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 spent a week with this yellow screamer hitting all the local hot spots, including Bradenton Motorsports Park, home of the NMRA Spring Break Shootout. Our GT was equipped with the standard rear gear (not 3.73s) along with the Getrag MT-82 six-speed, and we ran the car 100 percent stock—so no drag radials or tune. Heck, we didn’t even cool the engine! Traction was good, but the temperature was 84 degrees with mild humidity—not mineshaft conditions, by any means, but not sweltering either. Based on our experience we were hoping to break in the 12s at about 110 mph.
At Mopars at the Strip, Hot Rod magazine had a similarly optioned automatic Scat Pack Charger, and ran a 12.87/107. That’s quick for any car, let alone one that tops the scale at over two tons. Our curiosity led us to the Dynojet chassis dyno at Kenne-Bell Performance, where we put our 2015 Scat Pack Challenger on the rollers. The press-fleet example put out 434 hp to the wheels, which was 9 hp more than a bone-stock ’14 SRT 392 Challenger tested earlier on the same dyno by Kenne-Bell.
With 2015 being the first year of the Scat Pack package as well as the first year of a styling refresh for the entire Challenger line, we don’t expect much to change for 2016. It would, however, be nice to see a corresponding level of excitement in the color palette next year—currently there’s not a single warm color available in the entire Challenger line-up, with the exception of TorRed.
Of course, the Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. And yes, it also employs variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). Output is 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most-powerful standard V-8 ever in a Camaro.
The 2015 GT is equipped with a Line-Lock, so doing a burnout is pretty easy. Be sure to roll all the way through the water box (or go around it) then stop. Refrain from doing a burnout in the puddle of water and don’t roll too far out of the water box, either, because that would put you in the really sticky stuff, and doing a burnout there can hurt your clutch. You want to be right on the fringe of the puddle, just in front of it.
If you’re wondering just how much you’ll have to pony up for the 2015 Shelby GT, the package starts at $23,995 not including the price of the 2015 Ford Mustang but if you want to upgrade to the optional Ford Performance Racing Parts 2300 TVS Supercharger, you’ll have to start with a 2015 Ford Mustang GT.
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.
Enthusiasts will tell you there are three types of shifting: granny, speed, and power. Simply stated, if you shift aggressively but lift off the gas, you’re speed shifting. If you ram the gears with the throttle held on the mat, you’re powershifting. Granny shifting is not worth talking about. In any case, you want to complete the shift as quickly as possible and with as little flare in the rpm. Timing is everything. Practice makes perfect. If you’re uncomfortable powershifting, try it at a lower rpm until your shifting is seamless.
If you’re looking for a good elapsed time, shallow staging is a must. Prestage, stop, collect yourself, and then carefully inch forward until you barely turn on the Stage beam. I’ve seen lots of racers dump the car in both beams in one motion, which usually results in the car being “deep” staged. Since your time starts when your front tires break the stage beam, shallow staging gives you a running start on the timing system. Shallow versus deep can be worth as much as two-tenths of a second!
In Launch Control mode, follow the prompts to set up your rpm. Once you’ve staged you can put the throttle on the floor and keep it there for launch, or for the entire run if you’re powershifting. When you step off the clutch to launch, the Mustang will do its best to give you maximum acceleration. Using Launch Control still requires a smooth release of the clutch to give you the best performance. While the system allows some spin, excessive spin will cause the computer to apply rear brake and kill a bit of power to regain traction.
Never has this much power been available to performance enthusiasts for so little money. The Hellcat is nice, but if we face facts, very few of us can afford the price of entry at $60K (plus dealer markup). The 392 Scat Pack is available for $20 grand less, and is sold at every Dodge dealership, not just the SRT-approved stores. The Scat Pack name itself is a blast from the past, and along with the Super Bee logo and Scat Pack specific styling elements, evokes the famous four-year run of Scat Pack products put out by Dodge beginning in 1967.
The LT1 engine is available with a standard Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission that borrows the Active Rev Match technology from the Corvette’s seven-speed manual. It “blips” the throttle automatically on downshifts. It’s very effective, but a little disconcerting the first time you use it. The Hydra-Matic 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic is optional.
In short, it was kind of like a chunky guy buying an off-the-rack sport coat because the party was tonight. The Gen 6 Camaro, on the other hand, appears to be precisely tailored and draped over the chest of somebody who’s been taking pilates classes. It’s leaner in both appearance and substance, and it’s one of the few vehicles these days that can boast it’s lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Chevrolet says the overall weight loss is more than 200 pounds. That’s a pretty significant and welcome reduction that will pay dividends in everything from agility to fuel economy.
The Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift. It also has a specific rear spoiler. The hood vents don’t simply provide an exit point for hot underhood air. They funnel air drawn through the grille out and over the car, which improves performance because it prevents the air from being forced under the car, where it can cause lift.