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480 HP car. 260 HP Brain. Upgrade needed!

2864 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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Great points. I like how Ford has the Adrenaline Academy for Focus RS buyers (and I believe Fiesta ST and Focus ST buyers too), and there's also a program for GT350 buyers. It would be cool if they offered a similar package for the Bullitt. I've participated in the "new buyer driving schools" for both McLaren and Cadillac CTS-V/ATS-V. The McLaren program was at Sonoma and only half a day so they didn't have time to teach much. The Cadillac V-Performance Academy was a full 2 day program at Spring Mountain Motor Resort that was excellent with awesome instructors and definitely helped me become a much better driver, both on track and off. I'm glad to see more and more manufacturers offering this (most are free with purchase of the car too), to help people learn how to safely handle their new car.

P.S. I haven't seen a published weight for the 2019 Bullitt myself but 4,400 lbs sounds too high since a regular 2018 GT with the Performance Pack is only 3,878 lbs.
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Maybe autonomous cars aren't such a bad idea?
For the distracted masses autonomous cars will be the greatest thing ever. Even just the autonomous braking that's now being put standard in many new cars is great news for us enthusiasts, less dummies rear ending us. The problem is once it all becomes widespread, it'll be a fight to keep the privilege of driving. Once every car is autonomously going 55 in the right lane, human driven cars will be the greatest risk on the road and if they're not outlawed completely, insurance rates will skyrocket, relegating it as a luxury for those than can afford it. Thankfully, the full autonomous tech is still at least 5 to 10 years away even in luxury cars, and the average car on the road in America is 12 years old, so we have at least 2 more decades of driving to enjoy before this is really widespread. In the meantime, I welcome the automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist systems as "training wheels" for the distracted masses.
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