Rod Short
July 1, 2009
Attending events with both an all-out race car and a street machine allows Team Garrett to better showcase its products.

With a pair of national championships, a list of event wins, and a fistful of national records, some people would have been content to call it a career when Sport Compact racing folded. Not so for Gil and Steve Bothwell, however, as this pair of gearheads joined with their sponsor to go looking for a new world to conquer. Still basking in the glow of their breakthrough win at the NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl at Joliet, you might say that these guys have found that the water's just fine in the Mustang world.

Gil and Steve have had their hands in many different forms of motorsports in the past--ranging from stock cars, midgets, off-road, and even boats. With their corporate connections at GM Racing, the team debuted a front-wheel-drive Pontiac Sunfire in NHRA Sport Compact's popular Hot Rod division, which was an early mainstay for the Honda crowd. Garrett hooked up with Bothwell Motorsports during the '04 NHRA Sport Compact season with driver Ron Lummus, who formerly ran an 8-second Volkswagen. Back-to-back championships in 2005-2006 established this team as the dominant racers of that era--and helped Garrett move a lot of product during that time.

"It's been a natural evolution with the development of our turbochargers," says Garrett, through Honeywell Marketing Manager Tracie Parker, when asked about the team's new venue. "First, we focused on the smaller-frame turbos, which naturally fit within the Sport Compact community. Then we went to the larger products with other racing series to grow the business."

Rather than race one series, Bothwell Motorsports and Team Garrett opted to race in a number of different sanctioning bodies with no intention of running for a championship. Not only did this provide the best possible exposure to as many different racers and fans as possible, but it also ensured they wouldn't be competing against customers in a heated points battle.

Compared to some of the other low-slung racers in Outlaw 10.5, the car driven by former NHRA Sport Compact champ Ron Lummus looks amazingly stock with its flat hood and relatively high ride height.

When the team's new Mustang debuted at the end of 2007 at the FFW Fontana, California, event, the team was already well into the steep learning curve that lay ahead of it. At the second PSCA event of 2008 in Las Vegas, they collected their first-ever win with the car with a 7.192 at 201.31 over Rich Zehring. The World Street Challenge in St. Louis provided additional experience and exposure for the team. At FFW Atlanta, the team made it to the semifinals with a 4.521 best while racing in an eighth-mile format.

Yet, it was the NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl that provided the highlight of the year. There, the team qualified number one with a 6.861 at 208.17 and went on to win the event over NMRA/FFW points leader Conrad Scarry. The fact that this was in a class sponsored by another turbocharger company made the victory that much sweeter.

"The guys I'm racing against here are older, they've been doing it for a while, and they're really serious about what they do," says driver Ron Lummus, when asked about the difference in the level of competition between the Sport Compact and Mustang crowds. "Sport Compact was more grassroots with up and coming younger guys. I could really get away with a lot of stuff and be in control of the race just because I'd been racing so much longer. Now these guys cut good lights, they know how to read a track, and they know which lane to choose."

Whenever corporate marketing takes to the track with success, there are usually a lot of smiles as seen (left to right) with driver Rick Townsend, co-team owner Gil Bothwell, Garrett Marketing Manager Tracie Parker, and driver Ron Lummus.

While making big power with turbos isn't front-page news anymore, the fact that these guys ran as well as they did in this particular car has been something of a revelation. When compared side-by-side with other class competitors sitting in the staging lanes, Team Bothwell's '07 Mustang sits higher than its competitors, runs with a flat hood, and looks amazingly stock. The car was originally intended for a lower, true 10.5 ladder-bar class, but certain design considerations were built into it so that the car could be adapted to fit the various rules with different sanctioning bodies. Smith Racecraft of Dallas, Texas, built the chassis with single-framerail construction to allow a certain amount of flex and a long four-link. With the right shock and wheelie-bar combination, the team has found that the car responds well.

The other mild surprise is that unlike the 600-plus-cubic-inch, twin-turbo engines on alcohol in some other Outlaw 10.5 racers, this car runs with a relatively small 388-400ci small-block combination on gasoline. Ed Hansen Racing Engines assembled the mill with an iron block, featuring a 9.7:1 compression ratio and a set of aluminum Brodix/Neal BF201 heads. An ACCEL/DFI Gen 7 box manages the fuel distribution through RC Engineering 160-lb/hr injectors, which are fed through a -6 AN billet fuel rail. A Wilson 105mm throttle body and matching elbow direct the airflow into the engine through a cast intake manifold. Backing that up is a Keith Neal transmission with a Marty Chance converter that spins a set of 3.90:1 rear gears with 15-inch-diameter 33x10.5W Mickey Thompson rear tires.

With just 389 low-compression cubic inches under the hood, Team Garrett's mill might seem to be overmatched against the 700-plus-cubic-inch nitrous mountain motors it sometimes faces. However, twin Garrett GT47 turbos provide 3,000 hp to swing the balance of power to the other side.

On the turbo side of things, the team uses a pair of out-of-the-box 769112-7 Garrett GT4718 turbochargers with 60mm wastegates, which together develop anywhere from 2,800 to 3,000 hp. A Garrett liquid-to-air intercooler chills the inlet temps to lessen the possibility of detonation. Both turbos use a 56 trim compressor wheel with an 88mm inducer and a 117.6mm exducer with a 1.08 A/R exhaust housing. The ball-bearing center section provides a significant reduction in lag time, while eliminating the thrust bearing--the weak link in many journal bearing designs--altogether. With greatly improved rotordynamics and less susceptibility to oil starvation and contamination, these units offer the best of all worlds with quick spooling, large amounts of thermodynamically efficient airflow, and the best possible reliability. In fact, one of Garrett's primary goals with this car is to make it through the entire season with the same set of turbos.

"We're trying to show that these Garrett turbos can produce the power needed to run with anyone, regardless of engine size," Gil Bothwell says of the marketing message the race team brings. "We also want to demonstrate their unbelievable reliability by keeping the same turbos in the car all year long. It's a tremendous product that's basically maintenance free--and we've seen no failures."

"These things are only as complex as you want to make them," Steve Bothwell adds when asked what it takes to run a turbo car. "Is it harder than running a nitrous car? Initially, yes, but there's a million different ways to run a turbo car. Once you get the tune figured out, I think it becomes easier. There's a lot less parts carnage, and they're infinitely more tunable in a linear way."

A single RacePak UltraDash monitor greatly simplifies the uncluttered dash, while a massive Garrett liquid-to-air intercooler dominates the passenger side of the driver's compartment.

With just a handful of appearances scheduled for the remainder of the season, Bothwell Motorsports and Team Garrett appear to have gotten the most out of their marketing budget. Talk of making a championship run somewhere in 2009 has everyone looking toward this season. "Garrett is an unbelievably great sponsor, and our team is made up of a bunch of great guys--all of whom are volunteers," Ron says about the year they've had. "Some people have looked at us and asked where we came from. All I can say is that we had great success in Sport Compact. We all have a passion for making cars go fast and it shows. It's been a great journey."

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

  • Block Ford Racing iron-block
  • Displacement 389 ci
  • Crankshaft Sonny Bryant
  • Rods Dyer
  • Pistons CP
  • Compression Ratio 9.7:1
  • Camshaft Crane
  • Heads Ford Racing, porting by Chapman Racing Heads
  • Intake Edelbrock
  • Power Adder Garrett turbos
  • Throttle Body Wilson Manifolds
  • Injectors RC Engineering
  • Fuel Pump DSR
  • Headers Smith Racecraft
  • Exhaust Smith Racecraft
  • Transmission Keith Neal Racing
  • Converter Marty Chance
  • Rearend Mark Williams

Electronics

  • Engine Management Accel DFI
  • Ignition MSD
  • Gauges RacePak with data acquisition

Chassis and Suspension
Front Suspension

  • K-Member Smith Racecraft
  • Control Arms Smith Racecraft
  • Struts Strange
  • Springs Eibach
  • Brakes Mark Williams
  • Wheels Weld
  • Tires Mickey Thompson

Rear Suspension

  • Springs Eibach
  • Shocks Afco
  • Control Arms Smith Racecraft four-link
  • Brakes Mark Williams
  • Wheels Weld
  • Tires Mickey Thompson

Rick Townsend drives the street car for Team Garrett, which looks nearly identical to the other 6-second machine driven by Ron Lummus. He made it to the bracket semifinals in a class with nearly 60 entries at FFW Atlanta.

Takin' It To The Streets
While Bothwell Motorsports and Team Garrett have had great success with their Outlaw 10.5 program, they've also put time and effort into developing a turbo package for street-Mustang enthusiasts that's now available through select distributors. With Ron Townsend behind the wheel, a near identical street clone debuted at FFW Atlanta in Street Ford and made it all the way to the semifinals for a rather impressive debut.

With twin GT2860 ball-bearing turbos, Team Garrett's street machine develops 430-plus horsepower with just 9 pounds of boost, which is enough to propel the car deep into the 11s - 10s are within the realm of possibility.

"This Mustang uses a special prototype twin-turbo kit that Garrett put together," Ron says about the car. "It uses twin GT28R water-cooled, ball-bearing turbochargers with internal wastegates that can produce over 500 hp. The car uses stock engine internals with an air-to-air, front-mount intercooler and a specially calibrated chip. The result is an essentially stock car that's streetable, yet still capable of running 11.50s at almost 120 mph on pump gas. It's a real blast - I'm looking forward to getting one for myself!"