Fifty is magic number for Ford's SEMA racers

  • 12-Nov-2009 10:04 EST
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Cobra Jet Mustang turnkey racing car enhancements by Ford Racing engineers include a 8.50 certified roll cage, race-prepared transmissions, drag-race-specific shocks and springs, and an Aeromotive return-style fuel system.

Ford Racing unveiled at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show 2009 turnkey racing packages for two of its highest-profile production vehicles: the Mustang and F-150.

The company hopes that the 2010 Cobra Jet Mustang displayed at SEMA will build upon the Cobra Jet’s victorious introduction at the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Winternationals in 1968 and the 40th Anniversary 2008 model’s duplication of that effort.

Ford began its modern ready-to-race turnkey concept with the Mustang FR500C in 2005. Then a year ago at SEMA, the company unveiled the 2008 40th Anniversary Cobra Jet Mustang. Like its predecessor, the 2010 turnkey factory-built race car is intended for NHRA Stock and Super Stock racing.

“With the 2010 Cobra Jet, we had the luxury of a longer development cycle,” said Brian Wolfe, Director of Ford North American Motorsports. “The first [2008] version of the Cobra Jet was a great car; it did everything we wanted it to do. What we’ve found was most of the competitors were putting a certified 8.50 roll cage in the car, so the first thing they did when they got their new turnkey race car was take it apart and have the roll cage updated. With the 2010 Cobra Jet Mustang, we took the racer's feedback to make this version even more appealing to them."

In addition to the 8.50 certified roll cage, enhancements over the 2008 model include options for a full race-prepared automatic or manual transmission, drag-race-specific shocks and springs, manual steering and brakes, and an Aeromotive return-style fuel system with trunk-mounted fuel cell.

Ford Racing engineers also developed a factory-first launch control/rev limiter that allows drivers to preset the rpm after they stage the car. Previously, the launch control/rev limiter was only available as an aftermarket option.

The 50-car run of 2010 Cobra Jets will be built on the same production line at the Auto Alliance International assembly plant in Flat Rock, MI, that produces the production car. Cobra Jet production will start in January, with delivery of all vehicles expected in the first quarter of 2010.

The 2010 car features a choice among two supercharged or three normally aspirated engines pending NHRA approval, allowing for eligibility for more classes in the NHRA as well as competition with other sanctioning bodies including NMRA, NMCA, PSCA, and IHRA.

Ford Racing also announced that it will offer a racing version of the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor called the FR Raptor XT, a concept of which was on display at SEMA. It hopes to build on the former Raptor's success in the 2008 Baja 1000 with the off-road-only truck and will produce a run of 50 units priced just under $100,000.

Considered an off-road-only turnkey pre-runner, the FR Raptor XT is nearly the same truck that finished the 2008 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 but with the comforts and conveniences found in a production 2010 Raptor.

The FR Raptor XT’s estimated 500-hp (373-kW), 6.2-L naturally aspirated engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Running gear features electronically selectable 4x4; 4.56:1 gearsets; and front and rear e-lockers. Suspension is by A-arm with uni-ball in front, four-link setup in the rear, coil-over with bypass shocks all around, and off-road beadlock wheels and tires, giving 15-in (380-mm) front and 18-in (460-mm) rear wheel travel.

Its “full featured” interior includes power windows, air-conditioning, and factory seating with five-point restraints to go with a Chromoly 4130 roll cage. A unique appearance package includes tubular front and rear bumpers, integral lighting, and extensive skid plating.

As with many OEM-backed racing efforts, Ford hopes that racing success for its new entries will help sell the production versions as well as aftermarket parts for those models.

Since the Cobra Jet is based on the V6 Mustang, the company says that any consumer can turn his or her Mustang into a Cobra Jet by purchasing parts from the Ford Performance Parts catalog.

A detuned version of the racing version's 6.2-L V8 will power the production 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor. The new optional engine, which arrives in early 2010, produces 434 lb·ft (588 N·m) and 411 hp (306 kW), making it the most powerful half-ton truck, says the company. The other V8 option, a 320-hp (239-kW) 5.4-L Triton, will continue to be offered.

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