Feature: Quickest 2015 EcoBoost Mustang

0 Quickest 2015 EcoBoost Mustang Featured

Fantastic Four

Brad Gusler wowed the Mustang world with the quickest turbo-four S550

By Steve Turner

The front wheels are clamped by the roll-control system. Boost is building. It ramps up to about 15 pounds and Brad Gusler of BG Racing releases the front brakes and romps on the loud pedal. His lightweight 2015 Mustang lunges forward like we never expected a four-cylinder Mustang would. It wasn’t a full hit, but we got brief taste of what it feels like inside the world’s quickest and fastest EcoBoost Mustang—and it was better than we ever imagined.

Not only is the Brad Gusler’s car performing at a high level, but it looks sharp. Its full wrap gives exposure to some of the top companies in the industry that joined his quest to race the quickest EcoBoost Mustang on the planet.
Not only is the Brad Gusler’s car performing at a high level, but it looks sharp. Its full wrap gives exposure to some of the top companies in the industry that joined his quest to race the quickest EcoBoost Mustang on the planet.

We first learned about Brad’s plans to step out from behind the wheel of his trusty Lightning racer and into an EcoBoost Mustang last season. Hot on the heels of helping his wife, Nina, win the NMRA Truck & Lightning class last season, Brad was up for a new challenge, and the little turbo-four ’Stang looked like just the ticket for the 2015 racing season. Along the way to this new goal, Brad picked up sponsor support to augment his longtime backers Race Star Industries and SCT Performance.

“I always will have a Lightning, but there’s not much that hasn’t already been done when pushing the limits on the Lightnings,” Brad explained. “I thought it would be fun to play with the new ’15 EcoBoost Mustang and see how much power we could make and just how fast we could get it to go!”

If you were looking for the real secret to the performance of Brad’s S500, look no further than the rear quarter windows and the license plate! Just kidding. Brad is definitely representing for SVTP on his ride, but we can’t confirm or deny if our logo indeed makes the car run better.
If you were looking for the real secret to the performance of Brad’s S550, look no further than the rear quarter windows and the license plate! Just kidding. Brad is definitely representing for SVTP on his ride, but we can’t confirm or deny if our logo indeed makes the car run better.

Knowing he was tackling a new platform, Brad hit last year’s PRI Show looking for support from some of the heavy hitters in the performance industry. A race car would need a roll cage, so after seeing Watson Racing’s craftsmanship on its SEMA S550 racer, Brad approached them about adding some safety to the car and they embraced the idea wholeheartedly.

“We first discussed the build with Brad at PRI in Indy,” John Phillips, Business Manager at Watson Racing said. “He had decided to build an EcoBoost drag car and when he saw our 2015 build, he knew that he wanted us to build his car. We were just excited as he was.”

If you’ve read about the Ford GT, you know it’s engine uses a lot of stock parts. Well, Brad’s 2.3-liter engine is all stock. It is only augmented with a custom turbo system and exhaust from JPC Racing. Its fuel system is fed by an Aeromotive Cobra Jet pump and controlled by a custom calibration from JPC Racing. In this configuration, it put down 353 horsepower at the rear wheels.
If you’ve read about the Ford GT, you know it’s engine uses a lot of stock parts. Well, Brad’s 2.3-liter engine is all stock. It is only augmented with a custom turbo system and exhaust from JPC Racing. Its fuel system is fed by an Aeromotive Cobra Jet pump and controlled by a custom calibration from JPC Racing. In this configuration, it put down 353 horsepower at the rear wheels.

To say they were worked up is an understatement. Once Brad acquired the EcoBoost 2015 Mustang from his dealer, he trailered the car right up to Watson for the cage. At least that’s where it started. They not only installed the bar, but they lightened the car by removing non-essential gear and installing several of their own lightweight components. They installed drag brakes from Aerospace Components, and beefed up the IRS 8.8 with gear from Ford Performance Racing Parts. They even dropped the factory fuel tank and installed an Aeromotive Cobra Jet fuel pump/cell combo.

“The work we did on Brad’s EcoBoost wasn’t powerplant specific. We worked our Watson magic on his car like we do on all our builds,” John explained. “Then the crew at JPC worked their magic with a 55mm Precision turbo and custom intercooler.”

Watson Racing doesn’t do anything half way. The interior of Brad’s ride is just as gorgeous as its exterior. The company’s six-point roll cage is finished in carbon fiber and protects Brad as he sits in the Kirkey racing seat bolted to Watson Racing seat mounts. He is kept safe by Racequip harnesses. That’s an Auto Meter boost gauge in the dash, and an SCT Performance Live Wire tuner on the windshield.
Watson Racing doesn’t do anything half way. The interior of Brad’s ride is just as gorgeous as its exterior. The company’s six-point roll cage is finished in carbon fiber and protects Brad as he sits in the Kirkey racing seat bolted to Watson Racing seat mounts. He is kept safe by Racequip harnesses. That’s an Auto Meter boost gauge in the dash, and an SCT Performance Live Wire tuner on the windshield.

Yes, after the chassis and suspension work at Watson, the there was the matter of increasing the EcoBoost engine’s performance beyond the factory parameters. To make that happen, Brad enlisted the help of Justin Burcham at Justin’s Performance Center, better known as JPC Racing. He has a long history of building and driving record setting Mustangs, and his team went to work on the inlet and exhaust systems, creating a custom turbo kit based on a Custom Performance Engineering manifold and a Precision Turbo 55mm turbocharger.

Since dedicated EcoBoost fuel pump solutions have yet to hit the market, Brad worked with Aeromotive to come up with system to feed his combo at this power level. That system is the same pump and cell that supplies Ford Racing’s Cobra Jet race cars.
Since dedicated EcoBoost fuel pump solutions have yet to hit the market, Brad worked with Aeromotive to come up with system to feed his combo at this power level. Supply the factory step-up pump and injectors is the same Aeromotive fuel pump and cell that supplies Ford Racing’s Cobra Jet race cars.

“We are working with CPE to make a kit for those cars,” Justin Burcham said. “That’s obviously not a production kit, but it is going into production for those that want to go above and beyond the stock turbo—the one-percenters.”

Kevin Macdonald the calibrator at JPC tuned the final combo, which put down 353 horsepower at the rear wheels on 26 pounds of boost. The only limit on the power at the moment is the factory direct injection setup, but they are working one ways to feed more fuel to the turbo 2.3 to create lots more power.

That being said, the results of this build were good enough to make Brad’s EcoBoost Mustang the quickest and fastest one around. In testing before the NMRA season opener in Bradenton, Florida, he clicked off an 11.77 at 117.6 mph. You can watch the run right here courtesy of our friends at Ford Racing Nation

While his new race car is off to a great start, Brad has bold plans for the car this season. He hopes to further hasten its quickness with more mods and eventually break through into the 10- and 9-second zones. Should he achieve these goals, his car could pave the way for mainstream acceptance of the EcoBoost Mustang as a true performance option.
While his new race car is off to a great start, Brad has bold plans for the car this season. He hopes to further hasten its quickness with more mods and eventually break through into the 10- and 9-second zones. Should he achieve these goals, his car could pave the way for mainstream acceptance of the EcoBoost Mustang as a true performance option.

Not too shabby for a four-cylinder Mustang. Having ridden shotgun for a brief blast in the car, we can tell you it certainly doesn’t feel like any four-cylinder Mustang we have experienced thus far, and Brad has bold goals to make it even quicker as the season progresses. For now, however, we can appreciate this groundbreaking car for helping set the stage for another legitimate performance player in the Mustang line-up.

“For very minimal powertrain work, the results are impressive. They are a testament to the lightened Watson Racing chassis and Justin’s handiwork with the turbo setup,” John added. “There is much more to come though. Look for significant gains at each NMRA race this season.”

“I’m very impressed by the car’s performance and we’re just getting started,” Brad promised. “We have more to come.”

Update: And, he did have more to come. On March 29, 2015, Brad re-set his own EcoBoost record twice, first running an 11.61 and then dropping all the way down to an 11.19 at 119 mph!

To make the car race legal, Watson Racing installed this battery cut-off switch.
To make the car race legal, Watson Racing installed this battery cut-off switch.
Brad ran his quickest time in pre-event testing at Bradenton Motorsports Park, but he will be running the entire season in the NMRA Super ’Stang class.
Brad ran his quickest time in pre-event testing at Bradenton Motorsports Park, but he will be running the entire season in the NMRA Super ’Stang class.
You won’t see this beautiful Watson Racing badge on the flanks of too many vehicles. Outside of Watson’s own vehicle, Brad’s is one of the few to be so adorned.
You won’t see this beautiful Watson Racing badge on the flanks of too many vehicles. Outside of Watson’s own vehicle, Brad’s is one of the few to be so adorned.
The cut-off switch protruding from the bumper toggles this trunk-mounted Optima Yellow Top held steady in a Watson Racing mount.
The cut-off switch protruding from the bumper toggles this trunk-mounted Optima Yellow Top held steady in a Watson Racing mount.
With a giant SCT Performance logo on the side of the car, it’s no surprise the tuner in Brad’s car is one of the company’s Live Wire touchscreen devices.
With a giant SCT Performance logo on the side of the car, it’s no surprise the tuner in Brad’s car is one of the company’s Live Wire touchscreen devices.
Watson Racing installed a Hurst roll control to keep Brad’s Mustang staged until he’s ready to launch.
Watson Racing installed a Hurst roll control to keep Brad’s Mustang staged until he’s ready to launch.
To ensure the braking is properly distributed amongst the Aerospace stoppers, Watson also installed one of these Ford Performance Racing Parts’ proportioning valves.
To ensure the braking is properly distributed amongst the Aerospace stoppers, Watson also installed one of these Ford Performance Racing Parts’ proportioning valves.
Controlling the fuel pressure send to the factory direct-injection step-up pump is a familiar Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator.
Controlling the fuel pressure sent to the factory direct-injection step-up pump is a familiar Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator.
Since Brad’s car now runs off a fuel cell, Watson Racing relocated its battery charging port to the factory fuel fill.
Since Brad’s car now runs off a fuel cell, Watson Racing relocated its battery charging port to the factory fuel fill.
Watson Racing has a full suite of S550 race parts, and one of the pieces that debuted on its SEMA project Mustang is this intercooler ice tank. It allows Brad pour in an ample supply of ice water before each drag run, then easily drain out the melted ice between runs.
Watson Racing offers a full suite of S550 race parts, and one of the pieces that debuted on its SEMA project Mustang is this intercooler ice tank. It allows Brad pour in an ample supply of ice water before each drag run, then easily drain out the melted ice between runs.
Feeding the Precision Turbo 55mm unit is a JLT Performance CAI inlet pipe and filter. Boost exits the bigger turbo into a custom air-to-water intercooler built by JPC Racing. Boost leaving this efficient setup is about 90 degrees, so it works quite well, and JPC just might offer these systems—and a race-ready air-to-air unit—in the future.
Feeding the Precision Turbo 55mm unit is a JLT Performance CAI inlet pipe and filter. Boost exits the bigger turbo into a custom air-to-water intercooler built by JPC Racing. Boost leaving this efficient setup is about 90 degrees, so it works quite well, and JPC just might offer these systems—and a race-ready air-to-air unit—in the future.
Brad doesn’t play around. When we shot the car on Saturday March 7, the car only had 166.8 miles on the clock and it had already run the quickest e.t. and fast mph for an EcoBoost Mustang.
When we shot the car on Saturday March 7, the car only had 166.8 miles on the clock and it had already run the quickest e.t. and fast mph for an EcoBoost Mustang.

 

This is real race car stuff. Just like a Cobra Jet, Brad’s EcoBoost ’Stang features a removable Ford Performance Racing Parts steering wheel.
This is real race car stuff. Just like a Cobra Jet, Brad’s EcoBoost ’Stang features a removable Ford Performance Racing Parts steering wheel.
While the radio and HVAC are long gone, this beautiful center-stack block-off plate serves as the home for the factory start button, which still functions properly. The car event retains its functional rear-view camera. Likewise, the back seat was removed and replaced by one of Watson’s rear-seat closeout panels.
While the radio and HVAC are long gone, this beautiful center-stack block-off plate serves as the home for the factory start button, which still functions properly. The car event retains its functional rear-view camera. Likewise, the back seat was removed and replaced by one of Watson’s rear-seat closeout panels.

The Mod List

Powertrain

Block: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Crankshaft: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Rods: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Pistons: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Camshafts: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Cylinder Heads: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Intake: Stock EcoBoost 2.3-liter
Power Adder: Precision Turbo 55mm turbocharger on a CPE manifold w/ a JLT Performance CAI and a JPC custom air-to-water intercooler
Fuel System: Stock w/ Aeromotive Cobra Jet pump in Aeromotive fuel cell w/ Watson Racing tie-down
Exhaust: Custom JPC Racing 3-inch exhaust w/ a Bassani muffler
Transmission: Stock w/ Dynotech one-piece aluminum driveshaft and Watson Racing driveshaft safety loop
Rearend: Stock IRS Super 8.8 w/ Ford Performance Racing Parts halfshafts, FPRP IRS bushings, FPRP Torsen differential, and FPRP 3.73 gears

Electronics

Engine Management: Stock TriCor PCM with JPC Racing custom tune via SCT Performance Livewire
Ignition: Stock

Front Suspension

K-member: Watson Racing tubular w/ Watson Racing solid engine mounts
A-arms: Watson Racing tubular
Struts: Strange Engineering
Springs: Strange Engineering
Brakes: Aerospace Components w/ Watson Racing stainless steel brake lines
Wheels: Race Star
Tires: Mickey Thompson

Rear Suspension

Shocks: Strange Engineering
Springs: Stock
Brakes: Aerospace Components w/ Watson Racing stainless steel brake lines
Wheels: Race Star
Tires: Mickey Thompson

Comments

comments

2 thoughts on “Feature: Quickest 2015 EcoBoost Mustang”

Leave a Reply

8,997 views