Brad Gusler resets the EcoBoost Mustang e.t. record with a historic pass
By Steve Turner
Photos by Steve Turner and courtesy of BG Racing and the NMRA
From moment Ford announced it would offer a turbo four-cylinder in the 2015+ Mustang, the engine platform has earned detractors and supporters. One of the most prominent supporters of the gas turbo direct injection 2.3-liter engine in the S550 is Brad Gusler of BG Racing. He immediately put together an EcoBoost Mustang racer and hurled the platform into the record books with a series of ever-quicker 10-second runs.
Last Friday, Brad became the first EcoBoost Mustang racer to break down the storied 9-second barrier. This is a milestone some may have thought impossible, was eclipsed on during a test session at Capitol Raceway in in Crofton, Maryland. It came a little later in the year than Brad hoped, but he knew it would happen eventually.
“I planned on running a 9-second pass at Bowling Green (at the NMRA finals), but we, as a team, wanted to win the race and not have any unexpected issues pushing the limit that far. We all agreed to get the 9 without the aid of nitrous. I knew I had the power at Bowling Green, but didn't want to risk pushing through the beams and going red (as I am still foot-braking)," Brad said. "There hasn't been time to completely test a transbrake. It is coming soon though. So basically all I did different was take time at the line to build boost before the launch and a 1.3 60-foot will get it done.”
After playing for the win in the EcoBoost Battle at the finals, Brad quickly returned to the track for testing with tuning and mechanical support from the crew at Revolution Automotive. With decent air and a crowded test and tune night, they were simply trying to dial in the combo. It came together pretty quickly, however.
You can watch the record-setting run right here…
“The first pass off the trailer was a 10.0, so I knew a 9 was coming but the next hit was mainly to get some data hence the reason for the mph drop I actually lifted before the stripe,” Brad said. “The track was getting more crowded by the minute and we had got our 9 so we decided to call it a day and come back really soon.”
We have no doubt Brad will be dipping deeper into the 9-second zone in the near future, but to get to this point he upgraded his engine program in a major way with the help of Custom Performance Engineering. The company built him one of its Stage 2 EcoBoost engines filled with Manley pistons, Manley rods and held together with ARP fasteners.
“CP-E is in charge of my engine program they put this engine together before Bowling Green and we had no time to test before we had to leave for the event,” Brad explained. “They hit it outta the park on the engine! It’s taking all the boost I’m throwing at it and getting faster every pass. Adam (Browne) at Revolution Automotive is a genius tuning the car. He also feels it can go faster without nitrous.”
This stout engine is boosted by one of the company’s Atmosphere turbo kits and a large Precision Turbo. It also features a trick ported cylinder head and some lumpy custom cams. The robust new engine and aggressive camshafts required some tuning wizardry to reach their full potential. Adam Browne dropped that knowledge into the PCM using SCT Performance gear.
“We received the car roughly one week before it needed to leave for Bowling Green,” Adam explained. “But, it came in with some killer improvements. The upgrades over the previous combo were as follows: CP-E built, supported-deck short-block with forged pistons and rods. A ported head with upgraded valves/springs and a custom set of camshafts from Mountune. We also maxed the DeatchWerks 72 lb/hr secondary injectors on the dyno and had to install DeatchWerks 95 lb/hr injectors before the race. With these upgrades the car made over 25 more rwhp on 10 psi less boost (30 versus 40) compared to the previous combo. And that was with maxing those 72s before we ran the rpm out to redline.”
With such a cutting-edge combo, it’s obvious how important that tuning expertise was in making this package live up to its potential.
“I am sure we are biased but tuning of the combo was crucial to the performance and success of the build,” Adam added. “If we didn’t do our job, Brad would never gain confidence in the car or maximize the potential of those great sums of parts and chassis modifications. I will say, as a side note, that we learned a ton about tuning direct injection with custom cams on this last go around.”
With more time dialing in this new combination the BG Racing/CP-E/Rev Auto triumvirate believes there is much greater potential in this 2.3-liter EcoBoost. In fact, some on the team believe that another amazing milestone might just be possible.
“Definitely more in it without nitrous. A 9.6 I believe is very possible, an on nitrous, but who knows? We have so many new tricks/mods up our sleeves to try and really looking forward to this fall air. It’s been pretty much exactly one year since we were the first to break in the 10s and now the first in the 9s. Could we be in the 8s in the next year?” Brad teased. “We as a team think it's very possible and won't quit until we are the first in the 8s as well! Who could have ever imagined this little 2.3-liter EcoBoost could come so far so quickly. I am truly amazed and very thankful for the team and sponsors behind us!”
If Brad continues his record setting ways, we might just be revisiting the EcoBoost record books this time next year—or sooner.
“…The 10.0 pass at 135 was done on boost only without utilizing the trans brake or two-step—just a foot brake,” Adam added. “Now that we have some time between events we will integrate the transbrake/two-step, nitrous and possibly E85 along with a couple of other surprises into the mix. If you don’t think we are gunning for that first 8-second EcoBoost pass then you are surely mistaken!”
Brad Gusler retooled his record-setting EcoBoost Mustang this season with a new look, new sponsors and a more aggressive combination. On Friday October 7, 2016 at Capitol Raceway in Crofton, Maryland, he became the first driver to pilot a 2015+ EcoBoost Mustang into the 9-second zone.
After running a low 10, Brad knew that nines were within reach. The follow-up pass was simply run to record data, so he let off before the stripe. However, when he looked at the 9.99/131 slip he was happy to take the record and come back to fight another day.
From the jump Brad Gusler has been at the forefront of pushing EcoBoost technology on the quarter mile. With backing from CP-E, Mountune, Precision Turbo, Revolution Automotive, SCT Performance, Watson Racing and more, Brad plans to keep pushing the platform, perhaps even into the 8-second zone.
This season Brad upgraded the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine we first saw in 2015 with a CP-E Stage 2 engine, a CP-E Atmosphere turbo kit with a large Precision Turbo. Before Bowling Green he stepped it up even more with ported heads and big cams. Combined with tuning from Adam Browne at Revolution Automotive, this combo is now good for 9-second e.t.’s and the team believes there is a lot of potential in the fledgling combo.
“As always, we feel privileged to be associated with all of the great people and companies involved. BG Racing trusts our judgment and have been nothing but awesome during the past year of our relationship. Getting to meet and collaborate with great names like Watson Racing, Custom Performance Engineering, SCT, and all of the others has been a great experience,” Adam Browne of Revolution Automotive (center) said. “I would also like to extend my thanks out to the entire Rev Auto team and especially our Shop Manager Dasan Holloway. He took the time out of his personal schedule at Bowling Green and again for the record-setting 9-second pass to provide on track support. He could be the hardest working man in the industry and we are lucky to have him on the team!”
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