Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
S197 Mustang GT Drag Racing Shootout - Three-Valve Throwdown
Seven S197 Stangs take to the track and turn up the wick.
When the then-new S197 Mustang debuted for the '05 model year, the automotive world was in an uproar. With retro-styling that was a throwback to the late '60s and early '70s Mustangs, the new steed was ready to do battle on the streets and strips of America thanks to the 300hp Three-Valve modular powerplant. In the February '06 issue of MM&FF, we threw together a shootout featuring the baddest '05 Stangs. Now that it's 2007, we really can't call it an '05 Mustang shootout anymore, per se.
With three years progressing since our last go-around, we decided to ring up some of the baddest S197 cars in the land for a no-holds-barred speed fest at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. Seven cars showed up and we laid down the ground rules in regards to form and function of both the cars and drivers. Basically, the Mustangs had to maintain most of the factory components, including the Three-Valve engine, two front seats, a finished interior, working accessories, and so on. What we didn't want were gutted race cars. Once we opened the track, the participants proceeded to tear up the Raceway Park quarter-mile. We saw the good, the bad, and the frustrating, but by the end of the day, the scoreboards were scorched with quick elapsed times, some well into the 10-second zone.
'05 Mustang GT
Steven Spaulding, Girard, PA
Mike Bowen handled the driving chores of Steven Spaulding's '05 GT (which participated in our '05 shootout), and ripped off three passes in the 10-second zone to finish the day in the number-one spot. Bowen, who uses Spaulding's car as the testbed for his shop, Powerhouse Automotive, hooked up one of the company's single turbo systems with an air-to-air intercooler to make the grunt needed to win the show. The turbo pushes 17 pounds of boost into the Three-Valve, which is completed with an SCT tune. The word "stock" applies to the car, though. The factory five-speed transmission and clutch back the otherwise-stock 4.6-liter engine, so all of the power comes from the turbo, the tune, and the accompanying suspension changes Powerhouse made to get the muscle to the asphalt.
Bowen opened the day with an aborted 13.93, but then came back and ripped off three 10-second passes in succession, culminating in a 10.29 best. Terminal velocity topped 136 mph on one pass, with a best 60-foot time of 1.56 seconds on another. The Stang isn't all go and no show, however, as the factory black paint is accented with orange pearl, and the interior is show quality. Looking good and going fast was the name of the game for Bowen, Spaulding, and the boys from Powerhouse.
|Weight w/Driver:||3,540 lbs|
|Built/Tuned By:||Powerhouse Automotive|
|Power Adder:||Powerhouse turbocharger kit|
'05 Mustang GT
Peter DEL Pino, Miami, FL
Plainly put, Peter Del Pino gave it his all at the shootout. Knowing he had a bad transmis-sion in his Mustang, he ripped off three lightning-quick passes and recorded top speed of the event. With a best pass being a 10.47 in his opening salvo, Del Pino surely would have given Steven Spaulding's Mustang a run for its money if the tranny was right. Either way, Del Pino made the gutsy call to run the entire event as is, and we couldn't have been happier.
The '05 GT features a stock-displacement Three-Valve beefed up with CP pistons and Manley rods. Del Pino ditched the stock heads for a set of massaged Boss 330s, which came from Al Pappito's shop, Boss 330 Racing, whom also handled the engine build. Increased power comes in the form of a ProCharger F1A centrifugal blower pushing 20 pounds of boost, along with an extra 75 hp added on top thanks to the Zex nitrous system. Like Spaulding's Stang, Del Pino's is show-worthy as well. You can hardly find the rollcage, and if he gets bored in the staging lanes, he can always watch a movie on the in-dash DVD player.
|Owner:||Peter Del Pino|
|Driver:||Peter Del Pino|
|Weight w/Driver:||3,896 lbs|
|Engine:||Stock crank, CP pistons, Manley connecting rods|
|Built/Tuned By:||Al Papitto, Boss 330 Racing/Del Pino Motorsports|
|Power Adder:||ProCharger F1A centrifugal supercharger and 75hp Zex nitrous system|
'05 Mustang GT
Lidio Iacobelli, Mt. Clemens, MI
Lidio Iacobelli normally drives his '05 GT in street trim on Enkei 20-inch rims. What looks like a stock GT with a set of wheels quickly embarrasses anyone who takes this Mustang lightly. Why, you ask? How about Iacobelli having a car that rips off high 10- and low-11-second elapsed times with ease. Pretty wicked, isn't it?
Like Mike Bowen and Sixth-Place finisher Justin Burcham, Iacobelli was also a return visitor to a MM&FF shootout. After swapping out the stock pistons and rods for Diamond slugs and Eagle connecting rods, Iacobelli had the stock heads cleaned up before he bolted on a Vortech V-2 S-Trim blower and a methanol injection kit. Iacobelli tuned the car himself with an SCT tuner, then got behind the wheel and ran a 10.94-second best at a speed of 125 mph. On the outside, his ride is pretty basic with its factory black paint, though he did bolt on a 3dCarbon wing and front clip to enhance the visual appeal.
|Hometown:||Mt. Clemens, MI|
|Weight w/Driver:||3,710 lbs|
|Engine:||Stock block, Diamond pistons, Eagle connecting rods|
|Built/Tuned By:||Lidio Iacobelli, Alternative Automotive|
|Power Adder:||Vortech V-2 S-Trim centrifugal supercharger|
'06 Mustang GT
Chad Miller, Springfield, IL
Chad Miller of FC Customs bought his '06 GT just for our shootout and unfortunately proceeded to frag the transmission for us as well. He sheared an input shaft in the transmission on run number six, but he made sure he dipped into the 10-second zone before that with a 10.99-second effort that netted him Fourth Place overall.
Miller had the lightest car of the seven that showed up, which undoubtedly helped his cause. He topped the stock Three-Valve with a ProCharger F1A blower that registers the boost meter at 18 pounds. Miller fine-tuned the ECM with a DiabloSport tuner and performed some trick suspension upgrades to plant the tires on the starting line. Backing the mod motor on steroids is the stock five-speed transmission. Though the stock clutch was swapped out for a Spec Stage 5, the trans could only take so much before it broke. We applaud the efforts of Miller and the FC Customs crew, though.
|Weight w/Driver:||3,450 lbs|
|Built/Tuned By:||Chad Miller, FC Customs|
|Power Adder:||ProCharger F1A centrifugal supercharger|
'06 Mustang GT
Justin Burcham, Glen Burnie, MD
JPC Racing proprietor Justin Burcham, the overall winner of our '05 shootout (Feb. '05), originally showed up to this edition with two Mustangs-his blown shop car that has torn up the tracks at NMRA events, and Richard Quates' '06 GT. Unfortunately, Burcham kept tossing the supercharger belt in his car, preventing him from making a trek down the quarter-mile and probably lighting up the scoreboards to the tune of a nine-second time.
Nevertheless, he slipped behind the wheel of Quates' Stang and ripped off three quick passes deep in the 11-second zone to go home in Fifth Place. The S197 is bone stock in appearance and in function, save for the ProCharger D1SC huffer stuffing 10 pounds of boosted air into the Three-Valve. Tuned by Kevin MacDonald of DiabloSport, the Pony, backed by the stock five-speed automatic, rode downtrack to three runs separated by 16-hundredths of a second. Helping to use the available power from the supercharged engine was a set of 4.10 gears installed in the 8.8-inch rearend.
|Hometown:||Glen Burnie, MD|
|Weight w/Driver:||3,580 lbs|
|Built/Tuned By:||Justin Burcham, JPC Racing|
|Power Adder:||ProCharger D1SC centrifugal supercharger|
'06 Mustang GT
Charles McCarthy, Huntingtown, MD
While everyone else in the shootout used some sort of forced induction setup, Charles McCarthy went another route with his '06 GT. Using a pair of camshafts from Comp Cams, he ran most of the shootout on motor alone as he was having issues with the Zex nitrous kit that was installed.
After ironing out some of the problems, McCarthy finally did spray the Three-Valve, but only from half-track on. The resulting hit of the sauce hurt the engine on the car's final blast down the strip, on which McCarthy recorded his best short-time of the day, a 1.537. A mid-11-second e.t. out of the only Stang running on muscle is pretty impressive, though. Other than the aftermarket cams, the powerplant in this Pony is stock, and the nitrous system is of the 75hp origin. Tuning help comes from a DiabloSport tuner, and the car was left mostly stock save for the Kirkey seats, which McCarthy said shaved 70 pounds off of the S197's weight. Backing the saucy mod-motor is the stock automatic transmission, though a JPC Racing converter rated at 3,400 rpm helps get the 3,500-pound rocket moving from a standing start.
|Weight w/Driver:||3,500 lbs|
|Built/Tuned By:||Justin Burcham, JPC Racing|
|Power Adder:||Zex 75hp nitrous system|
|Camshafts:||Comp Cams roller|
'05 Mustang GT Convertible
Rick LeBlanc, Dearborn Heights, MI
Rick LeBlanc's day was strenuous right from the start. On the way to Raceway Park from his home base in Michigan, a tie-down broke loose on his '05 GT convertible, complete with Ronaele touches, resulting in the drop-top bouncing around in the trailer. With body damage to a couple of corners on the S197, LeBlanc did the best he could with duct tape.
LeBlanc had the only soft-top car in the shootout, and it made for a nice change of scenery while standing on the starting line. Piloting the car for Livernois Motorsports, LeBlanc showcased for us Livernois' new MagnaCharger supercharger package. Utilizing the only Roots-style blower in the bunch, the kit from Livernois comes with the MP-112 blower injecting air at 8.5 pounds, a water-to-air intercooler, a cast-aluminum intake manifold, extruded aluminum fuel rails, higher-volume injectors, and a tune. Billed to add 120 ponies or more, the kit easily got LeBlanc's ride into the 12-second zone. After aborting the first two passes at half-track, he ripped off a 12.23 best with a car that weighed in at a little over 4,000 pounds with driver. With a little more driving prac-tice, this would have been an 11-second ride.
|Hometown:||Dearborn Heights, MI|
|Weight w/Driver:||4,070 lbs|
|Built/Tuned By:||Livernois Motorsports|
|Power Adder:||Magnacharger MP-112 Roots-style supercharger|