Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsFeatured Vehicles
This 2011 S197 Ford Mustang Ran 212.9 mph at the Texas Mile
How does a Mustang enthusiast set a land-speed record? It’s not as if you can buy a 200-plus-mph car right off a showroom floor—unless it’s a Bugatti Veyron, but that’s another story, one that involves a really big bag of money.
No, breaking bad in a Mustang requires a deep penchant for performance, plus a lot of hands-on experience and breathing heavily on the engine with an insane amount of boost. Just ask Greg Turner, who set a 5.0L Mustang record at the Texas Mile in March 2015. He says, “My motivation for standing mile racing came from nothing more than my lust for speed.”
Turner admits that his passion initially found an outlet on some backroads, running triple digits on a motorcycle. Later on he had a 1995 Cobra with 347ci stroker, pumped up with a Vortech T-trim centrifugal blower to deliver 575 rwhp. He owned that Mustang from 2004 to 2007, but with the new 5.0L Coyote Mustang coming out in 2011, he says, “I knew I wanted it, so I bought one.”
Within the first few weeks of ownership, Turner bolted on a 2.8L Kenne Bell twin-screw supercharger. Pushing 18 psi, the blower raised the power on the stock engine to 750 rwhp. With this output, he nailed a 9.02 e.t. at 154 mph in the quarter-mile.
While most enthusiasts might be content with this level of performance, Turner’s thirst for speed was still not quenched. He sent his mill to L&M engines in 2013 for upgrading it with a 4.2L Kenne Bell supercharger. This unit not only raised the volume of force-fed air but also produced a prodigious 25 pounds of boost.
Such a stratospheric level is not all that unusual among other Texas Milers, such as heavy-hitter Shelby GT500s with 3.6 and 4.2 Kenne Bell blowers. Raising the psi is a relatively simple matter of increasing supercharger speed by changing out the pulley, but the devil’s in the details. For instance, Turner also runs a 20 percent overdrive ATI balancer and a 4-inch upper pulley (the largest size available) on the Kenne Bell blower case, using an eight-rib drive system.
“The overdrive crank pulley is really there to help with belt slip,” Turner points out. “The bigger crank pulley gives us more surface area to maintain traction for the belt. In turn, we have to run a larger supercharger pulley to maintain the same overdrive ratio.”
As for the innards of the block, Michael and Denise Rauscher of L&M Engines kept the displacement at 300 ci but installed Manley rods and 10:1-compression-ratio Diamond pistons, which is down slightly from the stock 11:1 ratio to handle the forced induction. For sufficient fuel flow that keeps up with the torrent of air, the injectors are 2,000cc units from Injector Dynamics that are fed by a trio of Walbro 465 pumps.
Jon Lund Sr. of L&M Engines remotely calibrates the engine computer with new fuel maps by using a proprietary device called a Lund Racing nGauge. “This device allows Jon to email me the tune,” he explains. “I load it into the device and we communicate via the web during this process.”
L&M slipped in custom camshafts with a street/strip profile (245/250 at 0.050 inch) that actuates Ferrea valves. The builder also added some additional support for the water jacket, to make sure the whole enchilada wouldn’t tear itself apart. Also, to prevent cylinder detonation, Turner runs only premium-grade, 117-octane C16 race fuel. Venting the burnt mixture is a set of American Racing stainless 2-inch headers that flow through GT500 mufflers. All told, the engine pumps out 1,252 furious horses, verified on dyno pulls by Kenne Bell.
As for the Ford 6R80 automatic transmission, Circle D installed Exedy Stage 2 clutches, plus a 300M Billet intermediate shaft to prevent shearing under heavy power loads, along with making valve body modifications. The trans also has an aluminum deep sump pan from Performance Automatic.
The Circle D torque converter is designated as a 1C, which is actually a very mild unit. “There’s no need for a high stall-speed converter because the car makes so much torque throughout the entire powerband,” Turner explains. “It drives much nicer with a tight converter than a loose one.”
Truth be told, there is way more to setting a record for top speed than installing hardcore hardware and software—and that wasn’t even Turner’s initial plan. “The car was never built with the intention of running it in half-mile and 1-mile events,” he admits. “It was originally intended to be a quick quarter-mile drag car/street car.”
As Turner’s speeds and expertise increased, however, his performance goals began to change too, requiring some modifications to the exterior. In addition to a Cervini’s Cobra R hood for extra clearance, he had front aluminum work done on the nose to improve the aerodynamics. The aluminum was fabbed by his good friend Brett at Nimmo Machine in Costa Mesa, California. After seeing the masked front end, Jim Bell of Kenne Bell dubbed the car “Hannibal” after the cannibalistic fictional doctor. Fittingly, it turned out to be a man-eater as well.
“I ran the car at a local half-mile event in 2014 and went 184 mph,” Turner recalls.
Feeling emboldened, he decided to pursue his passion even further. “Naturally, I figured it would have to run 210-plus mph with an extra half-mile, so I made the haul to Texas for the mile.”
But he had a personal motivation as well, since both his tuner, Jon Lund Sr., and engine builders, Michael and Denise Rauscher of L&M Engines, would be there in March 2015 and he would be able to spend some time in person with them while qualifying the car. “The first thing required is that you get licensed,” says Turner. “I had to make a pass between 160 and 180 mph.”
He says, “Next I needed a 180 to 200 pass. I ended up running 206 mph and getting hosed by the race director for ‘breaking out’ [of the bracket].” So he made a third run around 190 mph to satisfy the director. After finally being allowed to run all-out, the car went 212.6 mph. Shortly after, he backed up that run with 212.9 mph. Mission accomplished!
Surprisingly, Turner says, “During the weekend, I never did anything more than dump fuel in the car.” Well, he added some ice too, into a custom 14-gallon cell in the trunk with a Meziere 55-gph external water pump and AN-16 line up and back. (The nitrous bottle next to the tank is not hooked up and really not needed given the engine output.)
The parachute on the rear bumper was put on to make it legal as far as NHRA is concerned. Anything over 150 mph requires a chute. But it didn’t prove necessary.
“I stopped the car on the bone-stock brakes at Texas, and never used the chute,” Turner says. “I only pull the chute with the skinnies (17x4.5 Race Star wheels) on the front at the dragstrip, as they don't provide enough traction to haul it down.”
While he didn’t run into any mechanical issues at the Texas Mile, last August the ring gear blew apart, destroying the differential and twisting the axles. “That is why I upgraded to the 35-spline axles and spool setup from the 31-spline and Detroit Truetrac,” he points out.
Enough about all the hard parts. What’s it like to man the wheel at speed? Basically it handles like stock. Turner puts it succinctly: “Point and shoot. Goes straight. No bad habits.”
He adds, “This particular car is surprisingly easy to drive. It did wander quite a bit on the big end, but this is mainly due to the surface conditions at the Texas mile. I made a damper adjustment to settle the car down over the bumps and ruts after the 212.6-mph run. Keep in mind the car has no front sway bar, and is fitted with BMR drag race suspension. It’s not ideal, but it works.”
You can’t argue with success, or breaking bad on the Texas Mile either.