Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
November 24, 2017

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the 2018 Mustang GT, and deservedly so. We always look forward to the next Mustang iteration, so we’re reading everything we can get our hands on when it comes to 2018 Mustangs. This author has yet to get his paws on a 2018, but our buddy Dan Brooks recently had the opportunity to wring one out at Virginia International Raceway during the most recent Full Throttle Fall Fest. Dan gave us a full rundown on his thoughts, so we’ll let him take it from here.

“My Friend Ken Wilson from Blazin Gunz brought a brand new 2018 Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 1 with a 10-speed automatic and 3.55 gears to the Full Throttle Fall Fest. The car didn’t have Magnaride or variable exhaust, and it had only 400 miles on the odometer. Being the guy he is, he wanted to see the performance of the car in bone stock form. He hands me the key fob and says ‘treat it like it is yours.’”

Dan Brooks and Don LaBar put a 2018 Mustang GT through its paces at Virginia International Raceway. It’s safe to say they seemed to really enjoy themselves, and both came away impressed.

“I took it out after a quick tech inspection and leaving the Michelins at the road pressures all above 40lbs. I put down a couple of shake down laps to get to know the car. With just dropping air pressure in the factory Michelins down to 36lbs I was able to get consistent 2:08s on VIR’s full course. I put it in Track mode and left the transmission in Sport. The transmission was very impressive and the car really put down the power.”

“Overall, it is a very capable car right out of the box. The first thing I noticed was the quickness of the transmission. It stayed way up top in the rpm range and you never felt a lag in power when shifting to the next gear. The power was always on demand. The biggest difference I noticed right from the start, my 2016 GT’s hood moves around a lot at 130-plus mph. The redesigned nose of the 2018 leaves it completely solid; no movement at all. The 2016 GT, when new, pushed the front in the turns. The 2018 is really corner-worthy. It did not offer up the front end or rear end in any of the turns despite running 2.07s throughout the day. The only thing that I did not like is that under heavy breaking, the down shifting w/rev matching was so fast it was almost upsetting the car in the entry of the turn. It was really distracting at first. I got used to it after a while and did not notice it at the end of the day. The 6-piston Brembo brakes are a hoot. The Brembos offer unlimited braking.”

“Don LaBar in his GT350 and I put it through some cat and mouse and it did not disappoint. The Shelby really had to work to stay in front. We did a rolling start drag race off Oak Tree turn all the way down the straight, hitting 163mph. The Shelby nudged it out at the very end of the ½-mile straight, but it was door-to-door throughout most of the drag race. I was very impressed. My 2016 has nothing for the GT350 on the straights. Don and I then traded cars with me hopping in my 2016 GT, and Don in the 2018. It is the first time I really wanted to add some modifications to my 2016 GT. All in all if I was thinking it was time for a new car, the 2018 Mustang GT is a no-brainer. It’s really as good as it gets out of the box below a $50,000 price tag.”