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S197 14' Mustang GT Track Pack Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,530
5,480
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Les,
If you are convinced to stay with 19x10s why not just use your regular rims for routine driving and slap on a set of Yokohama A052s in 295/30/19s or maybe go with a 295/35/19 Falken R660s. They both have a different benefit, each is within the rim range and you simply have to have more rubber down in CAM C. Sure you will still be undertired compared to many, but this way you won't have to run on bicycle tires. Just a thought and I never once said you really should get 19x11s , ha.

Now you could look at 18x10s too, so you would have a few more choices.
 
139
116
Great looking car and welcome. Consider putting camber plates towards the top of your mod list. They are a legit money saver, as your expensive new tires will last a lot longer. Look at your picture 1 of 5, you are just chewing up the outside shoulder of your front tires. And your car will turn, So. Much. Better. win-win
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Les,
If you are convinced to stay with 19x10s why not just use your regular rims for routine driving and slap on a set of Yokohama A052s in 295/30/19s or maybe go with a 295/35/19 Falken R660s. They both have a different benefit, each is within the rim range and you simply have to have more rubber down in CAM C. Sure you will still be undertired compared to many, but this way you won't have to run on bicycle tires. Just a thought and I never once said you really should get 19x11s , ha.

Now you could look at 18x10s too, so you would have a few more choices.
I was thinking about the 295 options but my biggest concern is that they cost more than the 305/315s that you could put on the 11" wide wheels. I feel like I should try to get the 11 inch wheels to work at that point.

I need to take a closer look at the 18x10 tire options. I am a little worried that the lower diameter on those will have me on the limiter a lot with my 3.73 gears. I am hitting it a little now and I'm not even that fast! Haha
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Great looking car and welcome. Consider putting camber plates towards the top of your mod list. They are a legit money saver, as your expensive new tires will last a lot longer. Look at your picture 1 of 5, you are just chewing up the outside shoulder of your front tires. And your car will turn, So. Much. Better. win-win
Thanks. I definitely need some more camber. I am struggling to figure out what I want to do with the suspension. I really want it to be street compliant so I was thinking about throwing some camber plates on it along with some Koni Yellows but if I'm going to be running smaller diameter tires, I may want to lower it some more. I figured maybe coilovers may be a good option since I'd have the ability to adjust the ride height but not sure how the ride quality would be on the street compared to the stock style stuff.
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
A little update post...

I picked up a set of 19x9 S550 Ecoboost Performance Pack wheels this past weekend for some race wheels. Unfortunately, they won't clear over the stock brembo brakes without 5/16" spacers so I would need to probably get some extended studs. I don't think I want to go this route quite yet so I think I'm probably going to sell them and bite the bullet on some 19x10 Apex EC7s when they have their next sale (I was planning on SVE X500s but know Apex makes some quality stuff for track use which I would like to do in the next coming year as well). The 10 inch wide wheels will at least maximize the contact patch of the 275/35/19 RT660 I am planning on.

AB4188FC-15EF-419D-BB99-6DECA32746CC.jpegBD8BFA27-1C76-4F26-9695-2C5C5E107F35.jpeg
1C07C1F9-D95E-479D-B4A5-03651002D5C0.jpeg

We had our first Autocross event this past weekend as well. I ended up finishing 54/123 PAX (3.937 seconds off top PAX) in a basically stock Mustang GT with lowering springs and some worn out Continental ECS tires. I'm pretty happy with that considering my car is definitely far from being competitive in its current state in CAMC and I made a few easily correctable mistakes (like clutching in at the end of the first slalom 🙄). My best clean run below.


I ran a little faster in one of my later runs but whacked a cone. I have been running the car in sport mode, so traction control is not completely off. I am a bit of a wimp and scared to turn it off completely but plan on doing it once I replace the tires. Feel free to critique my driving, any feedback is welcome. I've still got a lot to learn.
 
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Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
547
611
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
Pretty good run. You're looking ahead well. Overall, I think you might be doing a bit too much of what I call "gate-to-gate" driving. You're not getting the optimal arc on corner entry & exit in some places because you're headed straight to the cones from the last set of cones. Don't treat the gate as the target, treat it as a place you pass through as you travel your ideal line on the course.

When you walk the course, don't just think about how close to a particular cone you want to put your car, think about what direction you want your car pointed as it passes that cone. That may mean taking a wider entry in some corners, which may also mean taking a different line exiting the previous element, and you want to figure all that out during the course walk.

Case in point - the right-hander after the first slalom, about 0:17 in the video. You put the passenger door pretty close to the last cone in the slalom, then drive straight to that 90-right, having to brake hard & coast through a tight turn, and you wait until about 0:20 to get back on the throttle. I would have rotated the car another 10-15 deg. to the left on the second-to-last cone of that slalom (0:15) "back-siding" it, ignored the last slalom cone and gotten the car about 6-8 feet further left on entry to the 90-right (maybe the passenger seat is lined up with the outside line of cones when I'm 40 feet from the corner), I could start turning the car right much earlier, and have it mostly rotated and be on the throttle by the time I'm passing that apex cone. What had been a tight turn for you becomes a moderately fast sweeper for me. Carry that idea through that whole set of "stair steps" that are the next 3 corners. I might be driving a little more distance, but I'm carrying much more speed, so the overall time is less.

Smooth is fast.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,530
5,480
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Dave_W has given you some good info and one little last tip, when you get those new tires and wheels ( especially the tires ), make sure you get something bigger than 275s ---- 295s at least. If you are running the CAM Series Class , bite the bullet , get the ARP studs ( backorder everywhere now ) and put more meat on the ground with wider wheels.
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Pretty good run. You're looking ahead well. Overall, I think you might be doing a bit too much of what I call "gate-to-gate" driving. You're not getting the optimal arc on corner entry & exit in some places because you're headed straight to the cones from the last set of cones. Don't treat the gate as the target, treat it as a place you pass through as you travel your ideal line on the course.

When you walk the course, don't just think about how close to a particular cone you want to put your car, think about what direction you want your car pointed as it passes that cone. That may mean taking a wider entry in some corners, which may also mean taking a different line exiting the previous element, and you want to figure all that out during the course walk.

Case in point - the right-hander after the first slalom, about 0:17 in the video. You put the passenger door pretty close to the last cone in the slalom, then drive straight to that 90-right, having to brake hard & coast through a tight turn, and you wait until about 0:20 to get back on the throttle. I would have rotated the car another 10-15 deg. to the left on the second-to-last cone of that slalom (0:15) "back-siding" it, ignored the last slalom cone and gotten the car about 6-8 feet further left on entry to the 90-right (maybe the passenger seat is lined up with the outside line of cones when I'm 40 feet from the corner), I could start turning the car right much earlier, and have it mostly rotated and be on the throttle by the time I'm passing that apex cone. What had been a tight turn for you becomes a moderately fast sweeper for me. Carry that idea through that whole set of "stair steps" that are the next 3 corners. I might be driving a little more distance, but I'm carrying much more speed, so the overall time is less.

Smooth is fast.
I see what you mean by the gate-to-gate driving. I think I tend to struggle with that a lot since I try to maximize my acceleration whenever I can but it does compromise my line. I guess I need to focus on maintaining my speed a little better rather than maximizing acceleration.

To get the car closer to that second-to-last slalom cone and better set up for the 90 degree turn, would I have needed to give up some speed/acceleration? I honestly wasn't sure what the best way to handle that first slalom would be since you have to accelerate through it and my rear grip was very limited (the cones were spaced 100 ft apart if I remember correctly and that equates to around 70 mph I believe so my goal was to get as close to that as possible).
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Dave_W has given you some good info and one little last tip, when you get those new tires and wheels ( especially the tires ), make sure you get something bigger than 275s ---- 295s at least. If you are running the CAM Series Class , bite the bullet , get the ARP studs ( backorder everywhere now ) and put more meat on the ground with wider wheels.
I am torn on what to do with the wheel and tire set up. I'm just not quite sure what I want to do. I know widest will give the best times but I do like the practicality of the 275/35/19 combo that you get with 19x10s since its easy mode and I just have to switch wheels. No extended studs, no spacers, and tires are a few hundred bucks cheaper per set which is important to me at the moment. Another thing I've been considering is whether or not the tire will be pinched if I try to go wide as possible and if that'll affect the way the car handles negatively. The 275 RT660 I'm looking at looks to be closer to a 285 on most other tires which would be pretty close to the perfect size on a 10 inch wide wheel. The 295 RT660 would be closer to a 305 on most other tires and would be pinched on a 19x10.

If I did go the 18x11 or 19x11 route with the extended studs and spacers, would open ended lugs be anything to be concerned about on a daily driven car? I figured dust and road debris might be a concern with exposed threads.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
547
611
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
The charts at Tire Rack show the "approved" widths for the RT660 275-19 as 9-11" and the 295-19 as 10-11.5" so I don't think the 295 would be pinched on a 10. You might give up a small fraction of an inch on the contact patch width, but you're starting from a bigger size. The 305-19 says it's for 10.5-11.5" width wheels; that's where I'd start calling it pinched on a 10, but I might try it anyway for the extra tread width, probably not as a daily driver tire though. But I'm a bit crazy that way - I've put 295 Hoosier A7s on the Boss 19x9 before the switch to 200TW in Stock/Street, and 225s on a 14x6 when I had a Neon in the 90's. That was really pinched - it looked like a Goodyear cantilever slick. But it had amazing grip.

To get the car closer to that second-to-last slalom cone and better set up for the 90 degree turn, would I have needed to give up some speed/acceleration?
You may have needed to breath the throttle a tiny bit before initiating the left for that cone, or you could try to be "earlier" in the whole slalom so you were already pointed in that direction. Even if you had to breath the throttle, you'd lose maybe 2 tenths but could make up 7-8 tenths in that right-hander by carrying more speed.

I tell my students that if they hit a slalom cone, it should be with the rear tire, not the front - that means you're driving "early" in the slalom. Imagine trying to hit the back side of the cone. When you overdrive a slalom is when you get "late" and start pushing into the cones. Being early feels relaxed, being late feels panicked. One trick is, when coming up to a slalom, look at the last cone (that matters) in the slalom and focus on that until you need to start looking for the next element. You let your lower vertical field of view process the closer cones in the slalom, and you can more easily judge the speed & rhythm of the slalom by seeing all the cones.
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Another update post:

Finally bit the bullet and bought some 19x10 Apex EC7 wheels in Satin Black during their tax season sale. I know some may be disappointed but I went with the relatively narrow 275/35/19 RT660s for tires. They look great and no regrets so far. I am still learning so the narrow tires will help keep the consumable costs down in the meantime.

DSC_5351.jpg

I attended my first autocross with the new setup on this past weekend and was impressed. The grip is great and it's incredible how much more responsive the front end is. I cannot wait to get some more seat time with them. I ended up placing 37/121 in PAX and 8/12 in our combined CAM class. My best run below:


Definitely a few spots where I could've had a better line and pushed the car harder coming out of corners but I will have to get used to the grip, especially in the rear.

DSC_5466.jpg
DSC_5579.jpgDSC_5580.jpg
 

TMSBOSS

Spending my pension on car parts and track fees.
6,721
3,920
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Illinois
Looks like fun! The EC-7’s are a nice wheel.
it’s amazing how much more grip you get with a better tire and wheel.
I was doing track events for about 5 years before I stepped up to a wider wheel and tire.
We all do what we can to have fun with our pony’s
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Looks like fun! The EC-7’s are a nice wheel.
it’s amazing how much more grip you get with a better tire and wheel.
I was doing track events for about 5 years before I stepped up to a wider wheel and tire.
We all do what we can to have fun with our pony’s
Totally agree. I had several other wheels in mind but I kept coming back to the apex ones. They’re hard to beat for the price and I am very happy with them even though I swore I wouldn’t do black haha
 
46
38
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Arizona
Totally agree. I had several other wheels in mind but I kept coming back to the apex ones. They’re hard to beat for the price and I am very happy with them even though I swore I wouldn’t do black haha
Fellow S197 autocrosser here. I'm running the Apex SM-10s square setup of 19x10 with Pilot Sport 4S square 285/35. I love my setup, you can't go wrong with Apex. Nice choice on the EC-7s. You're looking good on the circuit. Like others have said, I would go ARP extended studs as soon as possible. If nothing else, just for the strength of the studs and the peace of mind. I haven't heard of many stock studs snapping on the S197 chassis, but have seen it on other cars and it's cheap insurance. Plus you're able to run spacers or a wider wheel in the future.

With a daily driver, extended studs are nothing to worry about. I daily drive my car as well (because why not, it's so much fun) and I have MSI open end lug nuts. No problems, always stay torqued and no issues with road debris or anything else. It's just like having OEM studs.

I'm stoked to follow this thread and see your journey!
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
547
611
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
Nice run and congratulations on your move up the results. Much better on being smooth and not driving gate-to-gate. Good setup through the left-hander into the slalom at the far end. Did you generally feel more relaxed / less rushed driving this course compared to the last event? Even though you were faster, I'm thinking the smoother lines probably felt easier to drive.
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Fellow S197 autocrosser here. I'm running the Apex SM-10s square setup of 19x10 with Pilot Sport 4S square 285/35. I love my setup, you can't go wrong with Apex. Nice choice on the EC-7s. You're looking good on the circuit. Like others have said, I would go ARP extended studs as soon as possible. If nothing else, just for the strength of the studs and the peace of mind. I haven't heard of many stock studs snapping on the S197 chassis, but have seen it on other cars and it's cheap insurance. Plus you're able to run spacers or a wider wheel in the future.

With a daily driver, extended studs are nothing to worry about. I daily drive my car as well (because why not, it's so much fun) and I have MSI open end lug nuts. No problems, always stay torqued and no issues with road debris or anything else. It's just like having OEM studs.

I'm stoked to follow this thread and see your journey!
Appreciate it! I'm glad to hear that about the open end lugs being fine on the street. I am definitely going to have to look at getting the ARP studs in the near future. I actually had one of my stock rear studs snap off when I was trying to put on my new wheels (my dealership cross-threaded a lug nut on last visit). I probably should've went ARP then and there but I'm cheap so I sourced another stock one instead haha
 
14
11
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
North Alabama
Nice run and congratulations on your move up the results. Much better on being smooth and not driving gate-to-gate. Good setup through the left-hander into the slalom at the far end. Did you generally feel more relaxed / less rushed driving this course compared to the last event? Even though you were faster, I'm thinking the smoother lines probably felt easier to drive.
Thanks. I did feel less rushed driving this course surprisingly. I think I probably rush myself sometimes trying to extract every last tenth of a second possible and that clearly just doesn't work in some areas. I feel like the new tires being so responsive compared to my old ones also made it much easier to hold a line.

For my next event, I am going to try to focus on staying committed to turns. One of the corners I think I lost some time on was toward the back of the lot where the turn around was, I kinda second guessed myself and was way off the apex (and looked kinda slow as a result).

I think I may invest in some shorter rear bump stops as well. I'm no expert on suspension but I was reading a little about lowered S197s on here and it occurred to me when I lowered my car a few years ago with the Steeda Sports, the bump stops weren't shortened. The car kinda bounces all over the place on bumps under acceleration (I know its a live axle but still). And maybe my rear end traction coming out of corners is affected some if I'm riding on the bumpstops? Since it would be technically increasing the spring rate the more you lay into the throttle? I might be wrong but they're probably worth changing anyway.
 
319
270
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I think I may invest in some shorter rear bump stops as well. I'm no expert on suspension but I was reading a little about lowered S197s on here and it occurred to me when I lowered my car a few years ago with the Steeda Sports, the bump stops weren't shortened. The car kinda bounces all over the place on bumps under acceleration (I know its a live axle but still). And maybe my rear end traction coming out of corners is affected some if I'm riding on the bumpstops? Since it would be technically increasing the spring rate the more you lay into the throttle? I might be wrong but they're probably worth changing anyway.
The bump stops may not be the cause of traction issues. I ran Steeda sport springs on my car for a few years. I like the ride and they eliminated wheel hop under hard acceleration but the car either hooked or spun. A set of relo brackets on the rear of the lower trailing arms solved the problem. If you look at the lower arms they will slop upward from front to back. This allows the rear axle to travel upward under hard acceleration pivoting on the front mounting point decreasing traction.

Oh and good choice on the wheels. I run the 19 x 10 EC 7's with either 275/35/19 or 285/35/19 rubber. They provide plenty of brake clearance and don't have the figment issues you can run into with 11 wide wheels.
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
547
611
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Connecticut
Yes, hitting the bump stops definitely reduces grip. You can try putting a zip-tie on the bottom of the shock shaft, do a test drive, then see how far up it got pushed by the shock body under bump. Take that distance and compare to the bump stop clearance to see if you were hitting them. I think the bump stop and shock are close enough on the axle that you don't need to do fancy trig if the max compression occurred when the body was under roll.
 

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