Mustang Racing Is Back
During Ford Racing's performance-parts development program for the '05 Mustang, engineers saw the opportunity to investigate a race version of the new car. The result could be a factory-supported Mustang race program. These photos were taken during the first prototype shakedown at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca to test the car's limits.
The graphics on this prototype should seem familiar to Shelby Mustang fans. The value of using the traditional white and blue coloration has not been lost on the Ford faithful. Rumors have circulated for quite some time that a Shelby version of the new Mustang is in the works, supposedly confirmed by a host of insiders. Now if they could just cut that same deal to build Hertz GT350s like back in 1966.
Goes Undefeated in 2004 ALMS Racing
If this season is any indication, next year is gonna be great. The Corvette C5-R race team went undefeated in 2004, beating challenges from Ferrari, Saleen, and the Dodge Viper camps and taking the top prize in the American Le Mans Series class competition. The two-car team of Pratt & Miller (and supported by General Motors) won everything there was to win last season.
For 2005, the new-bodied C6-R Corvettes will roll out, the first challenge coming at the Sebring 12-hour competition. From insider reports, the new C6-Rs are about 0.10- to 0.20- second quicker than the C5-Rs at that track. Knowing the Ferrari guys don't like losing, we expect a bigger, stronger effort from them during the new year too.
We're also happy to report that the Cadillac CTS-V racing team did well in 2004 with Max Angelilli finishing seventh in the final standings. Two other Cadillac CTS-Vs finished 17th and 22nd overall. More impressive was the race for the Manufacturer's title with Cadillac missing the top honors by only three points.
Some gearheads wrench, Donnie Wyldes Jr. whittles. What began on a whim in 1990 has sprouted into a complete small-block with a Roots-style blower, and virtually everything is constructed from various types of wood. The only metal components are the fasteners and the valvesprings, and since It's tough to build a birch belt or pine plug wires, these are the only other pieces that didn't grow on trees. His next project: a fullsize Top Fuel engine.
While touring the back lot at Gale Banks Engineering the other day, we spotted his latest project, a new GMC race truck powered by a diesel engine (still in development) with full race running gear and chassis work. It's clear that the owner and builder of the fastest truck in the world, Banks' 222-mph, record-holding Dakota Sidewinder pickup, is back at it again. This time he isn't looking to set records on the salt-this killer, slick-shod GMC diesel pickup is destined for the asphalt. Says Banks, "Our race truck will be a lot faster than the Craftsman race series trucks. In terms of high-speed performance, it won't even be close."
Craftsman Truck racing has brought new focus to truck competition. Gale Banks has made a business of improving truck performance, especially those powered by diesel engines. Involved with the legendary turbocharged, Corvette-eating GMC Syclone pickups from the early '90s, Banks and trucks go together well.
Musclear of the Month
'71 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 454
Luxury and Big-Block PerformanceOver the years, the Monte Carlo has seen various rebirths and reiterations, all based on Chevy's need to market a midsized performance sedan for the masses. A variety of NASCAR-inspired shapes have gone into making the nameplate a recognized performance symbol with the general public.
But the first Monte Carlo, while sporting a striking profile back in 1970, wasn't the performance machine Chevy fans longed for. Chevy apparently got the memo and added performance to the list of features in 1971. The base 350ci engine remained, but more than 3,500 smart buyers stepped up for the 454ci LS5 option. Chevy rated the engine at 360 hp; in testing, the heavy Monte made 7.7-second 0-to-60-mph runs. In addition, the bigger engine enjoyed higher-rate front and rear springs and other performance suspension upgrades to bolster handling and overall ride quality.
The Holy Grail of '71 Monte Carlos is the special-order LS6 model. Though not on the order form, 10 of these 450hp machines, several with four-speed transmissions, cruised out of the factory. While no performance figures were ever published for them, we bet that extra 90 hp helped knock a few ticks off that 7.7-second timing.
This is what started the Monte Carlo performance legend.
Edelbrock Exhibit Opens at NHRA Museum
These days, the Edelbrock name is virtually synonymous with power and performance. How it came to be that way is the focus of "Edelbrock: A Performance Legacy," a special display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona. Running through February 14, the exhibit features cars, engines, archival photographs, and memorabilia tracing the history of the Edelbrock family's contributions to the evolution of speed equipment.
The exhibit includes Vic Edelbrock Sr.'s original '32 Ford roadster, the car he used to develop speed parts for the flathead Ford V-8. At the exhibit's opening, Vic Edelbrock Jr. spoke of how other Southern California dry lakes racers, who were setting records in hopped-up four-bangers, told his dad the Ford V-8 would "never work as a performance engine." That challenge merely solidified Edelbrock's resolve to prove the flattie's mettle, which he did for years to come.
Among the other vehicles in the display are the record-setting Edelbrock-powered So-Cal Speed Shop belly tanker, the No. 27 Kurtis Kraft midget racer (the first car to use nitromethane in competition), and the Hot Rod '67 Camaro project car. This was the first Camaro to arrive in California, Edelbrock said, and the ensuing editorial exposure "sold a helluva lot of manifolds for us." Originally slated to be crushed after the magazine project ran its course, the Camaro was rescued by then-HRM-staffer Jim McFarland, who later sold it to Edelbrock.
Mid America Motorworks' Corvette Funfest
Corvette Funfest 2004, Mid America Motorworks' annual customer appreciation party, shattered all previous participation records. The three-day September Funfest in Effingham, Illinois, drew 10,692 Corvettes of every year and color and about 45,000 attendees.
"We extended Funfest to a three-day party this year because we wanted to do more for our customers," says Mike Yager, president of Mid America Motorworks. "The response was amazing-beyond what we expected."
Mid America Motorworks recently acquired 90 acres of land adjacent to the company headquarters and put it to good use handling the large number of attendees and exhibitors.
"We had more displays, more vendors, more seminars, more of everything this year," says Yager.
To find out what's in store for the 2005 Funfest, September 16-18, go to www.madvet.com.
The Life of a Tire at Le Mans
By the time you read this, the Le Mans 24-Hours Race for 2004 will be history, but our friends at Michelin provided us with some interesting numbers generated by the prototype cars. Consider that all these g numbers are created and maintained by the four contact patches between the tires and the track.
Top speed: About 201 mph before the chicanes.Maximum lateral g-forces: A peak of 3 g's before "Indy," and a sustained 2.8 g's through the "Virages Porsche" corner.Maximum longitudinal g-forces: 2.5 g's, under braking for the chicanes.Contact patch: At 201 mph, each part of the tread of a 25.5-inch-tall tire hits the ground 44 times per second. Each part of the same tire hits the ground 6,684 times during a complete lap of the 8.48-mile circuit.
To celebrate 20 years of contribution to the future of the automotive industry, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) awarded a record $110,000 in scholarships. Seventy-five students preparing for automotive industry careers received individual awards of up to $4,000.
The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, established in 1984, has supplied over 400 students with more than $500,000 in scholarship awards over the past two decades. Students from 21 states benefited this year, with academic course work ranging from economics and marketing to diesel technology.
To qualify, all students must have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average and be enrolled in an accredited university, college, or proprietary program. Sophomores in two-year universities or colleges, and students in vocational or technical schools received $1,000. Graduates and undergraduates with at least a junior standing at a four-year school received $2,000 to $4,000.
For a complete list of the 2004 scholarship winners, log onto www.sema.org/scholarship.