Pete Epple Technical Editor
July 19, 2010

Once the front brakes were complete, Bugg moved to the back of our '07 GT. The rear suspension went together just as easily as the front. The new shocks are designed to match the struts, and the rear springs are also progressive-rate coils. The stock 20mm rear antiroll bar is replaced with a 22mm bar to stiffen the rear, and it attaches with billet endlinks. After buttoning up the rear suspension, Bugg removed the rear calipers and installed the more aggressive brake pads. The stock rubber brake lines were also ditched for the stainless lines in the kit.

Since our lowered suspension gave us a more aggressive stance, we needed the perfect wheel and tire to tie everything together. After searching high and low, we finally found a winner. Saleen's Heritage Edition 19-inch five-spoke wheels give us plenty of room for our new binders and allow us to run a tire with a suitable sidewall for a comfortable ride-not to mention the charcoal-colored wheel looks awesome on our Redfire GT.

Since it rains on a near daily basis in the summer in Florida, we need a tire that performs well in wet and dry conditions. Being that we've had great results on other projects when using them, we opted for Nitto's NT05. We wrapped our new Saleen wheels with 245/40ZR19s up front and 275/35ZR19s in the rear. The combination of the lowered suspension and a slick wheel/tire combo gives this '07 GT the aggressive looks it was missing.

We know our readers crave more than just looks-you want to know how much performance can be gained, so before installing FRPP's Handling Pack, we headed to Gainesville Raceway for some baseline testing. We took the stock-suspension GT around the 300-foot skidpad and through our 420-foot slalom course. The stock suspension and tires limited us, and it showed in the feel and the numbers. On the skidpad, the stock-suspension Pony pulled an average 0.89 lateral g's. On the 420-foot slalom, the car averaged 40.36 mph through the cones. Its tendency on both tracks was to roll a bit and then push. For a stock vehicle, it transitioned well, and with the big power on tap, we could force the rear around but the car wasn't balanced. It was controllable, but there was room for improvement.

After installing the new parts, we returned to Gainesville. In the same tests, the GT pulled 0.95 (average) lateral g's for a difference of 0.06 g's! We then headed to the slalom. After multiple passes through cones, we ended with a new average of 45.67 mph for another huge gain of 5.31 mph. Now the GT was flat and neutrally balanced, turning in quicker and with more accuracy. No longer did the front want to wash out with a push. Carrying over 5 mph, while remaining stable through such sudden changes in direction is truly a testament to how FRPP's Handling Pack improves the balance and compliance of the S197 Mustangs. It's an incredible improvement for a kit that costs around $1,300.

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