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Open Track Shelby GT at Willow Springs, CA


richardsonr

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I ran my #358 at Willow Springs International Raceway last week end. I had 1100 miles on the odometer (my first road trip was to SAI in Vas Vegas the week before).

 

First of all, for a little background, I have been running Open Track Events at Willow Springs for over 32 years. My first event was in a 1966 Mustang set up for road racing, I have run too many cars to remember from full SCCA A/P 1968 Z28 to my 2004 Corvette Z06. I also club raced sprint go-carts for a couple of years.

 

Last week end I ran the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club Open Track event at the Streets of Willow Springs. I have been one of the promoters of our club event for over 13 years and one of our driving instructors. LASAAC runs the 1.8 miles course.

 

First of all, I was very pleased with the performance and handling of the car. I wanted to drive the Shelby on the track stock to get an idea of what the car can do before I make any changes. I did miss the 405 horsepower of my Z06 (and the ability to scare my friends at 105 MPH approaching a 45 MPH corner) but the Shelby hit 95 MPH approaching that same corner.

 

Be prepared for the Mustang understeer, that has not gone away and I will make some future changes to resolve. The Shelby rotates predictably under brake-steering and once the front starts to push you have to lift, let the front tires grip, and then ease the thottle to complete the turn. The Shelby stays very flat under cornering and the 3:55 gears really make a difference exiting corners.

 

My 20 year old son has a stock 2006 Mustang GT and he has been racing since his 16th birthday. We chased each other around for about 15 minutes (hey dad's with sons, this is highly recommended, we had a blast) I followed him and then we would switch back and forth. When I followed him he could hold me off in the corners (and I was pushing the Shelby) but where the Shelby really shined was on the straight aways, my exit speed entering the straight was greater and I just pulled away from him. Whatever the Shelby horsepower increase is(?) and the addition of 3:55 gears it works! :)

 

I had a couple of my friends drive the car, both have been Vintage Automobile Racing Association (VARA) B/P Champions in Shelby GT350's. One owns a major Southern California shop that builds race prepared Shelby's, Cobra's, Trans Am's, Vintage NASCAR's and other race cars. He was impressed, but told me he likes a little softer more compliant suspension with less compression on the dampners (please, I'm just sharing his opinion with everyone, he is one of the best in the business). My other friend loved the Shelby and is now exploring the possibility of justifing the purchase of one. He currently is restoring an original 65 GT350 Shelby School Car from Riverside Raceway.

 

Other reactions were something that has been addressed in previous threads, very few people know about these cars, but they all loved it. My Black Shelby GT sitting in the pits looked great, everyone was impressed with the stance and once out on the track, a whole lot of cars got passed. I ran against another friend of mine with a Paxton equipped 1966 GT350 with roadrace prepared suspension and Nitto Extreme tires, he could not stay with me and he has comparable driving skills.

 

I've had a lot of Open Track performance vehicles, and this Shelby is great fun, I'm very happy with it.

 

(P.S. don't let Ford know my Shelby ran over 150 TRACK miles last week end, that is two tanks of gas, with only 1,100 miles on it, but I short shifted!)

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My 20 year old son has a stock 2006 Mustang GT and he has been racing since his 16th birthday. We chased each other around for about 15 minutes (hey dad's with sons, this is highly recommended, we had a blast) I followed him and then we would switch back and forth. When I followed him he could hold me off in the corners (and I was pushing the Shelby) but where the Shelby really shined was on the straight aways, my exit speed entering the straight was greater and I just pulled away from him. Whatever the Shelby horsepower increase is(?) and the addition of 3:55 gears it works! :)

 

 

 

It's supposed to be a 19hp increase but I believe it's underated. What top speed did you hit? After my straight-a-way run on Sunday I feel the car could use a little more power, maybe 100 hp to make it really push to the 140 mark without petering out.

I still need to drive a standard GT to compare the two. I did not feel the understeer was that bad but then this is my first Mustang.....

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I apologize for not remembering all of the things that I wanted to address about running the Shelby at Open Track, so there will most likely be additional items added.

 

I pulled 120 MPH in forth gear, not at the track but when I left the track on that nice open vacant road just outside the track. I have a low 12 second quarter mile 1929 Model A that I drag race, so my guess is the Shelby would run mid 13's in the quarter. That's 60's muscle car time.

 

I was very happy with the Hurst shifter. :) You really have to pay attention on the second to third up shift, its real easy to miss third, again, you have to pay attention. However, the third to second downshift is a no brainer. There are a couple places on the track that you are heal and toe at speed approaching a slower corner. With both hands on the wheel you are able to quickly drop your right hand down and discover that the shift knob is in the perfect spot. You don't have to reach for it or lean forward to find it like pre-2005 Mustangs. With a flick of your wrist, an instant later you have down shifted into second. It's so much fun you wished there were more third to second down shifts.

 

Did I mention that you have to pay attention on the 2-3 up shift? If you pay attention it up shifts quickly, just make sure you found third before you release the clutch. Once you have practiced the 2-3 at speed (6,000 RPM) you will never be satisfied with a stock shifter again.

 

More later maybe,

 

Randy

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The more I hear about this car the more I love mine! :P I have had many Mustangs, 1966 GT K Model Fastback, 1967 GT390 FB, 1969 Mach1 GT390, many 66's and even a 1966 GT350 (clone) that was dealer done by the original owner in 1966 @ a Ford dealer in Seattle Washington, and a few of those were very showable cars. My point is, I believe this is the best Shelby yet. From the incredible stock excelleration to the car balance this car seems to be set up almost perfectly. I possibly am going to make one or two changes though, either a Whipple or Rousch super charger, because they pick up the balance of the factory warranty otherwise I would go "pure" Shelby (ofcourse this is ONLY if Shelby can not get Paxon to step to the plate with their product to extend the 3/36K warranty). I might do something another SGT owner is doing with charger plate & metal Steeda Cold Air kit, he says it will provide an extra 50-75 HP but I quite don't understand it as well as he does so I'll need to reconnect with him to hear the results.

 

I thank the poster "RICHARDSONR" for his strong driving skills and the way he explains it all the way down to the up-shift on 2nd to 3rd. Great post.

 

I love this car, and then attention it gets is incredible.

 

2007 Shelby GT Ebony with 5 speed and NAV

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Randy, great info, thanks for sharing.

 

1) Would different wheels and tires make any difference at all with the understeer or is that all in the linkage?

 

2) You mentioned your satisaction withe the 3.55 gears. Would 4.10 gears make much of a difference?

 

3) What were your thoughts of the braking? Did you notice any of the fading I've read about in other posts/forums?

 

I ask because I am getting the 20" Razors and Shelby big brakes and am hoping this will help with some of the things you mentioned.

 

Thanks, Adam

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Randy, great info, thanks for sharing.

 

1) Would different wheels and tires make any difference at all with the understeer or is that all in the linkage?

 

2) You mentioned your satisaction withe the 3.55 gears. Would 4.10 gears make much of a difference?

 

3) What were your thoughts of the braking? Did you notice any of the fading I've read about in other posts/forums?

 

I ask because I am getting the 20" Razors and Shelby big brakes and am hoping this will help with some of the things you mentioned.

 

Thanks, Adam

 

 

Hey Adam, I know the question was not addressed to me but if your going with the 20" wheels, you will be increasing the rolling mass and diameter (I assume, I do not know the overall diameter of the 20's vs. the 18's with the tire installed) so if you car is still being built, I would ask for the 3.73's at the very least to compensate and bring the car to stock performance.

 

On another topic, did you get the email?

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.....on the wheels, all though the diameter of the wheel increases, with lower profile tires you keep the overall diameter of the tire about the same. If you are getting 20" razors, they actually weigh less than our 18" bullets. I am not a physicist (I can't even spell it) but the forces might be pretty similar.

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.....on the wheels, all though the diameter of the wheel increases, with lower profile tires you keep the overall diameter of the tire about the same. If you are getting 20" razors, they actually weigh less than our 18" bullets. I am not a physicist (I can't even spell it) but the forces might be pretty similar.

 

 

I did not know the 20's were lighter. That's pretty cool.......

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Adam; I am going to be working on the inherant Mustang understeer with adjustable camber plates.

 

I also will be deciding on tires soon, if I stay with the stock wheels that will limit overall size in the rear.

 

I am fortunate that my brother is a outstanding technicion with Ford Motor Company and he is assisting me in making significant changes in the handling of the Shelby.

 

First of all we will be installing a Watts Link on the rear end to keep the rear end and suspension planted. He has developed a bolt in (no welding needed) Watts Link. This is a similar set up that Saleen has installed on the 400 horsepower Parnelli Jones Saleen Mustang.

 

You asked about lower gears, that depends on what you plan on doing with your car, the 3:55's work for me, I can drive the car 1,000 miles and the next week end take it to the track. The gears may not be ideal for either purpose, but they work well for both.

 

I am working with my brother on the brakes. His opinion is we can get away with larger rotors on the front. He says the rear brakes work well, again, what are you going to do with your Shelby? I got the rotors really hot! But with 20 minute sessions and the configuration of the track I was on I had very slight brake fade. I would not rush off and put brakes on your Shelby to run an occassional Open Track, the existing brakes work well.

 

I will be looking at running cooling ducts with a larger rotor as my first brake step. Of course bigger is better and more expensive, I love the show cars with giant brakes that have never seen a race track.

 

Enjoy your Shelby, I am.

 

Randy

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.....on the wheels, all though the diameter of the wheel increases, with lower profile tires you keep the overall diameter of the tire about the same. If you are getting 20" razors, they actually weigh less than our 18" bullets. I am not a physicist (I can't even spell it) but the forces might be pretty similar.

 

 

I was just crunching some #'s based on recommended sizes. I think we run 235/50-18,s although I don't have my car to be sure. Based on the recommended size for the 20's on the shopping site, 225/35-20's, the 20's are nearly and inch smaller in diameter and the wheels are lighter. Man, that's a no-brainer right there!....

 

235/50-18 - 27.3"

 

225/35-20 - 26.2"

 

 

 

So disregard my first post Adam. My fingers were faster than my brain..... :D

 

Here's a link to the calc I used... clicky

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Barry:

Yes I got the email, thanks. I should sign up for a site like that to be able to post files like the wav file.

 

Randy:

1) Thanks for the input. I will likely go with the 4.10.

 

2) Also, can you tell us more about the Camber plates and Watts Link (how to purchase and install)? Can a Ford dealer get them? Will the Watts Link help with rear wheel hop too?

 

3) I am getting the 20" Black Razors with the Big Red Shelby brakes. I love the look of both. I am one of the guys that will have a show car with big brakes. In an earlier email about improving horsepower, I mentioned the options (in my signature) that I am having Tasca Ford (Performance Dealer) do to my car to possibly get up to 400 HP. I figure that I will have it on the track - mostly at SAAC annual events. But mostly, I will have it as a show car.

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Stump; the picture you attached is a Watts type rear end link. The red pieces displayed in the photo are not used with my brother's Watts assembly.

 

His replaces the rear end cover with a factory Ford piece that has a bracket to mount the pivot. His assembly is very simple, the left and right brackets bolt onto the frame and they are connected by an upper and lower bar that have two heim joint ends.

 

aodwyer; The Watts Link setup controls the side to side motion of the rear end and controls the pinion angle under acceleration and braking. Therefore, wheel hop is significantly improved if not eliminated (depends on tires and horsepower). It also works great on the street, as there is no negative drivability after installing.

 

These assemblies are only offered from my brother, he makes a few at a time, as needed.

 

I have not decided which after market camber plates I will install. Any good front end shop will install and adjust the camber, just find one that is into race set ups.

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If you would like to see some photographs of my Shelby GT on the track (along with other Shelby and non-Shelby vehicles) go to the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club website at lasaac.org.

 

 

Thanks Randy, I caught those last nite while snooping... ;)

 

 

Heres the direct link for ya... (75 pics)

LASAAC at Willow

 

 

kris.

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Cobra Club is running the big track at Willow Springs (California) on Mother's Day weekend, May 12, 13th.

 

I have already signed up to run my Shelby GT (#358) at their event.

 

The next Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club Event will be at the Streets of Willow Springs on August 4, 5th, 2007. For further information on that event go to www.lasaac.org.

 

This is the perfect environment to safely exercise your performance car. With three seperate running groups you can select what level you want to push your car. Can't beat it.

 

Randy

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