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2011 Ford Mustang GT - Blue-Blood Brawler
Shaun Day works for SVT by day, but on the weekends he pours the coals to his track-tested GT
Action photography by Matt Trombley and Tom Hitzeman
Model: Lindsey Kenaan
Shaun Day is one of the lucky few. Combing his passion with his career, which is fast cars and working for Ford Motor Company, his days are spent in the coveted halls of Ford's SVT division, where the team creates those desirable Shelbys, Raptors, and other iconic high-performance machines.
"I have only ever wanted to work for Ford Motor Company," stated the second-generation Ford employee. "I never wanted to be a fireman or astronaut, or even president. I only ever wanted to work at Ford," Day exclaimed. And after purchasing his '11 GT and meeting some of Ford's brass, he got his chance.
"From age 16, I worked in the dealerships to understand that side of the business, I went to school at a university that specialized in automotive, and virtually every waking hour is dedicated to something car related. All my hobbies are primarily car centric. But the path to Ford started when I was working for Rehagen Racing," he added.
Both Shaun and his mom, Geri, ordered '11 Mustangs—his a GT, hers a V-6. Through a weird turn of events, Geri's ended up being the first publically delivered Mustang. "I got pictures of her car and posted a story online about my mom's '11 V-6 Mustang," Shaun says.
"Allison Revier (Ford's Mustang marketing manager at the time) saw the post, which was gaining popularity. She contacted my mom. Mom told Allison I also had a Mustang on order and that I planned to race the car immediately in NASA Time Trial competition. "She [Allison] saw how enthusiastic we were about our new Mustangs and invited us to Flat Rock [the Auto Alliance Mustang assembly plant] for a tour," Shaun says.
"Ralph Arning (engineer at AAI) gave us a tour and introduced us to Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak. He asked me to step through this door and sitting there was my car! It wasn't supposed to be built for weeks, so I was amazed to see it—I was at a loss for words. Pericak said, ‘You want to go for a ride?' Of course I did, so he took me on a spirited jaunt around the facility."
Days later, with the paperwork complete, Shaun was the proud owner of this Grabber Blue GT. But that's just the beginning.
"I drove straight from the dealer to Rehagen Racing and did a top-to-bottom build to get the car track-ready. I wanted it to be fast right off the trailer. I didn't have time to figure out setups from scratch or buy parts twice," he added. His plan was to compete in NASA Time Trial ranks in the TTA class, but that class was disbanded and replaced with TT3.
"Working for dealers and race teams was a great experience and I enjoyed my time there, but to finally be able to work directly at Ford was beyond a dream come true. When I found out I was coming straight to SVT, it was surreal. After I hung up the phone, I didn't move or talk for a good 2-3 minutes even though other people were in the room."
As you can see, Shaun's Mustang fun doesn't end on Friday afternoon. When he breaks free from the grind, he turns to the highly modded GT that's built for aggressive on-track assaults. He'd done some open-tracking in his '08 GT/CS, but the '11 was in real competition.
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In his rookie season (2012), Shaun captured two wins (Grattan Raceway and Mid-Ohio) and finished third regionally and fourth nationally in NASA TT racing.
"The rule book for NASA (at the time we built the car) assigned a points value to performance modifications, and you are only allowed so many points, so Dean Martin at Rehagen Racing picked the best compromise of parts that gave me the best bang for the buck. Honestly, the car is a rocket.
"It's amazing how capable the S197 Mustang is when you consider that a bolt-on car is beating Porsches, Lotus', BMWs, and Corvettes, all in my class. The car is super balanced and very forgiving. My favorite part is the look on people's faces when I catch all the exotic stuff in the corner," he adds with a chuckle.
Shaun didn't race much in 2013, but he captured one win at Mid-Ohio and that has kept him up there in the points chase. The highlight of the season, however, was off the track when he married the woman of his dreams, Lia. With a new tow rig and trailer, he plans to hit the trail hard in 2014.
"I idolized SVT growing up. That team, and my father, Les, were my automotive heros. I feel SVT brought Ford performance back to the front lines and took it to the next level. To be a part of that team and entrusted with the future of Ford performance is the greatest honor my inner car guy could ever know.
"I am also very proud to be carrying on a family tradition of Ford high performance, as when I was a young, my father was leading Ford Motorsport. He retired nearly 14 years before I started here at Ford, so I am happy to have a Day back in the building!"
Like many who've come before him, Shaun Day is a true enthusiast working hard to ensure Ford fans get the best possible products. And in a few months, the world will see what those guys at SVT are up to.
Shaun Day's 2011 Mustang GT 5.0
Premium Grabber Blue, six-speed manual
|Brembo brake package|
|3.73 L/S axle|
|Security Package (interior motion sensors, tow-away sensor, hood-opening sensor)|
|Electronics Package (navigation, in-dash DVD, 10GB media harddrive)|
|Comfort Package (heated six-way power seats, auto-tinting rearview mirror)|
|Upgraded interior (unique leather seating surfaces, upgraded door-panel inserts, unique dash finish)|
|Ford Racing 1.5-inch lowering springs|
|Ford Racing adjustable dampers|
|Steeda adjustable front sway bar|
|Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plate|
|Steeda bumpsteer kit|
|Steeda adjustable Panhard bar|
|Rehagen Racing chrome-moly rear lower control arms|
|FRPP rear lower control arm relocation brackets|
|FRPP long wheel studs front and rear|
|Brembo Racing Grand-Am GS/World Challenge GTS two-piece, billet, hard-anodized, four-piston calipers (front)|
|Brembo Racing 14-inch, Type-III 72-vane, two-piece rotor|
|Brembo HTC64T racing brake fluid|
|Performance Friction PFC-03 brake pads-front, Track|
|Performance Friction PFC-97 brake pads-rear, Track|
|Rehagen Racing/CMP Fabrication brake ducts|
|Ford Racing BBS Boss R 18x10 forged wheels, Track|
|Hoosier R80 non-DOT slicks, 285/645-18, Track (primary)|
|Pirelli World Challenge non-DOT slick, 305/645-18, Track (option)|
|Mustang RTR 19x9.5 wheels, Street|
|Michelin Pilot Super Sport 275/40-19, Street|
|2013 Shelby GT500 rear axle with Torsen differential|
|Ford Racing 3.73 ring and pinion; cryogenically hardened, shotpeened, and high-polished by Liberty Gears|
|Boss oil cooler and pan|
|Removed catalytic convertersOEM 2013 GT500 mufflers|
|Custom engine calibration|
|Steeda Tri-Ax short-throw shifter|
|Roush 427R bumper, custom-painted|
|Mustang GT/CS rear spoiler|
|2013 GT500 rear fascia with RTR license plate surround|
|2013 Mustang taillights|
|Sparco Circuit II full-containment race seat (driver)|
|Ford Racing Recaro seat (passenger)|
|TeamTech Motorsports six-point HANS harnesses|
|Boss 302 Laguna Seca rear-seat delete|