How to modify for Road Racing

Discussion in '2005 - 2009 Specific Tech' started by jlisle01, Sep 14, 2007.


  1. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    First of all, I want to explain that I get a little self conscious about making suggestions to people who will be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars and making modifications to a perfectly good automobile based on my opinion. However, the question of how to modify for hot lapping comes up often on this forum and is not met with the same truckload of experienced advice that drag racing questions receive. So, I offer my advice to those who can take it with a grain of salt, who won't come after me with a shotgun if it doesn't work out, and who understand that this highly biased advice is (for good or bad) based on my personal experience. This is the path, knowing what I know now, that I would take to modding my Mustang GT for road course duty if I could start all over again. It's not the path most people would choose. It won't earn you many points at the car show, doesn't add much "wow", and some of it will actually make you slower at the drag strip. However, it is based on my experience, not on what I read in a magazine.

    The '05 and up Mustang is a very capable car right out of the box, much more capable than the average driver, especially if it's his first day on a track. I'm going to break the mods down into sections assuming that you are getting track time in between mods. Track time is not cheap, especially if instruction is involved, but if you have a choice between doing mods or getting more track time, TAKE THE TRACK TIME. Money spent on track time will lower your lap times more than triple that amount spent on mods every time. No Joke!

    Note: If I suggest a particular part/brand name, I do so ONLY if I have personal experience with that particular part and would recommend it to a friend. That does not mean that it's the only available (or best available) choice, only that I've used it and liked it.


    Mods for hot lapping round one: (Before your first track day)

    1. A full brake fluid flush with a good quality, high temp, DOT4 brake fluid. ( I recommend- Motul RBF600)
    2. Replace the brake pads at all four corners of the car with a high performance STREET pad. ( I recommend- Hawk HPS)
    3. Mount a fire extinguisher. I don't care if it's a self contained, professional style, three nozzle halon fire suppression system or a 15 dollar, 2 pound Kiddie fire extinguisher from walmart duct taped to the back of the passenger seat. Somehow, somewhere, mount something you can put a fire out with on that car.

    Round two:

    1. Front brake cooling ducts. (I recommend- one of the kits from Quantum Motorsports)
    2. Your choice of lightweight 18x9.5 inch wheels with a 45mm offset. Make sure they will fit a GT500. This will limit your choice of styles but will set you up for round three.
    3. Oh God, let the criticism begin! The softest compound, stickiest tires you can live with. (For a daily driver, I recommend- BFGoodrich G-Force KDW in 275/40-18)


    Round three: This one's going to make your wallet ache.

    1. A big brake upgrade for the front of the car. (I highly recommend- a Brembo 14 inch, one piece slotted rotor kit, part number 1B4.8001A) I got mine at Raceshopper.com
    2. Ditch the pads that come with the kit and replace them with a club race pad with a MOT of at least 950-1000 degrees. ( I recommend- Ferodo DS2500)

    Round four:

    1. Modified racing pedals. When doing this try to move the brake pedal up and to the right so it's in a better place for heel toe downshifting.
    2. A solidly mounted, short throw shifter.
    3. A properly mounted 6 point racing harness. This is easier said than done. I used a harness bar from Sparco listed as the bar for a '99 to '04 Mustang. Yes, it does fit the S197. Although the hardware package seems to be a little off. A harness bar will let you return the car to stock in between track days.
    4. A properly mounted racing seat with harness passthroughs.

    Round five: By now, you've done more than a few track days and your car is set up where you can drive it to it's limit, safely and with good feel and feedback. You should have a good feel for what the car is doing and what deficiencies you want to correct. Choose a suspension kit that will accomplish what you want, and that will take you to the limit of what you are willing to spend. Use a manufacturer that races Mustangs and stick to ONE manufacturer for all your suspension components. Want a whole kit that's easy to live with? Use a Ford Racing handling pak. Want to go all out and don't care about NVH? Use Steeda. Whatever you go with, Ford, Eibach, Roush, Saleen, Steeda, remember; these guys don't just throw a bunch of crap on a car and hope for the best. They do development, they do testing, they tweak all of their parts to work together as a system. Use their high dollar testing budgets to your advantage and stick to one manufacturer for everything. You'll thank me later.

    Round six: NOW, start adding the mods for more power. And on this one, I'll leave your right foot and your wallet to slug it out. Put me down for $100 on the right foot.
     
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  2. ruffy

    ruffy Member

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    I went with 255/45/18 on 9 in rim and 285/40/18 on a 10 in rim out back. I'm running the BFG's with the funky tread pattern. I originally wanted a sort of drag race setup, but now I'm moving toward road race. I drive a mountain road with lots of curves to work and I bring the Mustang every now and then. My question is would it be better if I went with the same size tires and rims on all four corners? I haven't pushed it to the limit yet, but she handles pretty good and I can take the curves pretty fast.
     
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  3. TheVin

    TheVin New Member

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    Thanks!

    Not that I have anything against the drag racing mods, but its awesome to hear from the road course side, as that is the direction I will be headin with my mods.
     
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  4. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    Sorry for the delay in posting guys but I had an opportunity to attend a SVTOA event this weekend and it kept me away from my computer. (It's like rubbing salt in a wound, isn't it? :rolleyes: ) Anyway, the SVTOA guys are dedicated open track nuts some of whom have dedicated track only cars. I made it a point to look at the tires they were running and ask some questions. I did not see a single Mustang or talk to a single Mustang driver who was running staggered wheel sizes. There was a guy there in an American Iron Extreme '79 Camero who runs bigger rears but he was also putting down 575 lb/ft to the wheels so I imagine any under steer problems he might have are easily corrected with a slight tap of the throttle. :D
     
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  5. rebel01

    Founding Member

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    Hey man, I was there too! I had the tungsten 07 GT with the 2000 Cobra R's on it. You're pretty much dead nuts on the mod order. Having done my last car a$$ backward, I wanted to do this one right. I took the car to the Mid-America Shelby meet in stock trim & figgured out the tires were very much the limiting factor. Corrected the wheel/tire situation for the SVTOA meet & figgured out before the end of the first session that the brakes were SEVERELY lacking. Now I have this sneaking suspicion that the suspension will show its lack of capability on the next outing.
     
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  6. SlideWRX

    SlideWRX New Member

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    Excellent write up!

    A comment:
    Fire extinguisher - Mount it where you can get to it quickly. The trunk is NOT a usefull spot for this. :) Within reach of sitting in drivers seat is best.

    Tom
     
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  7. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    Oh, I agree. I have mine mounted on the harness bar downtube on the drivers side. Finding a place to mount one and a secure way to mount it was giving me nightmares. Mine was a quick but half a$$ed solution to the problem. The way I see it, if the car is on fire my first priority is to get the car stopped and get out of the damn thing. That puts me standing next to the drivers door (that's the theory anyway) so just behind the drivers seat is what I went with. But I agree, I would LOVE to have it mounted where I could get to it while strapped in.
     
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  8. walter

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    I'm a Road Racing / AutoX / Drift Junkie myself, I want to set the car up for perfect balance of street and track. I'm thinking watts linkage is the way to go for that anybody have ideas? Lakewood and Fays2 have some nice units for 400-600 bucks. The Saleen is just way overpriced IMHO.

    I'm thinking I want the Ford Racing Handling Pack and Watts Link to sharpen things up.
     
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  9. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    I have no experience with a watts link system on a S197 but I've heard lots of good stuff about them. I'm not sure how a watts link from one manufacturer will mix with a Ford Racing pack though. You could call GriggsRacing. They make top end (quality and price) suspension components and I've heard that they have a watts link in the works. I could be wrong though, I've noticed that they are using a torque arm rear suspension on the GT40 package, so maybe they gave up on the watts.
     
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  10. walter

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    the lakewood kit is a simple unit that ties both sides of the axle together, the FAYS2 looks like it has a provision for roll centre adjustment. The second looks like a real quality piece I'll probably go for that.
     
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  11. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    I've gotten a bunch of PM's about the harnesses. Yes, they work! It's hard to describe the difference between driving a car with normal belts and driving a car when you're "locked in" with racing belts. Think of it as being kind of like getting laid with condoms for years and then getting your first Au naturale. Hard to describe but no doubt better! The harnesses are not going to be a simple bolt in mod though. The Sparco bar makes the shoulder belts pretty easy but the hardware package is totally crap. I reused the stock hardware for awhile and later went to my local hardware store for some longer bolts to use. I suggested 6point harnesses instead of the 5 point ones that I used because there was no good place to drill thru the floor to mount an eye bolt. If you used a six point harness then the crotch straps could be mounted to the front seat mounting bolts with slightly longer bolts and a small spacer. It would be a lot easier than what I did. I ended up having a friend of mine fab up a 1" steel bar that mounts to the seat mounts for the crotch strap. It works great but that kind of fabrication is beyond me and, I suspect, lots of other people. Either way, mounting the harnesses is going to be a pain; but it's worth it. These are the only two pics I have of my harness bar. I'll get some more when I have a chance so anyone who's interested can see how I did it.

    Note: In the second pic I've got the headrests off because they were in the way when I was wrapping the belts around the bar but I use the stock seats with the headrests in place. It's not perfect but it fits my fat ass. :shrug:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Khyron

    Khyron Member

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    Wow! Thank you for posting the pics. That really helps me get an idea of how well the Sparco bar fits. If possible, could you give us a couple pics of the mounting locations? I'd like to see where everything bolts in. Thanks again.
     
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  13. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    Sorry for the crap pics but I was in a hurry, it was at night, and all I had was my camera phone. I'll get better pics next time I put the bar in for a track day but these should give you an idea anyway. Here's the crotch strap bar my friend fabbed up.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the upper (shoulder) mount with the stock seat belt removed. You can see why spacers are needed.

    [​IMG]

    Here's an end view of the bar with the stock seat belt reinstalled. You can see why I wanted a longer than stock bolt.

    [​IMG]


    I know the pics are F- but I hope this gives you an idea of how it all works.
     
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  14. Craft

    Craft New Member

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    I have done five track days with my 07 GT and agree with your recomendations.
    One thing I would suggest on the first round of mods is a CG lock. It is a device that hooks on to the seat belt to keep the lap portion of the seat belt tight. it doesn't effect the operation of the shoulder portion of the belt and helps a bunch to keep you from sliding around in the seat. I got one on ebay for about 30 bucks.
    I also have DBA one-piece rotors, hawk pads, Weds Racing 18 X 9 wheels (2.2 pounds lighter than the stock 17") Nitto Redlines.
    It may be just my imagination, but the Nittos don't seem to grip really well on the track.
     
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  15. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    Yea, the CG lock is a good idea if you're small enough to be sliding around in the seat. I had one and it worked well. Unfortunately, my butt is big enough that my lower half sliding around was not as much of a problem as my having to hold my upper body straight. When I went out with an instructor I mentioned that, after a 15 minute session, my forearms were cramped up. He suggested that I was having to use my arms to hold myself up against the cornering g's and that extra effort was hindering both my ability to drive smoothly and my ability to "feel" what the car was doing. I thought it was bunk but I was wrong. If you aren't really big though, a CG lock would be MUCH better than the stock belts. Good suggestion.

    I have no experience with the Nitto Redlines but I would think that they would be comparable to the BFG KDWs. I've replaced my KDWs with some Kumho Ecsta MXs. I'll post something up about them when I've tried them on the track. My butt feeling on the street is that the Kumhos are a little stickier in the dry but are going to be crap in the rain. I won't really know untill I see some lap times.
     
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  16. Mr_Q

    Founding Member

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    I am still amazed you've gotten any decent hot laps with those KDWs. (not denying, just amazed)

    KDs, yes, but KDWs? They are great for drifting but I've had nothing but nightmarish results on the track.
     
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  17. jlisle01

    jlisle01 New Member

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    Well, it may be that my skill level was not as high as yours. I would love something better but I'm trying to avoid the whole "trailer behind the Mustang" thing associated with track only wheels and tires. If I have to go as far as that I may end up putting a stop to the Stangs track days and just buy a legends series car and race that.
     
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  18. walter

    Founding Member

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    Good threads never die...

    How about:

    Step 1:
    Rear swaybar + endlinks
    Front swaybar mount brace
    G-trac brace
    Panhard rod
    Strut tower brace

    Step 2: (if budget allows)
    Control Arms


    should be able to stiffen things up, reduce body roll but still keep stock ride height and comfort for daily driving?
     
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  19. rxnodoze02

    rxnodoze02 New Member

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    This whole Fire extinguisher things got me a little nervous, to much mention of that so far. I understand it’s a precaution but dam how often does it really happen ?
     
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  20. Hipogt

    Hipogt New Member

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    Most tracks and/or clubs require a fire suppression device for HPDE's.
     
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