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MRT’s Double-Blown Sport Touring 2017 Ford Mustang Project
Last fall, Scott Hoag and his team at Mustang Racing Technologies (MRT) concocted another project for November’s SEMA show in Vegas, this time based on a Shadow Black 2017 EcoBoost S550. MRT’s SEMA efforts in recent years had been all over the Ford map – from Fusion, to Fiesta ST, to F-150 – so getting back into a Mustang project must have felt like old home week to Hoag, who had spent 17 years on FoMoCo’s payroll and is perhaps best known for spearheading the beloved 2001 Bullitt program.
Scott’s philosophy for the stick-shift ride was fairly simple: Expand on the S550 EcoBoost’s reputation as an agile, well balanced touring machine, taking it a few steps beyond. The result is dubbed the MRT Sport Touring – a name reflective of this show-pony’s all-around upgrades and sharp focus on road tripping rather than drag stripping.
The Sport Touring project showcases MRT’s imagination, products and capabilities while also being a rolling catalog of pony-specific carbon fiber components, inside and out. Let’s start with the exterior, where MRT artfully contrasted the S550’s monochromatic factory blackness with some miles-deep PPG Candy Cherry accents teamed with a full menu of components from Anderson Composites. That clear-coated carbon fiber hardware includes the hood, chin spoiler, grille, ground effects, rear spoiler and taillight panel, all of which blend oh-so-subtly with the ebony surroundings. Yet more black comes in the form of MRT’s own aluminum rear window slats; an old-school touch that translates well to a 21st century Mustang.
There’s nothing old school about the 20-inch hoops from HE, wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1 Sport rubber. Nine-inch front rims carry 255/35 rubber, while the ten-inchers out back are mounted with 285/35s. Only on forged wheels will you find spokes so thin that they absolutely showcase the Baer Eradispeed brake hardware tucked behind, with 6-piston front calipers emblazoned with MRT’s logo. Further inboard, suspension duties fall to a full set of coilovers from BC Racing — perhaps a lesser-known brand, but one that is making a name for itself in road racing and drifting circles.
You can’t spend hours touring the countryside without being comfortable, so one of MRT’s first interior upgrades came from Sparco, with their aptly named Touring buckets, which have structure crafted of, yup, carbon fiber. More carbon fiber can be seen forming the rim of the RAU steering wheel and, speaking of that woven wonder-material, Anderson Composites supplied the rear seat delete kit that MRT custom-fitted with some 10-inch woofers that form part of a 3000-watt Kicker audio system. Powered by a quartet of trunk-mounted amps, four midrange drivers and tweeters help even out the audio frequency range and try to compete with the rumbly emanations from the upgraded EcoBoost mill, which boisterously exhales through MRT’s own EcoBoost-specific stainless exhaust system.
Which finally brings us under that lightweight, vented hood. To assure enough extra grunt to back up its kick-ass visuals, Hoag and crew opted for a second power-adder to turn up the 2.3L wick a bit. And, okay, adding a Vortech V-3 centrifugal to an already turbo’d application is also guaranteed to draw a little crowd attention, sort of the whole purpose behind a show car anyway.
But MRT couldn’t just bolt on another source of boost and expect things not to blow up. Luckily, about the time the Sport Touring project was coming together, the folks at Livernois Motorsports were putting the wraps on a new high-volume fuel pump for four-pot direct-injected EcoBoost applications. Check out our tuning sidebar to see how Livernois’ Dan Millen also applied his tuning touch to give the project a fighting chance at a long and powerful life, touring the Mustang universe.
Fueling and Tuning for Compound Boost
Photos courtesy Livernois Motorsports
The 2.3L EcoBoost has proven to be a robust little piece, but its factory fuel pump is a definite roadblock on the path to more power. Tasked with supplying direct-injection demands at somewhere around 3,000 psi, the OEM pump simply runs out of volume anywhere beyond factory boost levels. Luckily, Livernois Motorsports’ new “Firestorm” EcoBoost replacement pump is said to be capable of double the factory fuel volumes, and came along just in time to support the Sport Touring project’s compound boost.
Even so, given the touring – as opposed to racing – focus of the project, MRT’s plan called for keeping stock EcoBoost engine internals and fuel injectors. This meant keeping boost levels reasonable, and presented a delicate tuning task for Livernois’ Dan Millen, with the goal being great drivability and more area under the power curve, rather than gonzo peak power numbers.
While the resulting 293 wheel horsepower is indicative of having to keep upper-rpm boost levels reined in, the big benefit is seen on the torque curve, which shoots past the 400 lb-ft mark by 2,300 rpm, and peaks at 434 lb-ft just below 3,000 revs. That V8-style grunt down low is just the ticket for effortless touring.
Kinda makes us wonder what this compound boost setup might be really capable of with suitably upsized injectors and fortified reciprocating hardware. Perhaps a story for another day…