Pete Epple Technical Editor
April 5, 2010
Photos By: Marc Christ, Justin Cesler

As an associate editor of what I feel is the greatest car magazine available today, I am afforded the luxury to go racing on an almost weekly basis. Even though parts are swapped constantly and testing happens all the time, track and weather conditions can change greatly between test sessions, making inconsistent results.

At a recent editorial meeting, I threw out the idea to install a street/strip suspension and test it. Although we've done this before, this would be a track-side install. Even though I made much more work for myself, being able to perform a true A/B test with little variation in conditions was something I really wanted to try out. Over the past few months, we've made a few upgrades to Blow-By Racing's (BBR) '10 Mustang GT. With horsepower numbers well above stock, this Pony would be the perfect candidate for our trackside suspension swap.

Once our track day was set, the MM&FF staff sat down with the crew from BBR to layout our plan of attack. We wanted to add components that would give this Stang the flexibility to get all of the newfound power to the track efficiently, yet be comfortable enough to serve as daily transportation

Being that our test Pony has already produced respectable numbers on the strip with a completely stock suspension, it was time to see if further improvements could be made. BMR Suspension (Thonotosassa, Florida) manufactures and sells a full line of suspension components for the S197 that are designed for extreme street performance. When the decision was made to upgrade the Stang's suspension, BMR was a perfect fit.

"When you start throwing suspension parts at a basically stock Mustang, it doesn't always make you faster," explains Lee Spicher of BMR Suspension. "The improvements we (BMR) make will greatly raise consistency. The adjustability of BMR's suspension components also allow for a much more aggressive suspension setup than the stock parts." This is especially important for poor track or street conditions.

Prior to hitting the strip, the crew at BBR installed a few components that couldn't be done easily at the track. BMR's boxed subframe connectors will add all of the rigidity this Pony will ever need, but welding them in is not something easily done on jackstands in the pits.

BMR's adjustable upper control arm and mount were also installed prior to our track day. The adjustable piece is made of 15/8-inch tubing, with 0.120-inch-wall thickness, which is much stronger than the stock stamped-steel link used from the factory. BMR's upper control arm mount allows us to raise or lower the third-link mounting point to fine-tune the rear suspension geometry.

At The Track
Our day started with the '10 GT in stock trim and the stock 19-inch wheels on all four corners. The combination of a cold track (45 degrees in the morning) and stock street tires is not a recipe for traction. With a very mild launch and easy shifts, the GT spun its way to a best baseline run of 13.63 at just over 106 mph, with a 60-foot time of 2.28 seconds.

As we watched the car dance through Second gear for the first three runs (read massive spin), we hoped for a big improvement with better rolling stock. We swapped the stocks wheels and tires for a set of "big and littles" from Race Star Industries. The polished DragStars checked in at 15x3.75 up front and were wrapped in 26x4.5 Moroso DS2 rubber, with 15x8s in the rear using 275/50-15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials to claw at the track.

After a healthy burnout to bring the drag radials up to temperature, our test pilot was able to get much more aggressive on the launch. The benefit of sticky meats was apparent right from the hit, as the Pony bogged on the first launch, running a 13.91-second pass at 107 mph. With the launch rpm adjusted, the next passed yielded a much-improved 2.04-second 60-foot time, which lead to a 13.10-second timeslip at over 108 mph. The backup pass netted us a quicker 12.82-second e.t. at a similar 108 mph. Then it was time to tear down.

With the '10 resting comfortably on the tallest jackstands we could find, Chris Jones of BBR went to work unbolting the rear suspension. The first pieces to go were the stock lower control arms.

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