The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Track Progress & Goals



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Friday, 19 September 2014

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Track Progress & Goals




I haven't been back to a time attack event since June of last summer (Post: What is the best mod to cut down lap times?) so I haven't been able to keep track of my laps and see if I'm moving in the right direction. That is, until a few weeks ago. I finally found a good track app for lap times, Track Addict, so I was able to start recording. It's free, has great recording features and even includes our local, humble track, Atlantic Motorsport Park. The app stores up to three sessions at a time. A session is defined by when you start recording to when you stop recording or come to a stop, not a single lap so it's great. There is a pro version which removes the three-session limit and I imagine it brings additional features but it obviously isn't free. I have been very satisfied with the free version so I haven't upgraded yet.


Now let's get to the times. My previous best-time (last year) at our local track was 1:25.2 which was done on this setup:

  • TracKey
  • OEM Torsen diff
  • Fays2 Watts Link set to 1 point up from neutral
  • 285/35/18 Continental ExtremeContact DW tires on 18" x 9.5" TSW Nurburgring wheels at all four corners
  • Front shocks set to 5 and rears set to 3
  • Other mods that more or less did not affect lap times are a catch can and removed side baffles


I believed (and still do) that the car could do 1:20-1:21 on the above setup but I had a lot of seat time to get close to that. I did change a few things though and up until two week, my best this year has been 1:25.0 on this setup:

  • TracKey
  • OEM Torsen diff
  • Fays2 Watts Link set to neutral
  • Front tires: 265/35/18 and rear tires: 285/35/18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on 18" x 9.5" TSW Nurburgring wheels
  • Front shocks set to 5 and rears set to 3
  • FRPP Boss 302R Steering Rack (should only affect lap times by giving me more information about what the tires are doing but no mechanical advantage)
  • Saleen S281 front grille: this was shown to be worth about a 10 deg F drop in coolant temperature on the street (Post: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Saleen grille vs Stock grille) so it should be more at the track due to the bigger difference between engine and ambient temperatures. How much hp, if any, is that worth? I don't know but I would imagine it should be something.) 
  • Other mods that more or less did not affect lap times are a catch can, removed side baffles, GT500 rear spoiler with the SVT Gurney flap (probably worth very little additional downforce at very high speeds and nothing at our local track which is short and tight).


I knew I could go quicker even without mods or changes because I had plenty of seat time since the 1:25.2 time and better tires so 1:25.0 wasn't good enough. I went back to the track two Saturdays ago and was on a mission to find at least a couple of seconds. For starters, I asked a friend of mine who has a 2013 Boss 302 on the same Michelin tires but in stock sizes on stock wheels and otherwise stock to take me out in his car to see a few laps. He is an instructor at local HPDE events and used to race so he knows the track and has a lot of experience. His lines were almost bang on the same lines I was taking but braking points were a little later, corner speeds were higher and throttle roll-in was much more aggressive.

I went back in my car and started going at it. Within a few laps, I was running 1:23.x in moderate traffic and on one mostly traffic free lap, I got a 1:22.0. I was VERY happy as I didn't expect to lose a whole 3 seconds in one day (given that I already know the track, not a complete novice and it's a short track). I should be able to do 1:21.x with a complete clean lap and sub 1:20 with more seat time. A lot of the credit, though, goes to the tires. There is a lot more grip than the Continentals or the stock Pirellis. I left the TC on to compare and not once did it have to intervene despite being a lot more aggressive with throttle roll-in. My friend thought the same about them in comparison to the Pirellis.

Another friend of mine on the same day could only go 1:24.x on the stock Pirelli's in a 2012 Boss 302 (using the same track app). He was experimenting with springs though so that may have hurt him. He has Steeda springs in the front (I believe Boss 302 specific, not sure though) but recently went back to stock springs in the rear and stock UCA. His other mods are Steeda billet rear LCA, AE Alum driveshaft, FRPP brake ducts and SS brake lines. He had the car longer than me and has more track experience overall so I believe the difference is all down to the tires.

My goal is matching or beating the track record for a street car which right now is set at 1:14.x in a track prepped and tuned 2012 Nissan GT-R. I'm not sure what is all done to it though. I have rear LCA arms ordered and in transit which I am hoping would be worth a few tenths due to better traction out of corners. With those and more seat time, I hope to be 1:18.x on street tires and 1:16.x on DOT track tires. After that, I'll be scrambling for modifications to add up 2 seconds on such a short track. I will start with Shocks/struts, springs and CC plates and go from there. I also have plans for weight saving modifications to get the car to high 3,4xx lb in street trim.

Now all of this is going to cost plenty of money so here is hoping some vendors or manufacturers are reading this. Any sponsorships in the form of upgrades, wear items like brake pads, fluids, etc or discounts would be greatly appreciated. Tires especially are a huge cost (+Discount Tire??). The car is also daily driven so it won't just be seen at the track, it will be a moving billboard.

I will be going back to the track tomorrow and I hope to do a 1:21.x or break into 1:20.x on a very clean lap. I still have a big mountain to climb in order to get into mid 1-minute teens, even on track tires. I think I will hold off a set of dedicated wheels and track tires until I get a lap under 1:20 or close. Once that happens, I will also start going to official Time Attacks so that the lap times are official.

On a different note, I ran into a gentleman who I knew through work. He recently picked up a 997 911 Carrera and he was caught off guard at the performance of my and my friends' Boss 302's. He was surprised he "had to let all of us pass him" (we have point-by passing only at our track) and said they just "stuck to the road". He asked me what the differences were between a Boss 302 and a regular GT and that said it's a great car. I obviously agree.

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