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480 HP car. 260 HP Brain. Upgrade needed!

2865 Views 32 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  VIC-TIM
When I was a young lad a fast car was anything that could go 0-100 MPH in 20 seconds. An 08/09 Bullit will do it in 12.6 seconds! A 2019 Bullit will go 0-115 MPH in ~12.5 seconds!! Obviously a new definition is needed. The generally accepted definition of a fast car now is based on power to weight, and that is 10 pounds per horsepower is considered fast. An 01 Bullit is ~12.9 Lbs/HP (quick), and 08/09 ~10.8 Lbs/HP (Fast), and a 2019 is about 8.3 Lbs/HP (FAST). The advertised weights of each car, in ascending order are 3360 Lbs, 3520 Lbs, and ~4000 Lbs for the new Bullit! More about weight later.
So what's my point? We all know an expert driver in an 01 can be competitive with a rookie in a new Mustang, on a tight track. The 01 Bullit is a great momentum car, and the 08/09 is for me, the perfect balance of weight and horsepower. The big difference is when you get out on a fast track, the driver of the new Bullit has to make a big brain adjustment. In a new Bullit you get to 150 MPH probably 6 seconds faster than an 08! Add to that greater top speed and a lot more weight to manage your brake and steering inputs, you are likely to "run out of talent" without proper Adrenalin and Endorphin management. Your senses need training and repetition to adjust to the greater acceleration, narrowed field of vision and general input overload.
Police officers, who drive fast frequently, learn to manage their emotions and brain chemistry. I am quite frankly concerned about some of the high powered cars that are being sold today. We, as drivers are not capable of handling these vehicles safely at high rates of speed and handling without training. My 08 Bullit is plenty fast and I don't think I'd be comfortable in anything with much more performance. I've driven a
Trans Am car a few laps for fun and 2600 Lbs and nearly 800 HP is plain scary. (That's about 3.5 Lbs/HP!)
So how do we manage these Beasts. I suggest first, a skid control school, (good for adjusting to the feel of the weight and power) and then a good HSDE with an experienced instructor. When I used to instruct, I would only allow rookies to lap the track in third gear, at first. Once they had learned the "line," we would work on braking, shifting, and throttle management until we had a nice momentum and pace going. Only then would I let them drive to their max comfort level. And, every driver has a different skill level. They need to know how far their talent goes before they brain fade. Driving fast is a skill that requires frequent "refreshment," and it is a perishable skill. I'm definitely not as fast as I was at 30, but experience is helpful. I would never race competitively now, because I know what can happen and I've seen how long it takes for bones to heal properly. I am much more "risk adverse" now.
Years ago I built a car for a young kid to regional race. This kid was so talented, his Dad and I had to put a lower horsepower engine in the car to slow him down. He was borderline reckless, and it took a whole season for him to learn his limits. The next year we put the "big motor" in the car and he was on the podium in every race he ran.
So for God's sake, if you are moving up 160 or 220 HP, get some training. And once again if you are tired or hot at the track, come in before you run out of talent.
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Thanks for the comments guys.
Matt, sorry, I got the weight from the Ford Canada website (Under specifications), GT Premium 1995 KG x 2.2 for pounds=4389 pounds. Not surprising, a late model S-197 was over 3800 lbs. Maybe the cars are heavier in Canada?

Matt, I checked the US website and it says ~3800 pounds for the GT, base weight and even if you add all options, 4000+ lbs seems right, so something is wrong somewhere? So, we'll say ~ 4000 lbs. Made the correction in the thread.


Kick out the passenger, that's just dead weight and upsets your set up. You drive the wheels off that thing.
Ever tried R compound tires, they are magic on a momentum car like yours.
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You get a nicely set up 08, they are pretty hard to overtake on a technical track. The braking thing just takes practice. (And good brakes) As always, good input Steve.
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So 3800+ with a full tank seems about right on your car. Add a bit for MagneRide and electronics pack and you are sniffing 4000?
With a driver you are there for sure, just sayin. Your weights look good, man.
All good input Bill and Zen. Driving a car fast is definitely a learned skill. Driving safely on the road requires a refresh once in a while to remind of bad habits.
Have a great time at CMS Bill! I built a Solo 1 Miata for a buddy, that thing was like a little slot car. Just wind it up and let it go. Ontario "street stock" champion multiple times.
The rest of you, beware of the "red mist," a good term to remember.
A GT 500 is a real beast. Not for kids or daredevils.
You make some good points Tim. Up here in Ontario, the fines for using your phone or texting while driving start at $200. If you are involved in a fatality while electronically distracted you can be charged with Dangerous Driving, and end up in jail. More than 50 KPH over the speed limit, charged with racing, car impounded for 7 days and licence suspended.
The overpowered car and incompetent driver is a problem that usually solves itself when the driver whacks a tree or a guardrail. In all these cases, however, it's the innocent motorist or pedestrian who remains at risk.
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You make me laugh Tim. I commuted from the suburbs to Toronto for over 20 years. A very dangerous drive. Many days I'd be driving through a hail of chrome and busted glass. Biggest crime, following too close. Lot's of rear end collisions.
Saw people making coffee, eating, putting on make up, shaving, reading the newspaper, having sex, sexting, texting, phoning and playing a guitar, among other craziness. Maybe autonomous cars aren't such a bad idea?
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I smell a new topic brewing?
Up here in the north, as soon as snow, slush or salt cover the sensors, they don't work. Any minor collision damage can throw them off. Also, if you are zooming down your favourite two lane apexing the corners, the lane assist will beep or push you back into your lane. Hopefully you can shut some of this stuff off.
The hacker aspect is frightening. What if some cyber terrorist was to hack every autonomous car in LA at rush hour (command, turn left now)!!
The emergency braking sounds OK, as long as people don't rely on it to defy the laws of physics. It took me awhile to get used to Dynamic Stability Control. If I'm sliding around in the snow, I have to let the car make the correction. If I correct, then the car corrects and I correct the car.....
To add to your conspiracy fears Tim, what if you've been drinking and the car, with built in breathalizer, takes you to the police station, even though it's driving. It's going to be a legal mess for sure.
The latest I heard was that they are thinking of allowing advertising on your nav system?
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There was a teenage girl here in Ontario, legs on the dash, who was badly injured when the airbag deployed. Broken legs, pelvis, internal injury. I mean, those bags come out of the dash at wicked speed.
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