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S197 2011 Mustang V6 Performance Pack: Building the wrong car for D Street

drj2k1

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Where to even begin... With the quarantine currently in effect for all of NYC and it's boroughs I've finally got some time to post on here.

A little background: Started autocrossing in 2008 at the age of 17, caught the bug hard running a grossly underprepared 1992 Civic in Street Mod. Decided it would cost far too much build the car for SM and replaced it with a purpose build 1985 Honda CRX Si that was already set up for C Street Prepared (still have this car today but it has been sitting for awhile and needs a refresh for FSP). College and life got in the way and I took a hiatus from autocross until 2013 when I picked up a 2008 WRX and ran it in D street, STX, and ASP. The car was seriously uncompetitive in the higher classes so I set it up for rallycross (poor idea and beat the piss out of the car) leading to me selling it off shortly after running the 2017 SCCA East Coast Regional event at the Rally Farm in Virginia.

In late 2017 I picked up a 2009 Civic Si and prepared it for H-Street autocross. With my father as a co-driver (tire warmer duty lol) we attended our first SCCA regional autocross event in June 2018, the Tirerack Finger Lakes Champ Tour. We didn't trophy but got hooked back into the sport as a father-son activity, which led to us getting serious about autocross again. Flash forward to 2019 I took the Civic to the farthest extent of the SCCA "Street Class ruleset": custom bumpstop tuning, competition swaybars with rod ends, staggered offset wheels with reverse staggering of tires (255 width rival 1.5S pinched on a 7inch rim was something else lol), fresh koni yellows, more aggressive pads, etc. In total we attended 4 SCCA tour events in 2019 (Metlife Prosolo in NJ, Finger Lakes Champ Tour, Bristol Match Tour, Bristol Motor Speedway Champ tour). With more seat time and experience we were able to trophy with the car at two tour events and "coned away" another trophy position at a third event. Unfortunately in July 2019 the car met an untimely demise at the hands of an FDNY ambulance when I was sideswiped in NYC.

Welp fast forward to fall 2019 and I found myself in the market for another car to split daily driver duty/autocross time. Decided I wanted to go rwd this time around and test drove all the usual suspects for SCCA street class autocross including (in my budget ofcourse ): BRZ, Camaro turbo 1LE, s550 ecoboost performance package, newer WRX, Miatas, etc. Didn't really love driving any of them.

Then I remembered reading an old Car & Driver magazine years ago about a V6 performance package mustang called the "mayhem" package. I liked the idea of the efficiency of the 3.7 V6 as a commuter in NYC and the idea of the factory upgraded GT/GT500 suspension goodies and brakes coupled with the lighter weight for autocross usage. Found a well used 2013 at a local ford dealer and despite being beat up I really enjoyed the feel of the car and its driving dynamics. Didn't buy that car and eventually found a garage kept 1-owner 2011 V6 premium with the performance package that had complete maintenance records from Ford. At the end of the day I bought the car and set out to build the "wrong" car for D-Street autocross

I had no intentions of autoxing the car stock form until I had gone through everything (77k mile car) and some minor prep to baseline the car. This didn't last very long as the car was pressed into autocross duty when my father's Miata snapped its Racing Beat swaybar at a local BMW club event and we finished the afternoon driving the mustang. Initial impression were that the car felt very well balanced with plenty of power for the small venue we were running, there was quite a bit of nose drive with the soft stock springs/original shocks, but once the car set it's weight it was very predictable. Even bone stock on basic summer tires the car put down some decent times!

We did a handful of events with the SCCA, Porsche club, and BMW club to finish the end of the season with the mustang with only a quick alignment (-1.4 degrees camber using stock bolts/zero toe) and a shitty set of AMR 17x8 wheels (snow wheels that the original owner threw in with the sale) mounted with our tiny leftover tires from the civic (225 width Rival 1.5S up front/255 width Rivals out back). I hated the understeer prone staggered tire setup but it was more of a run what you brung effort. During this "baseline" campaigning of the car in D-Street trim (minus illegal) we were able to place the car within 1 second of nationally prepared & well driven D-Street cars in our region on a 60 second course (2019 Turbo 1LE Camaro, 2019 Civic Type R, Evo X, and Focus RS).

Considering the lack of preparation of the mustang and lack of seat time with this chassis we are thinking that we might have a semi-competitive car this year, but given the current state of affairs in racing we might not be able to put that to the test for a few months.
 

drj2k1

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The theory I'm looking to test here is that a 2011-14 mustang V6 might be competitive in D-Street autocross. Over the past few years the class has been won by a s550 Ecoboost mustang, Camaro LT with the 4 cylinder turbo, and most recently by the Civic Type R. In comparison the s197 is a much older chassis, has an antiquated rear suspension design, and carries a bit more weight. By analyzing some magazine test and doing my best bench racing over the winter, I was surprised to find that the measured numbers of the V6 PP aren't as far off last years champion Civic Type-R as I originally expected. For your entertainment check out the differences below:

2011 Mustang V6 PP (Motortrend 2010): 305hp/280lb-ft, 3464 lbs (need to get mine of the scales to compare), 0-60 5.1 sec, skidpad .96, braking 60-0 104ft.

2019 Civic Type R (C&D 2019): 306hp/295lb-ft, 3160 lbs, 0-60 5.1 seconds, skidpad .99, braking 70-0 147 ft (60-0 99 ft Motortrend 2019)

Taking into account that the mustang was tested on tires that are 9 years older in design/technology I'm wondering what things might look like on equal modern 200tw rubber (both cars are mandated to use a 8.5 inch width rim). To me the biggest discrepancies will come from the weight difference and the torque lower in the powerband on the CTR. I've heard earlier s197's are lighter but the proof will be in the pudding with lighter wheels/tires and additional weight savings from the lighter exhaust.

Interested in hearing some of your feedback and experiences autoxing this chassis as we all wait out the quarantine.
 
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Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
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Glad to have another Autocross/Trackraticus on the TMO Forum and thanks for giving all of us a solid history of your racing sickness. Now there is no cure , but this is a virus we all have here and we find the only thing that suffers is our Visa or Mastercards, ha. One never knows how the V6 Stang will do, but you already have evidence that some of the bigger machines can be sleepers against the small imports -- the V6 Camaro proved that at the Solo Nationals besides at your events. I am only 60 miles from the Solo Nationals site in Lincoln, Nebraska, and like you and your father , my son and I are running together ( though in his ASP Evo 9 ). Dave W and Auteaux , both run Mustangs and hopefully they will pop in here with some advice.

The tire choices for your Mustang will likely benefit most from the RE71S, BFG Rival S 1.5, or the sleeper from last year , the A052 Yokes. Hope to hear about your exploits when the Virus contagion is over and feel free to send me a PM ( conversation on this site) or an email , anytime.

billpemberton@woodhouse.com
 

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