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S197 My budget track 5.0 GT Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

58
70
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Been going back and forth with this since I bought the car. Hate it or love it- the stripes are gone! Also installed a Boss 302s grille to go along with the 302s radiator. By no means trying to steal the street cred of a real Boss I just love the look and added air flow can only be a plus!

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481
426
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I have always liked the Boss 302s grill and the car look good without the stripes. Can you see any difference in the paint where the stripes were?
 
58
70
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
I have always liked the Boss 302s grill and the car look good without the stripes. Can you see any difference in the paint where the stripes were?
No difference in the paint at all but I definitely have to run a clay bar over where they were to get some remaining residue off.

The biggest issue is my hood- I definitely need a new one. The whole car is clean without a spec of rust but the hood is bubbling on the edges on top and underneath all along the side edges too. When I took the stripes off it took some of the bubbling flakes off with it. apparently this is a problem with a lot of ford vehicles from the factory as they let the bare metal sit too long uncoated
 
481
426
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
No difference in the paint at all but I definitely have to run a clay bar over where they were to get some remaining residue off.

The biggest issue is my hood- I definitely need a new one. The whole car is clean without a spec of rust but the hood is bubbling on the edges on top and underneath all along the side edges too. When I took the stripes off it took some of the bubbling flakes off with it. apparently this is a problem with a lot of ford vehicles from the factory as they let the bare metal sit too long uncoated
Thats good. I have seen some where the painted over time and you could see the difference once they were removed.

The aluminum hoods had some paint issues. Mine hasn't been too bad. I haven't seen any bubbles, but I do have bunch of little silver flecks where the paint has chipped over the years. I thought about buying a Tiger hood for track use to save my factory one but it was too far gone, so I cut it for louvres to improve cooling. I can always buy another stock hood later if plans for the car change.
 
58
70
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Great weekend at Gingerman Raceway last weekend. Ran Saturday and Sunday in the novice group and did very well. Felt comfortable with the lines and corners right off the bat- everything still fresh from August. Passed up a ton of people and was definitely faster than I was my first time out in August. By the end of the first day I realized traction control was really kicking in on a few turns and cutting power to the engine when I wanted it. Ran the rest of the weekend in "Sport Mode" and that helped tremendously. Definitely made the system less sensitive. Unfortunately I got too confident and for my last run of the weekend decided to see what "full off" is like, and disabled traction control/advance trac completely. Well- I went as hard as I had all weekend into the turns and ended up losing control on my second lap and spinning out with a 360 into the field. Lesson learned. Not a scratch on the car but the rear driver side tire came off the bead. Luckily Walmart auto center was open on a Sunday down the road and mounted/balanced my tire for $15. I really want to try again next year and figure out how to drive properly without any traction control.

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One more update before winter. Needed to scratch the itch and finally get a little power/sound modification going on. I picked up a Lethal Performance 3" off road x-pipe along with some Roush axle backs. After talking to Shaun at AED this past week- he is adamant I need to be on E85 or race gas if I am tracking the car. He advised me to pick up a set of LU47 injectors and he is going to set me up with four different tunes. 93 street tune, 100 octane race tune, E85 street tune, and an E85 race tune. Hoping I can get the tune done before the weather gets way too cold up here.
 
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237
375
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Wisconsin
Gingerman is tough, however its very safe track. Glad you did not have a big off. Off camber left sweeper in like turn 5 is a total biznitch

You should be running with all the nannies off to learn the car. Build confidence in the car. They will also cause the brakes to overheat faster as they fight to keep the car under control.

Love seeing you getting out!
 
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@Vettel-ish I hear you but I have a little different view of sport mode. I spent a lot of time learning on track with my '11 GT in sport mode (traction control off, stability control less intrusive) and I definitely feel like I was still able to learn the car. I think this idea that you can't learn the car with any stability control on in the background is often repeated but a little over-done. At least on an 11-14 s197, it's not like an older BMW system where it shuts everything down at a moment's notice. It allows a pretty decent amount of screwing around.

I kind of treated the dash light as a f*&^ up gauge, it got to the point where I knew when I screwed up and then the blinking light would confirm it. But you can certainly get the car pretty loose before it jumps in. And when it did, I often needed it. You are right that it chews up rear brake pads faster but who cares. I'm a fan.

Also, in my experience knowing that stability control was on in the background gave me confidence to get the car looser on purpose, so at least for me I feel like I actually learned car control faster. We've all seen those people tip toeing around in a nice modern car with all systems off because they're told they need to "learn the car" but are understandably scared of the consequences if they don't catch things fast enough. So they never get close to the limit and never learn.

All that said, I did run into problems with sport mode intruding too much as I progressed in pace and experience and now I run with everything off. But it was a great tool at the right stage.

Sorry for getting on a soap box but I think stability control too often gets lumped into an "all or nothing" thing because of the early systems, where you really can't get the car to do anything with the system on in any fashion. The S197 is more sophisticated than that and I'm sure the S550 is better still. I think a lot of people would drive their cars home unscratched, and actually learn faster, if they would leave these systems on in sport mode.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,994
6,121
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
I am in the Vettelish camp as I feel the Mustang ( S197s, S550s ) are quite neutral in their configuration, more communicative than many other cars, and as such, it is reasonably easy for a driver to " feel " the car. I have found when I accidentally left the advance track on a sharp turn or running over a curbing at higher speed, I felt like I had something going wrong with a hub or a brake caliper. To me that was more unnerving than having it off, as coming on in a fast, tight turn , it almost felt it upset the car more.

All that said, I think it depends on a driver's experience, confidence, feel, and comfort zone, so neither thought process is right for everyone. Where Vettelish and I want everything off because we feel the car is very communicative, your feelings are different and that is not saying either of us is right. What is right is for one to do what they feel the best on track, and there will always be differing schools of thought. Thanks for contributing as each view will likely resonate with the various drivers who are on TMO.
 
237
375
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Wisconsin
That being said. A track like Gingerman. I would totally understand you would want to keep it on and learn that place. Toughest track I have driven. Good friend of mine races there and he said it took him 3 years to figure out 7-10 and do it flat out. 3 years!!!

Keep an eye on your brake temps when you come back from a session. If they are 300+ ABS and stability are kicking in way too much and they are spotting the rotors. Here is a picture of that.
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Even with everything "off" on my 2011 I can still get these because the system is never really off. Not unless the BOSS abs module is installed.
 
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Good points all. For sure there is no one right answer and I totally agree it can become too intrusive as experience, speed, and grip levels increase. But this idea that you need everything fully off in order to "feel" or "learn" the car is a little misplaced imo. And regardless of feel, even the very best drivers can't brake individual wheels to prevent a spin once they've lost it.
 
58
70
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Thank you all for the feedback. Thinking I will keep trying a little bit of both but take it easy when I am full off. @stevbd I really like your idea of having sport mode kicking in being your signal that you've made a mistake. Did you get to a point where you could keep it from turning on before trying to go full off? Just not sure how to build my way up. I guess the only way to learn is to take it easy and take a step back instead of going balls to the wall through a turn lol.

@Vettel-ish Gingerman is very technical compared to other tracks from what I've heard- meaning if you drew the lines and apex's on paper it wouldn't be the actual way you want to go around the track. Talked to an older gentleman there last weekend who has decades of experience and has driven every track in North America- he said Gingerman is one of the most technical in the country. I was lucky enough to attend Mohawk Track Experience in August and have really great instructors teach me the lines and where the "real" apex's are. I love the track though as it really is forgiving and the only place to watch out for is turn 11 where the wall is.
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,994
6,121
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
As you get more experienced do consider turning things off. I will make one statement that sometimes the system is not going to engage because you made a mistake, but because you are going really fast. I accidentally left the system on, years back, and going into a very quick corner ( 90 mph ) after driving over a nearly flat curbing the system engaged chattering my right front and unbalancing the car. In this specific case the system could have caused an accident, and I am bringing this up as many think stability management is a panacea to avoid an accident. It can, in some instances, be the possible cause and that is why many of us recommend one gets use to no nannies. As noted turning off all the nannies may be something one is not comfortable with at present, but the example above is a reason I recommend ( eventually ) turning those systems off to get the maximum out of the car. Do what you feel is your skill level, yet I will imagine at some point you will find the car itself, will telegraph almost all it's tendencies on the track to you.
 
481
426
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
I am with @stevbd on this one. The nannies are a good thing when you are just starting out and learning how to drive on track. Kona.coyote5.0 did the natural thing. He reduced the nannies when he noticed they were affecting him in a negative way. He probably wasn't ready to go full off as evidenced by the spin, but you don't know until you try.

I run full off like @Vettel-ish and @Bill Pemberton and I understand what they are saying, but I am not new to track driving. This was only Kona's 3rd track event. You guys have a lot of track experience, but try to remember back to your 3rd track event ever. Did you run the nannies, if they were available?
 
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Did you get to a point where you could keep it from turning on before trying to go full off? .
Oh definitely. I often went full days and weekends without triggering it if I was driving smoothly.

But in fairness to @Bill Pemberton's point, at the time I was usually on 275 mm MPSS, so modest total grip. With those tires I could play with the car a lot and really slide it around a good bit and sport mode would rarely jump in unless you really got sloppy. But when I moved to more grippy 305 square 200tw and 100tw tires then yes, even in sport mode it did start triggering for no reason mid-corner. I never felt in danger but definitely annoying and I can see how it could be a problem depending on the situation. I think tires have gotten so amazing even in just the last 10 years, I suspect the 2011 Ford engineers just weren't expecting modern levels of track tire grip when they were programming the "sport mode" software for my plain old GT. But I'm not totally sure. Anyhow, I just turn it all off now if I'm running the big sticky tires. If I'm in the rain on my MPSS I will often leave sport mode on and just enjoy my extra safety blanket.

Basically, I guess my attitude is leave it on until you notice it holding you back or causing you problems. And when you are answering that question, be sure to honestly ask yourself: did the system prematurely jump in, trigger for no reason, and slow you down unnecessarily? Or did you maybe screw up?
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,994
6,121
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
I think we are all on the same page essentially , and hopefully we have all helped Kona a little. If nothing else we have given him a few items to think about when on track. As he gets more seat time he can pop back in and give his assessment of how his driving has changed or stayed the same. The best thing about TMO is it gives all of us some ideas to mull over, discuss , and decide what may help us go faster as time goes on. I know I am still learning new things after all these years, and this is a great place to listen to other's views -- frankly the discussions may help others without realizing it.
 
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I can only speak to the S550 platform - but I know in that car, if you're triggering the nannies in the car's "track mode," you're overdriving the car. There will be a few instances where the nannies get in the way (like trying to put power down over the kerbing), but I'd argue you have to be very, very advanced to be outdriving what the nannies in track mode can do. I actually accelerated my own driver development using the TC light coming on as feedback that I am either overdriving the car or not making corrections fast enough. It's worked very well for me. I'm now at the point where I need to turn it off because it's getting in the way - but that moment was much further into my driver development than I would have realized if I hadn't found the right coach early on.

As to @Kona.coyote5.0 's specific experience, I know I've had moments where I learned to lean on the nannies to keep the car in control when I am pushing too hard through off camber corners and I was having some close calls once I turned them off.
 
23
32
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Canton, Michigan
From my experience, do nothing else to the car to make it faster. Make yourself faster by setting up a lap timer/data acquisition and getting lap times. First you're going to need lap times to be consistent, then you can start playing around with the car in spots where you're comfortable modulating brakes/throttle/steering. I'm not saying drift it around a corner (excessive slip is slow) but maybe try not to steer as much in some turns, or try to get on the throttle a little bit earlier and seeing if that improves anything in the data.

One thing I've noticed is the more i modify my car, the higher the likelihood that something that wasn't originally the weakest link, becomes exactly that. I find it best being able to maximize a track day by getting my car reliable, having a game plan for what I want to accomplish (can be anything from being able to find a good tire pressure, be consistent with lap times throughout the day, turn traction control off and try to match my lap times from when they were on, etc.) and to at least make a new friend. Bonus if they're faster than me and willing to share data.

Although I'm a tier 3 driver in Ford land, i know there are other more experienced and knowledgeable spots where I can find new tidbits of information such as Speed secrets podcast by Ross Bentley, the "to win" books by Carroll Smith (who used to engineer race winning cars with Carroll Shelby) and other driver training books and other media. My favorite go to is the library apps where I can check out these and other books from the comfort of my couch and figure out what to do next on either the car or myself.

I wouldn't personally get a tune since that just makes the car faster without driver improvement. I don't have any experience with the person you're working with or their tunes, but it seems to me going away from the factory calibration will decrease durability. It'll probably be fun, but then you'd be going down a rabbit hole of looking for more power. I've done that and had minimal gains of decreased lap times compared to swapping to grippier tires.

You might think this to be good advice, or maybe you want to mod the car because that's part of the fun (hell, I think it is too!). At the end of the day, as long as you're having fun and supporting the sport, there's no wrong answer in my books.
 

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