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Track Tour: Laguna Seca

Just got done with today's morning session. First time at Laguna, so no direct comparison on this track for me.
However, first impressions were extremely favorable. I was lucky to drive an R for 3 laps (half the cars were 350's with TP). First, the clutch pedal effort is very light and linear -- took a few shifts to get the engagement point right, but will be a lot less effort than the Boss, especially those with aftermarket race cutch setups. Second the useful torque range is huge; 3,500 pretty much all the way to 8,250. I really only needed to downshift to 2nd in the corners when behind traffic. Third, the steering felt very precise, apparently the cars will come with documented recommended optimum Toe and Camber settings for Track. Fourth the Brakes are spectacular, probably aided by the wide, sticky R tires. Finally, the level of mechanical grip was really very impressive.

Got to ride with Gunnar (from Miller) in a TP car for a great hot lap. Car was very balanced with controllable throttle oversteer at the limit. Braking performance was fantastic.

His view is that The TP car is about 3 seconds faster than the Boss and that the R is worth another 2 (probably mostly tires and a bit of aero on faster tracks)....
 
I had a great time yesterday. I drove a track pack car and got 3 laps or technically 2 3/4. The clutch was noticeably lighter than the boss and I really liked shift light on the windshield. As mentioned the brakes are incredible and the motor makes so much usable torque. I was really impressed with the grip the car had and how composed it felt. The cars sounded great and the R's even more so.
 
great to meet all the mustang enthusiasts out there today. I was REALLY impressed with the Ford crew...those guys have serious passion and went out their way, every step of the way, to make you feel welcome. Those guys have passion for these cars...bridging history with modern tech. I very much appreciated the way they've approached their roles. Those guys work their asses off...and they love what they do. Candidly, I come away envious.

Context: I drove the 'R' and right-seated in the 'R'

It's still hard to get my head around the car. And even harder to communicate what it's all about. It's about a lot of stuff...and everything works in such harmony. It was pretty surreal. The car was so approachable, easy to engage with, and...yet...so stinky fast. Composed, but not distant....you felt engaged, but you weren't working hard.

Old Mustangs, you drove the rear of the car. If you could get that right, you'd be fast. If you didn't, trouble. This car feels a lot more...almost entirely...about the front end of the car. The rear kind of disappears...in a good way. Granted, I had it in Sport mode (because they insisted)...but even when right-seating with Gunnar (who was in Track mode), you could feel the balance. It was really precise up front...not twitchy, not dull....I found myself able to just focus on steering / setting up lines and never once needing to be concerned about the rear end. Power was not overwhelming feeling, but you were never wanting of more power. So the rear just did what it was supposed to do...in a pleasantly-unremarkable way.

The brakes: strong, for sure. really strong. fade-free? I hope. Knowing what we know about how they were engineered, I'm VERY optimistic. Which makes me really happy. My driving style relies heavily on braking...I didn't get a great sense of how well they modulate / how well you can rotate the car with trail-braking, but given what I could feel of the brakes, I'm optimistic. (note: there are two fairly-well-known lines through the double apex T2 at LS...one is to truly double-apex it...making a 'V' and using the brakes hard on entry then using some trail braking to get the car to rotate in between apex 1 and apex 2. The other is to swing wide at corner-entry (a good strategy if you're racing with lots of cars on track because it usually backs up on the inside line) and then tightening it up for the second. The latter line is often referred to as the 'high-horsepower' line. The double apex line is typically reserved for the more-nimble cars.
I'll say that the car felt equally at home on both lines.

Other notes:
- Even though I'd seen the car in person (and right-seated) at the historics, it continues to impress in person, visually, It cuts a mean groove sitting still. And, in motion, when you combine the sound, the stance, the vibe...it really is a special car.
 
also, stealth grey Focus RS in attendance, as well as a blue supercab (new) raptor. I want both. I'm already 'in line' for both...now gotta figure out how to rationalize / afford them. ;-)
 
That was fun and it was nice to meet a few more members. The new car is amazing and Ford really did a nice job of engineering a lot of neat little tricks into it. The Domestic muscle/sports car race just got pushed into overdrive! Photos from today's event. Grant left as soon as the event ended and didn't make the photo but he was there!

Matt @mprichar87
Nick @Black Boss
Mike @Polaristxguy
me
George @najay
John @fuhrius

IMG_6372_zpswqptksur.jpg

Opening comments from Steve Ling

IMG_6334_zpsvrkhfwas.jpg

Out on track

IMG_6336_zpsdwehvser.jpg

About as close as I've seen to what I'm ordering, no stripes or black roof, and what Ron ordered although his is an R

IMG_6350_zps1ndexxx0.jpg

And the SWAG. I opened it up when I got home and to my surprise it's metal not plastic. I'm starting a collection.

IMG_6374_zpsjp2enofz.jpg
 

ufnavy06

Some say he has a tattoo of his face on his face.
I actually did swing by in the afternoon, about 3 or so and chatted it with some of the guys. Can't reiterate what Fuhrius said about those guys. They still allowed me to walk around and take pictures/video. I only swung by because the reviews of the car started popping up and all they were talking about was that god-awful engine noise. So I absolutely had to hear how bad it was in person, with no other cars on a track but it.

It's pretty bad. ;)

That RS was a slick looking car, especially with those blue accents.
 

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
VooDooBOSS said:
Grant left as soon as the event ended and didn't make the photo but he was there!

False, and True. ;) I was one of the last Boss/Mustang group to leave and put my card holder in the Boss and went to eat a bit in the garage. Ended up chatting with a few people from the 'other brand' group before heading out. Thanks again for the tip to ride with Gunnar. 8) Was like re-living Track Attack, but better!

Anyway, it was great seeing and meeting everyone that I did...I'm just sorry I failed to meet all the BMO regulars in attendance. I thought I'd have a chance to meet everyone before registration...if not for that AM traffic.

My impression of the car: AWESOME. Kind of like the best parts of the Boss and Terminator. Almost toooo easy to drive. Brakes were a bit touchy/sensitive to me...I'd need some adjusting when switching between cars. Got a nice compliment on my heel/toe...and was allowed to use 2/3/4 gears. Spent too much time getting used to the brakes...really could have used one more full lap!

Thanks to Ford Performance for the experience and hosting a great event!
 
one thing to add, objectively, for those who have to consider whether to go or not, is that > 95% of your time will be listening to talks about the GT350 and other Ford Performance cars, and < 5% driving. We got 3 laps driving. As I said, I enjoyed the social part. The display was cool, but I'd seen it two weeks ago at the historics....just want to give a balanced view for those considering going out of their way to do one. (I was only inconvenienced by an 80 mile drive down the CA coast....so it wasn't much of a sacrifice for me)
 

ufnavy06

Some say he has a tattoo of his face on his face.
On that note, this may be the only chance for many of us to drive one. No dealer will let me drive one so with that in mind it may be worth it. Besides, I love learning more about the car and cars in general.
 
fuhrius said:
one thing to add, objectively, for those who have to consider whether to go or not, is that > 95% of your time will be listening to talks about the GT350 and other Ford Performance cars, and < 5% driving. We got 3 laps driving. As I said, I enjoyed the social part. The display was cool, but I'd seen it two weeks ago at the historics....just want to give a balanced view for those considering going out of their way to do one. (I was only inconvenienced by an 80 mile drive down the CA coast....so it wasn't much of a sacrifice for me)
It was a great event and I'd do it again but frankly I got more out of talking to the engineers two weeks ago at the historics than I did yesterday.

Two additional items:

1. You are allowed to bring guests but they were not allowed to participate in the event. There were several there including one members wife and they could be seen hanging around and taking photos.
2. You are allowed to use your own helmet IF you have Hans posts on your helmet. That was directly from the Ford employee helping with the Simpson Hybrid devices and helmets. He was going to wait for me to go grab mine from my car but I didn't want to lose my place in line so I passed.
 

Grant 302

basic and well known psychic
FireDawg said:
I was there yesterday as well. In the blue group...I really should check in on the forum more often...

Had a great morning. Well worth the 14 hr round-trip drive!

I always bug all the infrequent members and lurkers to check-in or sign up! It was good talking to you.

And you're making me feel a little better about taking only 11.5 hours even with LA traffic on both ends.

ArizonaBOSS said:
Jealous. :) Looks like a great event.

...and I would have liked to get *your* opinion on it...Becauseracecardriver. Hope you get a chance on round 2.
 
Grant was probably driving faster. ;)

Just curious what others thought of the exhaust note compared to a stock Boss with the side pipes opened? While the 350 is certainly louder with the baffle valve open and sounds different does it sound better? From my audio hobby I know being louder can often be perceived as being better so be thoughtful on that one.
 
VooDooBOSS said:
Just curious what others thought of the exhaust note compared to a stock Boss with the side pipes opened? While the 350 is certainly louder with the baffle valve open and sounds different does it sound better? From my audio hobby I know being louder can often be perceived as being better so be thoughtful on that one.

They are certainly different. The Boss in Stock form with open side pipes and Track key has to be the best OEM V8 Muscle car sound bar none. Open up with LT Headers and no Cats and it just gets better....

The 350 with the baffle open sits between the Stock and LT Header configurations in terms of loudness, but it's clearly a different sound. I think Randy Pobst summed it up -- part Muscle car, part Exotic and that goes for the sound too. Some may miss the pure visceral nature of the handling and sound of the Boss, but my first impression is that the GT350 is a fantastic blend of Muscle and sophistication, and I think the sound just complements that.

Both Great, just different. Which is better, time and personal preference will tell......
 
Black Boss said:
They are certainly different. The Boss in Stock form with open side pipes and Track key has to be the best OEM V8 Muscle car sound bar none. Open up with LT Headers and no Cats and it just gets better....

The 350 with the baffle open sits between the Stock and LT Header configurations in terms of loudness, but it's clearly a different sound. I think Randy Pobst summed it up -- part Muscle car, part Exotic and that goes for the sound too. Some may miss the pure visceral nature of the handling and sound of the Boss, but my first impression is that the GT350 is a fantastic blend of Muscle and sophistication, and I think the sound just complements that.

Both Great, just different. Which is better, time and personal preference will tell......

agreed on all fronts.
 

steveespo

Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
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My God did no one clock anyone's lap times? Nick, I can't believe you did not bring the AIM to plug in......
You yentas should be on the promotional DVD... ;) Just kidding, Mega jealous. Well maybe only half kidding about the lap times. Drew is good for a 1:40.2 if I recall.
Steve
 

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