Dearborn Heights, Michigan
11.25 @ 119 MPH
There is no disputing Livernois Motorsport's ability to make big power. Rick LeBlanc handles the company's advertising and marketing needs, and from time to time, he gets to come to the track. LeBlanc loaded Livernois' 2011 GT up and headed to E-town to show off its newest naturally aspirated combination.
The stock engine was pulled and stripped before being reassembled with new Livernois go-fast goodies. The stock crankshaft was reused with a set of Livernois Motorsports/Manley H-beam connecting rods and Livernois Motorsports/Diamond pistons, which are designed to raise compression to 12:1. The stock cylinder heads received Livernois' Stage 1 CNC port work, and the stock camshafts were reused. The combination was topped off with a prototype intake manifold with a Cobra Jet cold-air intake system and 123mm mass air housing. The engine exhales through Stainless Works exhaust consisting of long-tube headers, X-style midpipe, and axle-back exhaust. Power is transferred to the stock six-speed automatic transmission through a Circle D 4,000-stall torque converter, and 4.10 gears have been added to help acceleration.
"The car has nearly 90 quarter-mile test passes on it," explains LeBlanc. "This new engine combination was installed and tuned only a few days before the shootout. For such a new combination, we are very happy with how it ran!"
The Performance White GT rolled into the burnout box, and LeBlanc heated the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials and headed to the line. When he brought the revs up and traded feet, the car was gone in a flash. The first run netted LeBlanc a solid start to the day with a 12.67 at 96 mph. His next three trips down the quarter-mile showed an improvement of nearly a second and a half as the car bolted to an 11.29 followed by an 11.32 and another 11.29, all at 118 mph.
After giving the car a little extra time to cool, LeBlanc brought the car back to the starting line. The cooler engine temp paid off as LeBlanc rocket down the track to an 11.25 at 119 mph to take the quickest spot in the group of naturally aspirated 2011 Mustang GTs.
Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania
11.35 @ 118 MPH
The Evolution Performance team has spent equal amounts of time testing in N/A trim as they have with different power-adder applications. The Grabber Blue GT, like the Kona Blue racecar, has served as an R&D tool for the Aston, Pennsylvania-based performance shop. Evolution's N/A Mustang belongs to Fred Cook and was piloted by Nelson Whitlock.
With only 4,200 miles on the odometer, Cook and Whitlock added a Steeda cold-air intake with a 95mm mass air housing to help the 5.0-liter breath a little deeper. The Four-Valve exhales through a set of American Racing Headers headers and X-style midpipe, with a Borla after-cat exhaust system completing the exhaust. Jon Lund, who was on-hand to make changes to both Evolution Performance cars at the track, handled the calibration. The stock torque converter was swapped for a 4,200-stall version from Circle D, and 4.30 rear gears turn an Eaton TrueTrac differential, which distributes power to both wheels.
Coming into the shootout, Cook's Grabber Blue GT made 400 rwhp and 390 lb-ft of torque, and until this point, had run a best e.t. of 11.50 at 122 mph. With Whitlock behind the wheel, the first pass down the famed strip at E-town netted a new best of 11.42 at 118 mph. After a few adjustments, Whitlock headed out for his next pass, which resulted in the first of two 11.35-second passes, both at 118 mph. After two more attempts, Whitlock laid down an 11.41 and an 11.43, both at 117 mph, to finish off an impressively consistent day.