July 23, 2012

Track Attack

As my group filed in, I could feel the energy in the air. The day began with lead instructor James Burke guiding us through a discussion of road course driving basics. Shortly thereafter, we were fitted with a helmet and driving suit (of course, you can bring your own). And next, we headed to the garage housing the beautiful stable of Boss 302 Mustangs, decked out with racing numbers, cages, and a harness system--our names were even placed on each car. Yes, each student gets his or her own Boss for the day.

"We want the owners to appreciate the cars they have, so we have been careful not to stray too far from the production nature of the cars used in the Boss Track Attack program, which include Boss 302s and Laguna Secas," said Matus.

During the first on-track session, we practiced the finer points of heal-toe downshifting, braking, cornering, and accelerating through corner exit. We also participated in a lead-and-follow exercise to learn the track and the racing line. Going fast requires refined car-control skills, which is the foundation for performance driving. The morning ended with a nice lunch and more classroom discussions, taking our brains to the next level and preparing us to go faster.

With full stomachs, we were back on track, this time with more confidence and a better feel for the Boss 302. The program provided a nice mix of education and track time. It is educational for drivers with varied backgrounds, too, as some Boss owners had never been on track, while others were seasoned track dawgs.

"The [Track Attack] idea basically popped up during a Boss immersion with Jim Farley, the group vice-president of Global Marketing and Sales and Service at Ford, in June 2008," explained Matus. "After a discussion of the Boss brand, its racing history, and the thoughts regarding the opportunity to execute a contemporary Boss 302, Farley, who also owns a vintage Shelby GT-350, mentioned we should offer owners the chance to drive this special car the way it was designed to be driven. That evolved into the Boss Track Attack program, which I had the privilege to build and launch with the guys in Utah. That's the genesis of the Boss Track Attack," added Matus.

Throughout the program, I absorbed all the instructors had to offer. They provided a serious education, divulging driving tips, and solutions to problems. And since there were only 16 students per class and as many as four instructors, there was ample one-on-one instruction.

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It's important to drive with smooth, controlled inputs for the throttle, steering, clutch, and brakes. Speed comes from having a proper corner entry, then a proper corner exit line, which gives you the ability to roll the throttle on quickly. "Think about the throttle as a volume knob, not a light switch," said one instructor. Meaning to roll on the power smoothly to maintain control during corner exit.

Tips such as this were employed, and our group excelled by showing better speed on track as we progressed.

Each session was followed with a classroom discussion where the instructors offered us positive reinforcement and helped us work individually on our techniques.

Ultimately, we came away with a better understanding of the Boss 302, of racing techniques, and personally, I feel my skill set has improved.

"Finally, all graduates are sent home with several mementoes to remind them of the experience they have had. Most significant is the Boss 302 piston/connecting rod assembly. This specific assembly was chosen since it is believed to best define a Boss 302," said Matus.

"The Boss owners who have participated in the program have been over the moon with their reaction. Without exception, all have been impressed with the capabilities of the Boss 302, the professionalism and approachability of the instructors, and the facilities themselves. The strong reception of the Boss owners to this program has been overwhelming, and the thought to provide similar experiences to owners of other appropriate nameplates is definitely on our minds. And while not a Mustang derivative, we are also exploring a desert experience featuring the Raptor."

We agree, the Track Attack is a wonderful complement to any Boss purchase and being able to push a Boss to the limit of our abilities was an honest treat.

All have been impressed with the capabilities of the Boss 302, the professionalism and approachability of the instructors, and the facilities themselves.

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