Michael Galimi
February 19, 2014
Photos By: Dom Domato

A decade ago if you claimed to have a 7-second, true 10.5-inch-tire-equipped Mustang, you would be in the upper echelon of this community. Just five years ago, if you said you had a 7-second street-worthy Mustang, we wouldn't doubt it. It would be rare, but we would expect the powerplant to be twin-turbocharged and displacing a serious amount of cubic inches in a 351 Windsor platform. Today, a street-driven, 7-second Mustang (or any brand for that matter) is definitely more common and almost expected in any serious project that involves a pair of turbos or big ole' honkin' centrifugal supercharger hanging off the crank.

But what if we were to tell you there is a street car lurking out there that knocks down 28.5 mpg, purrs like a stocker, tips the scales at 3,400 pounds, and features a displacement of just 5.0L—all while gulping boost, not from twin turbochargers, but rather a single 76mm unit? Don't believe us? Then you need to check out Justin Burcham of JPC Racing, who has several 7-second time slips to prove it with a 7.87 at 174 mph being the quickest.

Brute power from big cubic inches and monster power adders has quietly moved aside as technology reigns supreme and Burcham's 2011 Mustang GT is living proof. The Coyote 5.0 is an amazing powerplant and Burcham has spent the last three years poking, prodding, and down right molesting it.

The end result is a street car that runs in the coveted 7s—a feat that only a few others have accomplished. To date, the only other two Coyote 5.0-powered cars are twin-turbocharged, while Burcham relies on a single Precision 76mm turbo. Normally, a barrier-breaking build is shrouded in mystery, but Burcham invited MM&FF down for an exclusive look at his combo.

One of the high-horsepower difficulties in the Coyote marketplace has been with the engine block. The barrier-breaking engine relies on a special Ford Racing Sportsman block, as Burcham was selected by the factory hot rod shop to test its limits. Stock blocks hold up decently in the 800-to-900hp range, but above that, things get dicey. One problem is the cylinder sleeves breaking under duress. The Sportsman block addresses the cylinder sleeve issue, but since there are only a handful of engine blocks in existence, JPC and RGR have developed billet inserts to support the bores and prevent them from breaking in extreme conditions.

The crankshaft is stock, which carries a 3.650-inch stroke and is internally balanced from the factory. "We learned that the stock cranks aren't any stronger, or weaker, than what we've seen with other stock steel cranks," said Burcham. The stock crank swings a set of stock-length Oliver billet steel rods. At the topside of the connecting rods sit eight custom CP pistons designed to provide 11:1 static compression ratio. "These engines love higher compression," as he put it.

The rest of the bottom-end consists of billet oil pump gears, because we have seen the stock cast ones fail too many times. Moroso was tapped for an oil pan and oil pump in order to keep the engine well lubricated. As for the factory oil squirters, Burcham said, "We've built engines with and without the oil squirters. We started eliminating them in the serious engines recently because of clearance issues. RGR used to modify the squirters to clear some aftermarket rods, but now we just eliminate 'em. At some point the cylinders do end up with too much oil and the rings have to work hard to scrape it off."

Moving topside, Burcham went with Stage III porting from RGR, which is a CNC port job with a hand-finish. The 16 intake valves are 1.500 inches, while the exhaust side breathes easier as each valve is 1.262 inches. All 32 are stainless steel.

"In my opinion, the cylinder heads are why the Coyote makes such great power. The heads are really efficient. There is no magic with the parts in the short-block, its the heads that are the difference," he claimed.

The foundation for 7-second power is a Ford Racing Sportsman 5.0 engine block. There are only a few of these made, and final word on production is unknown at this point.

It's hard to believe but the camshafts are actually Boss 302 sticks. "The custom cams are expensive and I didn't think they were necessary—we were making plenty of power with these cams," Burcham notes. "I also didn't want to add more stress to the valvetrain with a more aggressive camshaft. We've seen radical cam setups float the valves and we swapped back to the Boss cams—the valve float went away, and those test cars made great power."

The driveability of the mild OEM camshafts isn't a bad thing either, and Burcham attributes the cams as a major reason his car knocked down great miles per gallon when he ran a Tremec six-speed behind the turbo engine. The Boss cams feature a little more lift and duration when compared to a standard 5.0L TiVCT motor.

The rest of the puzzle includes a JPC Racing turbo kit with the optional 4-inch downpipe, larger cold side-pipes, and a JPC air-to-water intercooler. The turbo itself is a Precision 7685 CEA (Competition Engineered Aerodynamics), otherwise known as a 76mm turbo and it uses a T-4 style exhaust flange.

Burcham says the engine sees 21 psi of manifold pressure (factory intake manifold) and the exhaust side datalog graph shows a 1.2:1 backpressure-to-boost ratio. He says the exhaust backpressure ratio is probably a more important reading than the intake manifold pressure. Too much backpressure will reduce output, regardless of how much boost you're making.

The final pieces to the puzzle include the fuel system, which delivers an interesting blend of fuel dubbed FTW (officially, Fueling The World). Burcham gives major props to FTW for the big power and 7-second performances. The actual blend is not known, but Burcham claims it makes big power over any other racing fuel he has tested. The catch is the stuff is pricey, but when gunning for the top, you can't back down.

A JPC Racing 465-lph, triple, drop-in fuel hat and Weldon fuel-pressure regulator combine with JPC Racing fuel rails and Injector Dynamics ID2000 fuel injectors to deliver the special blend. The stock lines are discarded in favor of AN10 feed and AN8 return.

Naturally, the JPC team relies on DiabloSport tuning to take control of the factory ECU. Burcham had a brief stint with a Tremec Magnum six-speed transmission behind the turbo engine, but he cites problems getting the front-half performance numbers with the manual transmission. A Powerglide with a PTC torque converter now backs the potent Coyote.

Burcham shared some final thoughts: "We're trying to beat up the engine to find the limits of the chains and tensioners and valvetrain stuff. That is what's so different about the Coyote than other mod motors. The short-blocks aren't magic—it's the cylinder heads for power and the valvetrain stuff for durability."

And the rewards for that R&D is producing the first 7-second, Coyote 5.0L-powered street car.

1 Here is a closer look at the modified water jacket; the OEM blocks have a larger opening on the thrust side while the FRPP Sportsman block features a strut to help support the bore.
2 The Sportsman and OEM blocks feature four-bolt mains with a bolt on each side, for a total of six bolts per main.
3 A stock unmodified crankshaft sits in the block and it features a 3.650-inch stroke. There is nothing trick or exotic in the crank department as aftermarket options are extremely limited.
4 The rods are sourced from Oliver and are stock length, while the pistons are custom slugs from CP. Compression is set at 11:1. to help build cylinder pressure. As Burcham puts it, these engines love big compression.
5 There are four valve reliefs in the CP pistons thanks to the two intake and two exhaust valves.
6 RGR builds the short-blocks in his shop in Illinois while JPC Racing handles the top-end and front dressing at its Maryland-based facility. Here the RGR Stage III heads are bolted on using an OEM multilayer gasket. JPC disassembles the gaskets and sprays each layer with a copper spray. The heads are bolted down with ARP bolts using 100 ft-lb of torque.
7 Custom RGR valvesprings are used to control the valvetrain under the duress of boost and rpm. The JPC turbo engine gets shifted at 8,500 rpm, while boost peaks at 21 psi.
8 The chain drive system is a little more complicated than previous Mustang engines due to the variable camshaft timing. Here are the parts laid out on the table ready for install.
9 Comp Cams adjustable phaser lockouts are used, and JPC only relies on the diamond bolts for these types of applications.
10a An MMR tappet tool is used to help degree the camshafts.
10b A dial indicator is also required for this task.
11 JPC relies solely on the Boss 302 camshafts for the best in street manners and performance. The intake cams feature three dots on the side of a lobe while the exhaust has two marks. The Boss exhaust cams feature 13mm of lift with 290 degrees of duration. The intake cams are 13mm lift as well, but with 263 degrees of duration.
12 To degree the cams in a Coyote 5.0 motor is a involved process and something we would rather leave for a dedicated story to explain each step of the way.
12b
13 The Coyote 5.0 features a front cover like the other modular engines. JPC had the front cover powder coated for a unique look.
14 Burcham chose to employ the factory intake manifold for maximum torque through the mid-range, due to the car’s heavy race weight. It also makes the engine very responsive at part-throttle during street driving. DiabloSport tuning software is used to control the beast.
15 A JPC Racing single-turbo kit is the motivation for the excessive power. It features several upgrade options including an air-to-water intercooler mounted in the bumper, larger cold-side pipes, massive four-inch down pipe, and a Precision 7685 turbocharger.
The shop car made 1,267 rwhp through a Tremec Magnum six-speed transmission. The output is probably a tad lower now thanks to the addition of a Powerglide transmission. But the proof is the elapsed times, which was a best of 7.87 at 174 mph at press time.