Grip It & Rip It
Watson Racing upgrades its 928hp S550 with a wider blower belt
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Watson Racing
If you are new to the world of performance Mustangs, you might not have a true perspective on just how magical modern Mustangs are. Right off the dealer lot today’s Mustangs bring the kind of performance, handling, and braking that we could only have dreamed of back in the day. For example, the fact that Watson Racing’s 2015 Mustang cranks out well over 900 horsepower with a streetable Whipple Supercharger is amazing.
These days we take this sort of thing for granted, but if you step back for a minute and soak in this sort of performance is cause for celebration. When you further consider that the car rocked the dyno rollers like this when the supercharger was driven by a factory-width six-rib serpentine belt, the numbers are all the more impressive.
However, when you are pushing the envelope as hard as Watson Racing does, you will eventually find the limits of the gear that was meant for the street.
“The stock Whipple six-rib drive system is actually excellent, and perfect for street cars or mild drag racing, not using a two-step. Because we are using manual transmission and launch the car with a two-step, the belt and tensioner are under huge amounts of stress and a 10-rib belt system is the best solution,” Patrick Lee, Retail/Dealer Development, Sales, Support at Watson Racing, explained. “This is compounded by the fact that we are spinning this motor beyond 7,500 rpm, and pushing ‘around’ 18 pounds of boost.”
To prep the Watson machine for its next assault on the quarter mile, the team at Watson Racing opted to step up the car’s Whipple Supercharger system with a new 10-rib drive system from Whipple. The 10-Rib Belt Upgrade Kit (PN WHP-WB-COY10-15; $1,500) includes all the hardware—belts, idlers, tensioners, pulleys and more—needed to step up the blower drive to the wider 10-rib serpentine belt. It also includes a 20-percent overdriven damper from ATI Performance Parts.
With the new 10-rib setup and a few other tweaks to the combination, the Watson Racing 2015 Mustang is ready to hit the race track to put that power to the ground.
“We plan on racing the car more to further test our suspension components, and hopefully break a few records in the process. The car may eventually get an automatic transmission… but that is to be determined,” Patrick added. “The car is still completely streetable, but if we keep going with it, it’ll need an 8.50-cert cage, which we are not anxious to jump into just yet.”
“…Now that the weather is getting to be consistently above 70 degrees, hopefully you’ll see us at the track much more with this car,” he added.
For now, let’s see how this powerful Mustang got more belt grip so it could rip at the drag strip.