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2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Back at the track!



A few weeks ago, I took my car - a 2012 Mustang Boss 302 - to the track for the first time this summer. Head to 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Doing what it does best! to find out what modifications I made and how I liked it last summer, stock, and how I like it so far this summer after modifications!

This time, I'm back at the track with the local BMW club - BMW Club Atlantic - for a high performance driving school (HPDS) that I attend annually. The school is arranged twice a year and each time, it runs for an entire weekend. Each day, there are 2 sessions of slaloms and accident avoidance exercises and 2 lapping sessions for a total of 8 sessions on the track. Classroom sessions that go for 15 to 30 minutes run between each track session where vehicle dynamics and track etiquette are discussed. It is a very comprehensive school and between the 1-on-1 instructor time and classroom sessions, there's a lot to be learned for those who are trying to improve. If you're looking to get into racing, it won't be enough because they don't teach the fastest lines or brake points but it is a very good place to start. As one of the senior instructors put it: "We don't teach you how to play hockey. We teach you how to skate." Yes, we are Canadian! Where else could you find a hockey analogy on a race track?

Now back to the car. I have made no additional modifications. The engine is still stock, with the exception of one reliability modification, an oil catch can. I swapped the stock clutch-based limited slip differential with a Ford Racing Torsen unit that has a torque bias ratio of 2.7 - the same one that comes stock on the Boss 302 Laguna Seca. The stock pan hard bar is gone in favour of a Fays2 Watt's link to better control rear axle movement. Rounding off the modifications are lightweight, rotary forged 18" x 9.5" TSW Nurburgring wheels wrapped in 285/35 rubber at all four corners that replace the stock 19" x 9" front wheels and 19" x 9.5" rear wheels (stock tire sizes are 255/40 front and 285/35 rear).

The improved agility is even more noticeable at the BMW club event because it includes some slalom exercises before track sessions. Many find the slalom exercises boring and some even consider it to be a waste of time. I actually like the slalom sessions because, over time, they helped me be more smooth and precise with my right foot and throttle application.



Throughout the weekend, transitions became smoother and apexes were more seldom missed. That's one of the benefits of continuing to go to a school after getting the basics. I find that progress at a track day is slower than progress at a HPDS. The presence of a second set of eyes - your instructor - accelerates the learning curve, especially considering that they're more experienced than you are and often with racing experience. One thing I have been struggling with, though, is the entry of corner 2. By the end of the front straight between, corner 11 and corner 1, you're either in 3rd or 4th gear, depending on the car. Corner 1 can be taken in 4 or 3, again depending on the car. The only constant is that corner 2 is taken in 2nd gear. I don't remember talking to anyone who takes corner 2 in 1st gear or anything higher than gear 2 (unless it's a cool down lap). I knew I didn't have the smoothest heel-and-toe downshift but I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason why. My instructor could, though.

He noticed that my downshift is done in 2 steps: step 1 is clutch pedal down and throttle blip and step 2 is moving the shifter. He said I should try making it all a 1 step event. I tried that and it helped make the downshift much smoother, helping the car be more settled going into the corner. I don't know if that will work for everyone but it certainly worked for me.

One issue came up on the track, though. A few times, steering weight changed significantly as if power steering stopped working and it felt like the steering wheel was being tugged in the opposite direction. When the issue came up, it lasted for less than a second. At first I thought that stability control may not be full defeat-able, although it should be on the Boss 302. I thought it may be trying to correct my steering angle or heavily applying the brakes on one side but whenever it happened, there was no loss of traction so stability control shouldn't even intervene. Plus, I've had stability control kick in before in different cars and it did not feel that way. I was finally assured that it was a problem when "Service AdvanceTrac" came on. I will get the car checked at the dealership as soon as I'm back.

Aside from that minor hiccup, the car held itself on the track like a champ, as usual. Loads of fun and grin-inducing attitude. Hopefully, the issue will be fixed before the next lapping day on July 1st. Check back for more updates!


Comments

  1. You’re getting off to a good start. Disappointing that your car had to encounter a problem. But in my opinion, it’s an advantage for you. Since you found out the problem immediately, you were able to fix the problem by sending it to the repair center. I hope it works well now! -- Joellen Cirilo @ YoungsCollision.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joellen. It turned out to not be a malfunction - more about that in the post about the car.

      Delete

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