MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

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MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:47 pm

Well I thought it was about time that I posted a thread on my car and what I have done and what I have planned, its evolution from a standard 2006 Ford Mustang GT towards being (in my eyes) the perfect street and strip hot rod, I probably should have done this thread as an ongoing thing but I never got around to it so it will have to be back dated.

2009
I had always liked the 2005 onwards S197 Mustangs ever since the car was released in the US in late 2004, combining the right balance of retro styled looks with modern reliable underpinnings and ease of day to day usability (something most classics cannot offer). But owning one was just a pipe dream at that time, as I was still an apprentice and did not have the disposable income to buy outright or enough to pay the loan/finance on such a car. By 2009 the oldest ones were nearly four years old and they had lost their initial high price, and after several test drives in manuals and automatics, I plumped for the car that is now my late 2006 GT Automatic, replacing my orange Focus ST-2. It must have been the right choice of car for me because nearly four and a half years on I have no desires to change it for anything else, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

This is the car as it was when I bought it in July of 2009:

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The only mods were; JBA Axleback exhausts, Apex Lowering Springs, a throttle body spacer and GT500 stripes.

The initial changes I made were to have the SVA wiring re-done by Atlantic Sports Cars as I was suspicious of the conversion it came with because of an intermittent cruise control problem. I had the stock brake hoses replaced with braided items whilst the car was in for an MOT and brake fluid change as well as having the failing stock strut mounts (a known weak point especially on lowered cars) with Steeda adjustable items, these are not only stronger but also allow the camber and caster to be corrected. In this case the excessive camber caused by the excessive lowering of the Apex springs that were on the car when I bought it.

Steeda Strut Mounts:
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I also swapped the orange indicator/side light lenses for clear ones. This enabled me to move the side lights back to their original location in the bumper light clusters rather than having them mounted in the headlights (the headlights are drilled and the mounts from the sidelights are mounted in them), see the GT500 stripe removed pic)

Something else worthy of mention, I swapped the stock wiper blades for Trico beam type wiper blades – yes this car unlike many of the UK based S197 Mustangs goes out in the rain, and if you have been thinking about swapping to this type of wiper blade – do it, they are 10x better than the traditional framed wiper blade.

Naturally I removed the frankly embarrassing GT500 side stripes, is a GT not a GT500 so why the previous owner put them on I have no idea, a quick Google shows that it looks nothing like a 07-09 GT500!

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:48 pm

2010
I left the car as it was for a few months but I soon tired of it catching on every hump and bump so I decided in 2010 to have the Apex springs which lowered the car around 2” replaced with Roush springs that only lowered the car around 1”. At the same time (I didn’t know how useful these would become at the time) I had the stock dampers swapped out for a set of Tokico D-Spec adjustable dampers and the rear lower control arms and front A-arms replaced with BMR tubular items (poly bushed). I have used some stock photos here as I can’t find (or didn’t take) the pictures of the parts I purchased.

BMR Suspension parts
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Roush Springs
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Tokico D-Spec Dampers
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Look at the difference in ride height between the first picture and this one.

With these fitted by Hertford Mustang/Motorist Center (formally Hertford Tyres & Electronics) as they can do in 4 hours on a ramp what would take me far longer on axle stands and jacks and the insurance company duly notified the car was transformed. The driving experience was far more pleasant, it handled great and the ride was no longer bumpy and harsh. The extra 1” of clearance means that it also doesn’t catch on humps anymore - lower is not always better. I also replaced the stock paper air filter with a K&N washable panel filter around this time too.

For the rest of 2010 the car remained like that, other than replacing the worn out Pirelli P6000’s with a set of Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tyres. This was another miraculous transformation, the god awful P6000’s (well they are on a Mustang anyway) replaced with some decent rubber.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:49 pm

2011
Until June of 2011 no further upgrades or changes were made to the car other than routine servicing and maintenance. I replaced the stock air box and intake pipe with a Roush cold air intake, this also meant ditching the throttle body spacer (not that it did much of anything anyway) as it caused the new larger inlet pipe to interfere with the radiator header tank. A quick trip out to get four new stock length throttle body bolts to replace the longer ones used to fit the spacer, it added a little in the way of extra looks to the engine bay. Though contrary to popular belief there is no power advantage to be had on a modern car in fitting one of these intakes, well without a re-map (especially the cheap ones that don’t have an air dam). It gives an increase in induction roar and maybe a bit better throttle response but that’s about it. The stock alternator was faulty so that was replaced with a red powder coated Peak Performance unit shipped in from the US at the same time.

Old and New Alternators
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Roush Cold Air Intake
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Stock Intake and spacer removed
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Stock Intake and Spacer
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New Alternator fitted
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New Cold Air Intake Fitted
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In 2010 I had become hooked on drag racing (as a spectator) after spending a weekend at the FIA Main event and I was now getting the urge to give it a go with my own car. So I went to what is my local track, York Raceway and I spent the August bank holiday Monday chasing a 13 second timing slip. Unfortunately the 13 second run eluded me, managing a best of 14.05@96.79mph, but I was already hooked.

Wanting a consistent and good 13 meant a few changes had to be made to the car, I purchased these from BMR, lower control arm relocation brackets, they help put the geometry of the arms back to the stock location when the car is lowered.

Rear LCA relocation brackets
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I also purchased an SCT3+ Tuner and more aggressive tune for track use.

SCT Tuning handset
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With the brackets fitted by a local garage (A&A Motors) I got a run 13.88@100.44mph on the first attempt, a few more tweaks on the adjustable dampers and with tyre pressures 13.85@98.7mph was the result, I was very happy with that. The only other mod in 2011 was the fitment of a HID headlight system (I can feel the PH hatred burning the back of my skull already :hehe:).

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:49 pm

2012
2012 saw purely cosmetic mods rather than any performance mods, the front lip of the hood was corroded (a common problem that afflicts virtually all 05-08 Mustangs) so rather than repair it and risk it coming back, around Easter time I purchased a Cervini C-Type hood from the US and had it fitted and painted by Prestige Body Shop in Hull, at the same time I had the front bumper re-painted and the wings re-painted, this of course necessitated the removal of the tatty and tired old stripes.

The new Cervini C-Type Hood
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Fitted
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As you can see it makes quite a difference to the appearance of the car and the view out of the front. The new hood is a bit marmite to most, but I like it :).

Later on in the year I swapped out the tail lamps for a pair of Raxiom smoked items, and fitted a new stack racing upper and lower grille set to the front, removing the useless front fog lights and giving it a darker more aggressive look. I used satin black vinyl rather than paint on all the red bits behind the grill that are normally obscured by the stock plastic item so I can return it to stock if I want. I also blacked out the rear of the trunk lid with satin black vinyl and I think you’ll agree it looks pretty damn good now.

Raxiom Smoked Tail Lights
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Stack Racing Upper and lower Grille
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Exterior pictures 8 and 9 show the difference between the stock and smoked lights. As you can see they are not totally black so (50 state DOT approved in the US) I gambled that they would pass an MOT in the UK with no problem (they did :) ) It was a simple plug and play operation to fit them as they are essentially OEM lights just with smoked lenses.

Driver Side fitted
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Both fitted
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The centre blacked out with vinyl to complete the rear end
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I had the now worn out Goodyears replaced (around 2mm of tread left and 18,000 miles on them with numerous passes on the drag strip with their associated burn outs) with Toyo T1 Sport tyres, which imho are a better tyre than the Goodyears, they just seem suit the car better. I had always dismissed Toyos as something Japanese car owners rave about because they want Japanese tyres on their cars and always going with a more traditional European brand. However, I am happy to admit that I was very wrong and they are great tyres, even netting me a slight performance increase running a new PB of 13.59@101.11mph on them.

Video:
13.59@101.11mph

The timing ticket for that run:
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I also purchased a decent helmet rather than using a loaner from York and deciding I wanted to race, a dial-in board.

Simpson Bandit Helmet
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Dial In Board
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After the end of 2012 and running in 4 rounds out of 10 in American Super Stock at York Raceway I finished 6th overall (two round wins, and 3 top 3 qualifiers) taking the Most Promising Newcomer Trophy.

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Burnout picture:
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As well as racing the car is practical too, this lot fitted in the boot with no problem, plus a couple more bags of groceries.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:51 pm

2013
So into 2013 and another expensive year for parts, I ordered a load more stuff from BMR:
Adjustable upper control arm and relocation bracket
Adjustable panhard brace and re-location bracket
Moser differential cover
Front and rear prop shaft loops

Moser differential cover
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Upper control arm
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Upper control arm relocation bracket
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Panhard rod relocation bracket
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Adjustable panhard rod
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Front prop shaft loop
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Rear prop shaft loop
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A quick shot of the rear underside of the car, bit grubby and mucky with added rusty axle for effect (it’s a road car not a museum piece after all):

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I also purchased another pair of wheels the same as what is on the car and a pair of Mickey Thomson ET Street Radial II’s hence why I now have the prop shaft loops as they are required in the regulations for racing with any type of slick tyre or drag radials.

The tyres, really soft and bloody sticky when warmed up properly.
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The HID haters amongst you will also be pleased to know that I have also removed the system after one of the ballasts packed in, I went back to filament lamp bulbs because I did not have a spare ballast and after managing to source a pair of Phillips extreme bulbs from the US for the price of a new ballast, I decided that the difference wasn’t worth the worry of it going again and having to unwire around one third of the system to replace the faulty ballast – I expected far longer out of them to be honest.

I also invested in a full 3 layer fire suit; I don’t need a suit for racing my car at York but as I intended to do some racing under MSA sanction at Santa Pod I knew would need one, it is high enough spec to allow me to run in Super Comp/Super Gas/Super Pro if I ever get a car that goes that fast!

Also some of the cars in the American Super Stock class at York dip well into the 9’s so the idea of wearing such a thing isn’t as daft as it sounds.

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Laugh all you want but safety should come before looking a pillock.

With the suspension parts fitted and the new drag radials on, my times dropped to 13.322@100.48mph.

The Timing ticket for that run.
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I also purchased a Replay HD motorsport camera and suction mounting for my window, one of my quicker runs:
13.322@100.48mph

I took part in the beginners dial in day that was put on at Santa Pod to get more tutorage on bracket racing and more track time earlier in the year, its postponement due to snowy weather from a regular RWYB to its own slot meant that the 20 or so of us that attended had a nicely prepped drag strip to ourselves :) here is a couple of vids of me chasing down slower cars (always better than videos of me as the faster car as they don’t really show anything other than a ¼ mile run).

A couple more videos:
Hunting down a 3rd Gen Camaro
Vid 2:
Hunting down a diesel Audi

The drag radials did however, highlight an increase in strain on the transmission during the burn out because it is fighting the rear brakes as well as the traction in the transition period where the car comes into burnout. With this in mind it was obvious a line lock was needed; so I ordered the bits from Jegs (solenoids and fittings) and Speed Flow (custom hoses) plus a few bits from Maplin (switches, wire etc.) and fitted a dual solenoid line lock system. The only issue for me was where to mount the activation switch for the line lock because I didn’t want to drill the dash.

Solenoid activated valves and NPT fittings
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Extra brake hoses
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Isolator switch fitted
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The panel the isolator switch is mounted to is cheap to replace and also was already cut from the previous owner (assuming an iPod connector).

Drivers side line lock fitted
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Passenger side line lock fitted
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The wiring wasn't done at this point hence the cables being coiled up.

The place of where to mount the switch without drilling a hole in the dash was solved when I remembered I had an old removable (cup holder type) ash tray from a Ford Focus I had previously owned. It was brand new so was the perfect candidate. The mounting problem solved in a neat way and it allows me to take the switch out when I am not on the track. The covered toggle switch in the centre console also means that there is no risk of the system being live on the road and anything shorting the connectors in the console centre box.

Switch install
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My first MSA event at Santa Pod Summer nationals meant that the car required (due to rules about having vinyl or painted on numbers) my class and race number put on in vinyl, with my name on the windows.

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(Photo courtesy of “Mad Welshman”)

Here is a video of me hunting down Ricky Hale in his Mk 4 Supra, his car was dialled 0.99 seconds slower than mine so he leaves the line first.

Hunting down Ricky Hale in his Mk 4 Supra

Yes I was happy that I had taken my first race win at an MSA event :)

The end of the 2013 season placed me 9th in the American Super Stock standings which for my first full season (I missed round 2 and round 3 as I was spectating at the FIA main event at Santa Pod) which out of a total of a total of 42 competitors isn’t bad to be honest. Hopefully I will fare better next year but we shall have to see what transpires.

So now the 2013 season has drawn to a close I bought another pile of bits to fit/have fitted to hopefully put me into the 12 second bracket.

More from BMR:
Front K-Member and engine mounts and Front Radiator support

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And a pile of Ford Racing stuff
Intake Manifold
Traction Lok diff rebuild kit
Diff install kit
Axle end bearings and oil seals
3.73:1 gears (replace the stock 3.31:1 gears)

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(Actually a photo of the 64,000 mile 3.31:1 gears removed from the car but you get the idea)

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Ford Racing intake manifold
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The K-member is stiffer and half the weight of the stock one, the new radiator support is slightly lighter than stock too, reducing the nose weight and hopefully quickening the cars response time off the line. The only minor issue is the polyurethane engine mounts, they have removed the last vestiges of comfort from the car vibration from the drive train is sent straight into the structure rather than being dampened out by the front engine mounts. This only happens at low speed mind once the car is moving at anything above a slow walking pace the vibration is gone. The 3.73:1 gears (Fitted by Lagonda Garage in Billingham (nr Middlesbrough)) increase the acceleration somewhat :) but don’t adversely affect the fuel economy for day to day use like a set of 4.10:1 gears would, the long distance cruise fuel usage is dropped from ~25mpg US (30mpg UK) to 22mpg US (26.4 mpg UK).

The Ford Racing intake manifold bins the charge motion plates letting in something like 15-20% more air at WOT, and saves me something like ~8oz :lol: nose weight by removing the drive servo for the charge motion plates and some of the metal parts on the manifold.

The K-Member fitted, the steering rack is in the foreground, the k-member behind it.
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The Old K-Member and Radiator Support

The Engine bay with the stock manifold removed
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The charge motion plates shown in the bottom of the intake manifold
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Another shot of the engine bay sans intake manifold.
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The Ford Racing intake manifold fitted
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Another re-tune was necessary to make the car run correctly with the Ford Racing intake manifold and this was provided by Justin’s Performance Centre in the US, and after a couple of runs out to data log so the tune can be refined the car is running sweet as a nut, this isn’t far off the stock tune I have also been supplied with a much more aggressive race tune.

The results quarter mile results of all those parts and money will have to wait until next year as the weather has thwarted us.

As you can see I have done this properly, the car is set up to make the best use of the power it has by maximising the ability to deploy that power on track. I have always maintained that there is no such thing as too much power only a lack of ability to apply it to the road. High quality parts have been used throughout if I can’t afford a good quality aftermarket part I won’t make the change from a stock part.

The journey I have gone through with this car has gone from having a lightly modified car to creating what is for me the perfect modern street and strip hot-rod without banishing the car to being a weekend and track toy. Sure the suspension is a little bit more race than road now but if I want to race it there has to be a compromise somewhere, in this case I have traded NVH and some of the comfort for consistency and performance. The car has and always will retain enough of its original identity to still be a Ford Mustang and will also maintain its day to day usability, whilst being unique to me and my needs/wants. I have managed to avoid making it look like something it is not and avoided sticking chav tat all over it. Even the stereo and speakers etc. are all stock parts (I’d only replace them with good quality aftermarket components if they broke/wore out).
Last edited by mattmoxon on Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:51 pm

The Future
I am planning on buying a UPR spherical bearing to replace the bush on the axle housing next year and a wideband AFR gauge to assist with any future tune refinements.

I am toying with the idea of some skinny wheels and tyres for the front, purely for track use to further quicken the front end response.

Other than that they do say “never say never” but I don’t think I’ll be going much further, there is no real need. When the exhaust needs replacing I’ll go with a custom stainless system which is simply: headers -> cats - >H-pipe -> back box, I’ll also fit better pads and disks when the standard ones wear out.

Some may ask why I have not upgraded to bigger brakes, well the answer is simple; the stock sized ones are fine for road and drag strip use, I have to stop from just over 100mph and have around half a mile to do it on the strip so they’ll never be a problem in that respect. I can with a good solid stomp make the ABS can kick-in in the dry so again they are more than adequate. So really unless you are circuit racing/track days or driving like a loon on the public roads you don’t need bigger brakes than stock.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby McStang » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:04 pm

Stunning looking car mate.
Good to see you kept the original wheels, sometimes wish I'd kept my 18s.
That alternator was definitely fucked, right ? :)

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:27 pm

McStang wrote:Stunning looking car mate.
Good to see you kept the original wheels, sometimes wish I'd kept my 18s.
That alternator was definitely fucked, right ? :)


There was apparently a dry solder joint somewhere that was causing the cam shaft position sensor codes to be thrown up, but other than the MIL light coming on the car was suffering no other ill effects.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby cati » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:30 pm

Nice write up moxy .. How much difference did the intake make

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:31 pm

The intake has made a noticeable difference, probably a bit more than just removing the stock charge motion plates, but as I won't be going blown any time soon (if I do I'll be going down the twin turbo route) the intake made more sense than the charge motion delete plates. That said without the engine being dyno'd its hard to say how much more power it offers, but reading US articles if you include the CAI it could be up to 35bhp over stock.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby badhand » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:14 pm

Nice write up Moxy.

Well I enjoyed the pics. Bit too many words for me... ;)

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby JamieR » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:01 am

Excellent diary there matey, looking forward to some good weather so you can get some new timings as well :)

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:20 pm

JamieR wrote:Excellent diary there matey, looking forward to some good weather so you can get some new timings as well :)


The track time will have to wait until next year now, SPR has no more RWYB until February next year and YRW is closed until Easter next year as is Shakespeare County which is a bit of a pain. I was hoping to be at SPR for the RWYB following Flame and Thunder but the headwinds were substantial (20-50mph according to met office/met check) and I wouldn't have learnt anything really, I lose around 1 tenth off my ET for every 10mph of headwind or there abouts, and decided to leave the racing kit at home and just go down for Flame and Thunder.

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby Mustang Barry » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:01 pm

Impressive write up. Nice to see someone taking it so seriously.

Were the K-Members as easy to fit as they (BMR) say they are?

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Re: MattMoxon's Mustang GT Evolution

Postby mattmoxon » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:22 pm

Mustang Barry wrote:Impressive write up. Nice to see someone taking it so seriously.

Were the K-Members as easy to fit as they (BMR) say they are?


Thanks, according to my mechanic at A&A Motors it was a bit more difficult than they make out but not stupidly hard. I wouldn't want to attempt it without a 2 post lift.


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