Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
August 24, 2009
Robin Burnett, the 2008 American Iron champion, was at Sebring all weekend blowing the cobwebs off his '05 Steeda Q Mustang, even offering rides to those willing to be belted into the passenger seat.

Whether it's drag racing, auto cross, road racing, or drifting, performance driving junkies everywhere will readily admit that there's no such thing as too much track time. Any time we can suit up and strap in is a good a day, be it a few laps to check a suspension setup, or a full day's worth of racing. For first timers to seasoned track rats one of the best deals in track time is the annual Camp Steeda held at famed Sebring International Raceway in the spring each year. Held in conjunction with the SVT Owners Association (SVTOA) and Track Guys On Track Events' Southern Region, the event offers up two days of full course track use with SVTOA instructors in classroom, in-car, and track side instruction. Other event sponsors included Chicane23, and Blevins Enterprises.

This year's event was held the weekend of May 22-24, and included two 12-hour days of track time, evening activities, a banquet, classroom instruction, and more for only $400. With instructors like Jeff Lacina, Dell Hughes, and others, SVTOA ensures everyone gets plenty of track time in their appropriate run group, teaching proper driving line, braking, and more in their own Ford vehicle in a safe and controlled environment.

While the majority of the cars on track are indeed Mustangs--from V-6 rental cars (we won't tell) to full race prepared SCCA and American Iron cars--we did get to see some interesting Fords, including a Ford GT, a few Merkurs, SVT Foci, a SVT Contour, a pair of ex-Panoz Racing School Esperantes, several Factory Five Roadsters (if it wasn't a 60% chance of rain we would have driven our own), and even an Escort ZX2! Of course it's not all Fords, as anyone could really sign up for the track activities and we spied several Z06 Corvettes, a few Porsches, a stray BMW or two, and a Viper, making time on the track fun as the Ford guys did their best to put the other marques in their rear view mirror. While our time at the event was limited, preventing us from getting any seat time, spectators were more than welcome to sign up for rides with any of the drivers as long as they had closed toed shoes, long pants, and a long sleeve shirt on (and of course access to a helmet). So be sure to check into next year's event and go have some fun. We'll see you there. Also don't forget to check out our web site at www.mustangandfords.com for more great coverage from this year's Camp Steeda.

Sebring was the first chance the Steeda folks got to show off their new '10 Mustang development mules purchased just a few weeks prior and we noticed them in the Steeda pit area the second we pulled up. After talking tech for a few minutes and asking all the usual new car questions, Steeda president Dario Orlando tossed us the keys to their Torch Red GT coupe and asked us to put a few miles on it. Since we're not one to turn down seat time in any Mustang we eagerly obliged.

Slipping into the stock cloth buckets we noticed the interior was completely stock (for now) and that's when Dario reminded us that the car was only wearing their suspension goodies in case it saw track use at Camp Steeda, and that the rest of the Q-series upgrades that we're all familiar with (supercharger, exhaust, interior billet, wing, etc.) would come later in time for the car's debut at the 2009 SEMA show this November in Las Vegas.

The Mustang's suspension got almost the full catalog thrown at it with billet aluminum rear lower control arms, front and rear sway bars with billet end links, Steeda Sport Springs, twin-bar strut brace, and Steeda's new Spyder wheel wearing Nitto Invo rubber (P295/35ZR20 out back and P275/35ZR20 on the front). For whoa power the Steeda S197 14-inch brake kit, including two-piece rotor and Steeda logo calipers bolt right on to the '10s spindles for a quick upgrade. Finally, the exterior treatment consists of the Steeda famous Sidewinder rocker graphics, a blacked out hood center, and blacked out trunk face and taillights (so far). We really appreciated the rear body treatment, as it helps an area the Mustang is somewhat controversial in.

Our driving included cement and asphalt surfaces, so we got to feel the Steeda suspension over expansion strips, rough paving, potholes, etc. and while the Steeda suspension is a bit firmer than stock, it is by no means bone jarring and keeps the Mustang sure footed and in the right direction. We can't wait to try the car again with more power under the hood to go with the better handling and braking the Steeda engineers have already put into the car in such short time.