I've never been completely blown away by a car before-on track or off, but behind the wheel of this Mustang, I was feeling the automotive bliss that takes me to another dimension. A near-perfect blend of handling and braking, combined with the right amount of power, instilled me with confidence as a driver, and as I pushed closer to the edge of my skils, I realized I was nowhere near the limit of the machine. That's how a racecar should be described, right? Well, this is a streetcar!
For 25 years, Kenny Brown has been building and racing Mustangs, and it all began with the Fox-body. After sweeping the '87 Escort Endurance Series with Steve Saleen and his Mustangs, Brown was ready for a break, but the Mustang world wanted more. When enthusiasts and racers began showing up looking for Brown to work his magic, Kenny Brown's Advanced Geometry Suspension (AGS) systems was what they got.
The success of the AGS systems continued as the Mustang transformed from the Fox-body to the SN-95 to the New Edge, and though there were no significant changes to the factory suspension between '79 and '04 (less the IRS), Brown's capacity to increase the Mustang's handling abilities only improved.
When the S197 chassis was released, the Mustang's all-new suspension gave Brown a chance revamp his AGS system and offer owners a new level of balance and control. When he needed a way to showcase his newest and most advanced suspension system, the CSR-69 was born.
Built for the '05 SEMA show, the CSR-69 (Club Sport Racer) is truly a unique ride. The first thing that grabs your attention is '60s-era fastback look. This one-off body kit changes the entire appearance and attitude of the car, but it's extremely functional. The widened front and rear fenders allow for larger wheel and tire combinations, and increased traction on the street and on-track.
Though this over-the-top body kit may steal the show at first glance, it's what you don't see that's most impressive. The entire suspension has been replaced with Brown's AGS-4.0 suspension system. To outline every part could take a full issue by itself, so here are the highlights. The chassis has been stiffened with KB's strut tower brace, lower chassis load brace, jacking rails, and Super Street cage. The AGS-4.0 suspension includes a tubular K-member with revised geometry, front control arms, adjustable coil-over struts, adjustable spring perches, and high-rate spring. Impressed? That's just the front!
The rear has been treated to adjustable Pro-Comp lower control arms, K-link adjustable upper control arm, adjustable spring perches, Pro Comp adjustable Panhard bar, high-rate springs, and sport shocks. The car sits on lightweight three-piece ZX3R wheels from Forgeline wrapped in Pirelli PZero Corsa R-compound rubber in all four corners. The wide-body kit allows for 295/30R18s up front and 315/30R18s out back. Check out the website at www.kennybrown.com for more info on the specific suspension components.
Although a list of parts like this can be overwhelming, it isn't hard to wrap your head around how well this car performs. Now before you get the idea that this is some special Mustang that cannot be reproduced, these are all off-the-shelf parts aside from the body kit. Brown can also custom tailor and build a CSR/GT-4 package to your specifications, or you can buy the parts and do it yourself.
"It's not about the parts," Brown exclaimed. "It's about the experience! We take the drama out of driving a Mustang." We wanted a chance to experience the CSR-69 for ourselves so we made the trip to Virginia International Raceway in May of 2009 to get behind the wheel (Years of Experience, Nov. '09).
Getting behind the wheel of someone else's car can be stressful. Add the fact that said car has a one-of-one body kit, and it's very easy to let your nerves get the best of you. Fortunately, Brown's CSR-69 is the most amazing car I've driven.
When we first headed out on track, we took it easy to bring the tires up to temperature. After a few laps, we began to pick up speed and the car never faltered. Transitions from throttle to brake and back to throttle were amazingly smooth and never seemed to upset the car.
One of the most impressive aspects of the CSR-69 is its braking capability. The Brembo binder performed flawlessly, even after over an hour on track, and as I learned the proper way to set the car going into a corner, I was able to go deeper and faster into each turn as I became more comfortable behind the wheel.
Tip-in throttle response from the naturally aspirated Three-Valve made accelerating off the corners one of the most exciting aspects of driving the car. The blend of amazing mechanical grip coupled with the Pirelli R-compound tires inspired levels of confidence I didn't know I had. By the middle of the weekend, I was outrunning the majority of the Z06 Corvettes in attendance.
The CSR-69's near-full interior, comfortable seats, and familiar appointments remind you that this isn't a racecar. Its surefootedness on track leaves you feeling incredibly connected to not only the road, but also the car itself. The car reacts instantly to steering, throttle, and brake inputs, and at no point do you feel even the slightest loss of control. Still not convinced? What if I told you the car was in full street trim?
"The Club Sport Racer is a great track day car," Kenny tells us. "We designed it so you can drive it to the track, race it, and drive it home. The CSR-69 wears GT-4 badges. GT-4 is the European FIA designation and the class is production-based cars with OE suspension architecture."
With this level of handling, grip, and power, it's no surprise the CSR-69 is equally dominant on the street and the track.