Twice and Nice
Lethal Performance harnesses the power of its supercharged S550 with a McLeod RXT
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Lethal Performance
Modern performance cars are horsepower marvels. With bolt-on modifications these vehicles can produce stratospheric performance while retaining stock-like driveability. In the case of Lethal Performance’s 2015 Mustang, we have seen it escalate quickly from bolt-ons to nitrous to a Whipple supercharger. With that last addition it’s making almost double the rear-wheel horsepower it did from the factory.
Packing that potent punch under the hood is one thing, but passing it through the stock drivetrain is another. Team Lethal has plans to hit the drag strip hard with its supercharged ’Stang, so the stock clutch would certainly be on borrowed time when wedged between Whipple power and a sticky drag strip. Rather than waiting for the factory unit to fail, the Lethal crew opted to head that problem off at the pass.
The trick to keeping these big-power machines streetable is balancing performance and comfort. In order to ensure the clutch could live behind 700 rear-wheel horsepower and not turn the clutch pedal into a leg press, the company chose one of McLeod Racing’s RXT Street Twin clutch systems.
Increasing the clamping force of a clutch is often achieved by installing more aggressive surfaces on the discs or ramping up the pressure applied. Those methods obviously will hurt the driveabilty of the clutch, which is fine for a race car, but not something you want in your high-powered street car.
“We chose to use the McLeod RXT clutch on our 2015 as we’ve used McLeod clutches in all of our project cars with great success. You really can’t beat being able to hold 1000 rear-wheel horsepower and still have stock like driveability,” Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance explained. “Most of the other clutches on the market that are designed to hold that type of power have a very heavy pedal feel and chatter like crazy, not McLeod. That is exactly why it’s our best-selling clutch, and has been for the last several years.”
You can also increase the grip of the clutch by increasing the surface area of the clutch discs. This is how a twin-disc unit works its magic. By sharing the torque load between two discs, these twin-disc clutches offer massive clamping capacity while delivering a buttery smooth pedal engagement.
“Just like any of the other RST/RXT clutches I’ve driven, this one has the exact same stock-like feel to it,” he said. “When I asked Ken Bjonnes of Lund Racing how he thought the clutch felt as he has been tuning the car this past week he said, ‘I didn’t even know you changed the clutch in it.’ That pretty much sums it up.”
Interestingly, Lethal is working with McLeod to test a new disc friction material that may work even better on potent street machines like the Lethal 2015 Mustang.
“The clutch that we’re testing for McLeod is expected to perform even better than the RXT with more holding power and same excellent driveability characteristics,” Jared said. “This is due to the newly designed material being used on the clutch discs. Although it may look exactly like the RXT using the RXT’s pressure plate and flywheel it’s the new material on the discs that makes it different.”
Of course, a twin-disc clutch like the RXT does require a bit more setup to install, but the results are definitely worth it. If you plan on installing one in your car and you need a video primer, you can check out McLeod Racing’s install video here…
To get the specifics of the installation on a new Mustang, we tuned in as the Jesse Guajardo at Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida, installed the RXT in the Lethal S550.