Shelby American is a name that is famous for power and performance in the automotive world thanks to its long historic racing pedigree in the early 1960s to present. Many Mustangs have rolled out of the Shelby’s doors to conquer both the street and track and for 2015, they are pulling out the stops with their all-new S550 Shelby GT Mustang. The S550 Mustang also features a fully independent rear suspension on its entire lineup, which has all corner carving enthusiasts excited.
Some will tell you burnouts are unnecessary when driving on stock tires, we disagree. Why? Because tires pick up pebbles and debris, especially in the pits at a race track. If you try to launch with all this crud on your tires, you’ll probably spin. It’s like running on marbles. You can imagine how that would end. Doing a burnout, even a short one, cleans the tires and offers the best rubber-to-rubber contact.
We’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
Some detractors of the Challenger cite the two-ton mass as a negative, but for many people the practical concerns of a car take precedence, and room for people and things is key. Make no mistake, this is a car you can actually use. The beauty of the Scat Pack it that there really isn’t any downside—the performance and price of Scat Pack can hang with its lighter competitors, giving it the edge in daily use.
Also, keep the rpm steady, as this will keep the Traction-Lok rear engaged properly. Floating the throttle can cause the dreaded one-wheel peel. Once you have the tires clean and warm (you can see if they are smoking by aiming your side mirrors at the rear tires), drive out of the burnout under power. This helps get rid of any residual water, and it’s fun.
When the maximum weight has been transferred to the rear, feed in throttle and let the clutch out smoothly. In the 2015, we used between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm and applied our technique to record a 2.10 60-foot time. No doubt with more practice it could have been whittled down. In fact, you can watch the drag test video at our network site, mustang-360.com.
Production of the 2016 Camaro begins later in the year at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, in Michigan. It’s the home of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, which is appropriate, because that’s the architecture on which the new car is built. Those Caddies have been hailed as dynamic equals or better than German competitors such as the BMW 3-Series, so having that structure as the Camaro’s foundation is as good as it gets.
The time-honored question car enthusiasts often ask is undoubtedly, “What will it run?” Meaning, how quickly can a given car cover the quarter-mile. Drag racing is universal and allows us to compare cars and driver skill no matter where in the world the car is raced. Sure, a great ’Ring time is important, but how many of us will travel to Germany to race? Going quick in the quarter (or eighth-mile) requires a favorable power-to-weight ratio, good traction, and some driver skill. With the 2015 GT, you get 435 ponies and the weight is about 3,750 pounds. So, what will it run and how will the IRS perform on the strip?
The Shelby Baja 700 Raptor is built on the 2011-2014 Ford SVT Raptor. Shelby will only be making 50 of these limited edition trucks at the Shelby American factory in Las Vegas. The magic of the Shelby Baja 700 Raptor starts with a supercharger mounted on the massive 6.2L V8 engine. A bigger throttle body and injectors, plus a more robust heat exchanger help the Shelby Baja 700 push out all that power and scream to life through a Borla exhaust system.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side but that’s to be expected in a car that is setup for the track. Trust us, you wouldn’t want a floaty suspension with 650hp on tap. Speaking of suspension, Shelby has really done their homework with the Shelby GT as we were able to carve around more than a few corners at speed while the car gripped the tarmac and took it like a champ.
The Mustang was a blast at the track. Even famous author Stephen King, who happened to be at the track, came over for a look. He didn’t think it was too scary, so we doubt it will appear in his next book, but you never know. He has written about a car or two in the past.
In addition to giving you the scoop on our quarter-mile times, we figured we would include our driving technique and offer a few tips so you can get the most from your Mustang. This can be applied to any Mustang, old or new, stick or auto. Ultimately, your best times will come once you’ve refined your driving technique and your talent in regards to burnout, staging, launching, and shifting. Let’s begin with the burnout.
We tend to preload the shifter just a bit, then stab the clutch and rip the shifter. We repositioned our hand from a side grip to a top grip to ram the shifter forward for the Two-to-Three exchange. In the new GT you’re shoving it almost directly forward—aim too much to the right and you’ll find Fifth, which happened to us twice. Then, get ready to pull straight back for Fourth. For Fourth, put your elbow away from your body to prevent yanking the shifter into Second gear.