DEARBORN – Evenings in the garage. Weekends at the track. Gearheads everywhere can appreciate the extra time and effort the Mustang team took to quickly prototype and hone the Performance Pack Level 2 for the new 2018 Ford Mustang GT.
“A passion to create something special is what really drove this project,” said Tom Barnes, Mustang vehicle engineering manager. “And that really showed in the off-the-clock way we went about doing our work.”
Longtime tire and wheel engineer Chauncy Eggleston led development of unique 19-inch wheels that help provide notable steering and handling response improvements. Mustang veteran Jonathan Gesek, former aerodynamics specialist at NASA and now with Ford’s aerodynamics group, spearheaded development of a high-performance front splitter and rear spoiler. And Jamie Cullen, Ford supervisor for vehicle dynamics development, led road test efforts to ensure the car delivers ultra-responsive steering, braking and handling performance.
The result of their covert efforts is available to order now and will reach North American showrooms this spring when pony car enthusiasts can get the new 2018 Ford Mustang GT with Performance Pack Level 2, a collection of drive-enhancing components designed for – and by – people who love the thrill of taking the wheel of a true performance car.
“It will just beg you to go faster,” said Cullen. “The car has lightning-quick response and never gives up grip.”
Performance Pack Level 2 includes all of the features of Performance Pack Level 1 – unique chassis and antilock brake tuning, unique stability control and electric power-assisted steering, Brembo™ six-piston front brake calipers with larger rotors, a k-brace, larger radiator, silver-painted strut tower brace and a TORSEN® rear differential with 3.73 axle ratio.
It’s highlighted by a lower stance, a redesigned front splitter and rear spoiler, and 305/30/R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires wrapped around split-fitment aluminum wheels – 19x10.5-inch front and 19x11-inch rear.
The tires, 1.5 inches wider than those found with Performance Pack Level 1, provide a firmer grip, and work with a retuned chassis to put the car more than a half-inch closer to the ground. The package is available exclusively with a manual transmission.
Custom tuned MagneRide® dampers and quicker steering calibration provide better response. Other improvements over Performance Pack Level 1 equipment include a 67 percent stiffer rear stabilizer bar, a 12 percent stiffer front stabilizer bar, 20 percent stiffer front springs and rear springs that are 13 percent stiffer, all of which contribute to a more stable ride around corners with less body roll.
Working a little moonlight magic
Critical to the success of the package is improved aerodynamics scores, which the team achieved by adding larger and lower front splitter and redesigned rear spoiler.
Gesek said the after-hours approach team members took to developing the Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 was so much fun because they set out to create their dream car.
“Our targets were aggressive,” he said, “and we nailed them.”
Using the splitter from the famed Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca as a benchmark, Mustang engineers attached the piece to the underside of the front to fan out as much as 3 inches around the corners of the Mustang GT. It creates about 24 pounds of downforce at 80 mph, helping give the car its exceptional grip. To balance the downforce, a subtle, redesigned rear spoiler stretches across the decklid.
To assist in the team’s innovative approach to creating the new Performance Pack, parts such as the rear spoiler were rapid-prototyped using a 3D printer. The process enabled faster turnaround times, complementing the trial-and-error nature of the project.
The only visual cues on a car outfitted with the new Performance Pack Level 2 are black detailing on the splitter and spoiler, the tire spat on the back edge of the rear wheel wells and the 10-spoke Dark Tarnish wheels, which are exclusive. Customers who opt for Performance Pack Level 2 have a unique opportunity to select Recaro® seats in either leather or cloth to help stay firmly planted while cornering.