Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
February 27, 2018

When this author thinks of a 10-speed, thoughts of old-school bicycles come to mind. However, these days in the Mustang market, when someone mentions 10-speed, they’re talking about the 2018 Mustang GT’s 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission. The 10R80 has been the hot cheese since the cars hit the streets, but the trick has been getting the transmission to play nice with other performance modifications.

Steeda Autosports has figured it out, and recently applied all 481 horses to the pavement, blasting a 10.98 at 126 mph. How did Steeda do it? You’re about to find out.

Starting with a non-Performance Pack 2018 Mustang GT with a 3.15 gear, Steeda techs added Ford Performance Parts 4.09 gears, American Racing Headers long-tubes with a corresponding X-pipe, a dumped after-cat exhaust, and Race Star Recluse big n’ littles with Mickey Thompson ET Street R 305/45-17s. From the Steeda catalog, the guys installed the company’s cold air intake, Stop the Hop package, drag springs, billet shock mounts, adjustable rear shocks, drag sway bar, rear lower control arm bearings, urethane differential bushings, and a custom tune.

Those upgrades were added at Steeda’s Pompano Beach, Florida headquarters before heading up to the company’s Valdosta, Georgia location. Once across the Florida/Georgia line, Steeda’s Scott Boda made a couple test hits on Steeda Way before taking the car over to South Georgia Motorsports Park for official times. The very first pass the car ran an 11.16. “We went nuts,” Scott says, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. A couple adjustments lowered the car’s time down to an 11.02 with a stout 1.70 short time. One last attempt at the 10s that night resulted in hitting the rev limiter and first gear, which negatively affected the elapsed time.

Never one to give up, Scott and the gang went back to SGMP the next morning to make more attempts at the 10-second zone. With temps in the high-70s and a density altitude of 1,400 feet, the car ran an 11.008 right off the bat, followed by a hot-lapped 11.01. Both times had a 1.69 short time. “After one final set of adjustments…Boom, 10.98 at 126.35 mph with a 1.68 short time,” Scott says.

As of this writing, Scott says they just added a QA1 carbon fiber driveshaft, which is 10 pounds lighter than the stock unit. “It also makes the car feel much smoother up top,” Scott says. “The factory one vibrated bad over 75 mph with the 4.09 rear gear.” Scott and the Steeda crew will be returning to the track this weekend in an effort to improve on the 10.98. Something tells us Steeda will have a 10.80 car on its hands.