 93 octane, fix any air:fuel changes induced with our custom intake tube/MAF, keep the timing curve from being on the ragged edge, and make sure the power curve looks smooth. They are very good at this and won't do "hero tunes" to squeeze out that last tenth of a hp while endangering your motor. We also asked for a few small updates, like going back to the OEM throttle map (removing our "street tire autocross" traction control mapping they made for us).

                              Since we were about to go race at Miller Motorsports Park in SLC, with an elevation of 4000 feet, we asked for a slightly milder spark curve than normal. That coupled with the intense heat that day (100+F in the dyno cell) made for a slightly softer number than before (I'm not sharing until after Nationals, sorry), but the air:fuel numbers were cleaned up and there were no unusual dips in the power or torque curves. We can also pull out a few pounds with this new number (we were at 424 whp and 3770 pounds on DOT tires in TT3). Of course we will stick the car on a dyno at Miller, to make sure everything is copacetic in case we get dyno'd after competition begins (it can happen, as can a scale check). If we need to add or remove ballast based on their dyno numbers, we can before racing starts. We can also tweak the timing, peak RPM and some other factors trackside if we need to adjust for the elevation, available fuel, observed knock, etc. I used to do a little EFI tuning many eons ago, so I understand the basics, and Sean only allowed us access to the most basic of alterations. Again - I'm not looking to add more power, just to be able to keep it safe. We lowered the rev limiter from 7800 to 7200, for sanity's sake (we only had it set that high to avoid 2-3 shifts in autocrosses; power falls off hard above 6500).

                              Test Day at ECR, August 26, 2013

                              Brandon and Ryan from Vorshlag and racing buddy Jason McCall met up with me and Amy at our house Sunday morning for the trek out to Eagles Canyon Raceway, which is located about 70 miles from our shop. This is our home track, and where I've got the most track miles since I did the first NASA event there in 2008. Lately we have been out at ECR at least once a month, sometimes 2 or even 3 times in a 4 week period. Long story short - this is where we could put in the most reliable laps without "driver course learning" coming into play.

                              Vorshlag Photo and Video Gallery for ECR Track Test:

                              Now the 2.5 mile ECR circuit is far from a high speed test track, as most of the corners are fairly tight with long-ish straights in between (125 mph top speeds). It would not normally have been the ideal location for testing the new aero. And honestly, we didn't think we would put in a full day of data logging and aero testing - this was more of a place to take the new set-up and do basic shake down testing, to make sure nothing fell off or burned up. If we noticed any aero imbalance we figured the semi-fast corners in T1/T2, T4, T9, T10 and T11 might show us. It is also much closer to our shop than any other track, and the folks that run it are very cool and accommodating.

                              After we got there we had even more folks join us, including Olof from our shop, a Boss302 owner and fellow track junkie Jerry Cecco, and Dave B - who brought his GTS3 BMW our to test with us. We set-up the sunshade and put out chairs while the fluids were topped off and the car was checked out.

                              continued below
                              Terry Fair -
                              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                              • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                                continued from above

                                Loading and unloading the car from the trailer requires the front splitter to come off, and we've designed the splitter so that it stays attached to the bumper cover and all comes off as a unit. We quickly found that lining the splitter's rear mounting pins up with the mating holes while sitting on the ground is much harder than when on our 4 post lift, even with 3 people shoving it this way and that. After nearly 45 minutes we got the pins lined up and pinned, the front retaining struts bolted on, and the ends of the bumper cover bolted in place. Whew.

                                Above you can see me standing on the "ankle cutter" again - which always freaks people out. Honestly when you're trying to work on the front of the car you kinda have to stand there. It has been tested to 300 pounds now, too. At right Ryan is strapping on a helmet to take a ride in the Mustang for the first time on a road course. He has driven the car countless times on the street, and even ridden in it at an autocross, just hasn't had a chance to grab a ride on track yet. At most track days he's usually too busy working on other customers' cars or taking temps and measuring data on our own.

                                We were testing on the newer set of 18x12 Forgestar F14s ($350/each) at all 4 corners mounted with a used set of 315mm Hoosier R6 tires. These wheels and tires were used at NASA @ Hallett on June 22-23 and all day with 2 drivers at the June 29th Five Star Ford ECR track day. So they had some miles, but more importantly they were the same tires we had run at ECR 6 weeks earlier in nearly the same conditions. Any improvements (or slow downs) could at least be nullified from the tires. In the shake down laps Ryan and I did and the car felt LOOSE, but I wasn't really pushing it hard yet, just running some 2:01 laps, checking the gauges (temps looked great all day), looking for any weird deflections in the hood and listening for the splitter rubbing or scraping.

                                Some external video of when the car was still feeling "a bit loose"

                                Brandon was shooting pics and video and the whole crew was standing at the pit wall, looking for anything weird, or laughing when I was drifting out of T11 (not on purpose). The splitter did touch on some curbing at the side on a few corners, but it showed no damage afterwards. This thing is TOUGH. One bump under braking into T6 was causing the splitter to barely touch on the front edge, but the old 5.5" Leguna Splitter touched in the same braking zone, so no surprise there. Ryan was very happy with how the car felt, especially the brakes ("WOW, this car really stops"). After a few gentle laps Ryan hopped out and we brought the car in for a thorough look at all systems.

                                After that look-see went well, we added some fuel then Olof (above) got in to ride shotgun for the next 2 sessions out. Each run was only 3-5 laps, but we were learning a lot as I pushed the car harder each lap. The car was LOOSE AS HELL, especially in the faster corners. So each time we came in we kept adding more angle of attack (AOA) on the rear wing. For sessions 4 and 5 I went out alone, to push the car at the TT3 race weight we would be running. With the final wing change we managed to get the car a bit more neutral and ran the lap below.

                                That video has some pretty bad driving from me, as usual, and it was still a bit loose. Even with some ridiculously late braking into T1, which turned into a big SLIDE, plus some bobbles in other corners, the car put down a 1:57.6 lap in 95 degree heat on well worn R6s. The best lap I ever have put in at ECR was a 1:56 back in November of last year, when it was 40 degrees cooler and we were on fresh 315 Kumhos, and didn't have these big driving errors. In June the best Amy or I could get out of the car was a 2:00 min lap, wringing it out all day, so we seemingly found 3 seconds on the same set of tires in the same heat. We could have stuck around for more laps and likely chopped off some more time, but it was getting towards 1:30 pm and everyone wanted to go eat and get out of there. Most of us had not taken a day off in weeks and we were all dead tired, too.

                                The car did make some funky noises all day, only under decel or idle, which we attributed to the vacuum pulling the hoses shut on the oil / air separator system. We are replacing these with proper suction-rated lines tomorrow.

                                TT3 Work Continues After Track Test

                                So the car was barely finished enough to take it to the track but we have a lot to wrap up before heading to NASA Nationals. The car is covered in grasshopper guts, half of it is unpainted, and the temporary hood pins we had installed need to be replaced with Aero latches. The flares aren't done, we have a lot of spares to put together, and the general pre-race prep needs to be redone.

                                Left: Actual look at the track test event. Right: Photoshop rendering in red

                                We always see a lot of bug hits on the cars raced in Texas when the grass is high, and this test day was no different. To reduce the impact of bug and rock hits on the radiator (actually the A/C condenser) we've got some Kevlar honeycomb grill protector material coming. This will go on the face of the heat exchanger and stay out of the higher pressure airflow at the grill opening. This stuff us used in circle track to take mud and rock hits and can be cleaned out quickly.

                                Lots of cleaning has to be done before the bumper cover goes to the painter. We have a lot of little paint work to tackle, too - like the raw steel bumper beam, the unpainted splitter needs some semi-flat black, and the grill cover will likely get some black, too.

                                You merely adopted the downforce, I was born in it.

                                Some guys on a fb car page made the Bane connection, above. Strangely that's the 4th Bane reference picture so far (and the funniest). I don't like to name cars, though, and we just call it "the Red Mustang" around here.

                                The flare mock-ups are shown above, with some photoshop work to cover up a few things. The final flares will look pretty similar to this, and they are open on the back for better air evacuation. Hopefully we have time to post up some pictures right before we load up on Monday Sept 2nd, with a painted car, new graphics applied, and at Nationals we will have another set of 18x12" wheels in a different color installed. A sticker set of Hoosier A6s are inbound, other bits and pieces will be here today, and the hood is already bodyworked and primed. I have to stop here and go finish some more flare work tonight.

                                Upcoming Events

                                NASA Nationals< Miller Motorsports Park, Sept 4-8th. Will post up about that probably a few days after we get back. But there are several other events we will be at right after Nats.

                                Five Star Ford track event at ECR, September 7th. - This is an event we would normally be attending in our Mustang, but most of us will be at the NASA Nationals. Matt is taking his BRZ out that day, and if I can find someone to drive it out there, our 2013 GT will be there for showing. These track events are fairly informal but well run, includes instructors for novice drivers, lunch is provided, and they have great SCCA corner workers present. $150 to sign up and you can see more details here.

                                NASA @ TWS, September 20-22nd. We will be competing at this event at Texas World Speedway, the 2nd time this event is run on the NASA schedule this year (different direction). They will have HPDE, Time Trials, Racing, and an Enduro. Here is a link to the event sign-up page.

                                Camaro VS Mustang: The Ultimate Battle - October 5th, Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX. This is a multi-motorsports event being run by True Street Motorsports. This event is billed as a Camaro and Mustang event but is open to all GM and Ford powered vehicles. Events include drag racing and autocrossing; Vorshlag is joining forces with the Texas Region SCCA folks to set-up and run the autocross event. Vorshlag will have cash prizes for the fastest autocross times from both street tire (140+ treadwear) and race tire (DOT R-compounds or slicks) entries. The entry fee is very cheap ($45!) and the sign-up page is here.

                                There are more events, but that's all I am going to put out there right now. Gotta get to work...

                                Terry Fair -
                                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev