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Josh Baker’s S550 Mustang GT Performance Pack carves a path of its own
Honey Badger Don’t Care
In this day and age, if you’re building a Mustang even just a little bit different than the norm, you’re wrong, and everyone on the Interwebs is going to tell you so. It seems these days we can accept anything, except when someone does something different with their own Mustang. Josh Baker doesn’t care what you think of his Mustang. He didn’t build it to your tastes, he built it to his.
Josh’s 2015 Mustang GT Performance Pack is named the Honey Badger for a couple different reasons. First, it’s Triple yellow. “No one likes yellow,” Josh says. For the second reason, Josh says my goal was to, “Kill Cobras.” In the wild, actual Honey Badgers are fearless, ferocious animals with a love for honey. They kill snakes, even those of the venomous variety, like cobras. When looking for their next meal, they have the guts and gall to chase away lions and tigers from their own kills. Sounds like if you run across one in the wild, you may want to steer clear.
Josh took that same approach to building his GT. He built it to kill Cobras, and make every other car owner second guess a sneak attack. “It’s evolved into going against the grain and proving people wrong without caring about opinions,” Josh says.
The GT was Josh’s first new car purchase, and he even drove all the way to Buffalo, New York from his Rocky Mount, North Carolina home to get it in October of 2014. He immediately delivered it to Corsa Performance Exhausts so they could design a system for 2015-2017 Mustangs. From there, Josh has signed on to be brand ambassadors for several companies like Corsa, Steeda Autosports, Lund Racing, VMP Performance, MGW Shifters, Adam’s Polishes, and Cervini’s. The car wears a complete Cervini’s Stalker kit, which includes a hood, side scoops, and rear wing. That was another trip north to New Jersey so Cervini’s could prototype the parts in time for Josh to show the car at Carlisle Ford Nationals.
Steeda Autosports’ suspension components are also found on the Honey Badger. “The Steeda suspension has really made the car work, whether at the road course or dragstrip,” Josh says. “And the Airlift Performance V2 digital coilover setup has done its job at every event.” And there’s the rub most people have against Josh’s Honey Badger; the car’s airbag suspension. A lot of people think airbag suspensions have no business on Mustangs. Josh would beg to differ. “The car has consistently cut 1.5 60-foot times at full weight with the stock MT82 transmission and low boost,” he adds.
The boost is courtesy of a VMP Performance Stage 3 supercharger kit, paired with a 67mm throttle-body, ID1300 injectors, a Fore Innovations return-style fuel system with an FC3 controller, and a Lund Racing custom tune. The GT’s exhaust is made up of the aforementioned Corsa system with its 3-inch double X-pipe, and axle-back featuring Sport mufflers, and Stainless Works 1 7/8-inch headers. Using E85, this combination was good 777 horsepower and 622 lb-ft of torque at the wheels, and ran a best time of 10.694 at 133.88 mph.
Shifting his way into the 10s has been via the stock MT-82 transmission with a McLeod RXT clutch and lightened steel flywheel, an MGW Race-Spec shifter, and a Driveshaft Shop 4-inch carbon fiber driveshaft. The IRS boasts Driveshaft Shop 1,400-horsepower halfshafts, a Torsen differential, and 3.31 gears. To supplement the Steeda Autosports suspension components and AirLift system, the rear features Viking double-adjustable rear shocks, and Mickey Thompson ET Street rubber.
These days, Josh’s GT is solidly in the mid-10s after running 10.527 at 134.79 mph at ModNationals 2016 at a race weight of 4,320 pounds. At the fall Andrew Bauer Nationals, he fought through a few issues, but then blew third gear, ending his weekend. “I ran 140 mph on every pass, though,” Josh says.
However, he’ll never know what that combination will run because he’s changing up things, adding an Armageddon twin-turbo system with Garrett GTX3576R Gen 2 turbos, along with an AMS2000 boost controller, a GT350 intake, Ben Calimer-built Tremec TR-6060 with a McLeod RXT 1200 clutch and a MGW shifter. The car is at Armageddon East getting the upgrades as we write this.
As you should also know, Josh recently had Fastlane Motorsports swap out the original Performance Pack brakes for Baer Deep Stage Drag Race braking system, which allows him to run 15-inch Weld RTS single beadlock at the track. The car lost 100 pounds with the swapping out of the brakes, as well.
On E85, Josh is hoping to make 900 horsepower at the wheels. “I just want to be able to run consistent 9s, I don’t so much care about how much power it makes,” Josh says. See, Honey Badger don’t care.