• Jun 24, 2010
2011 Ford Mustang – Click above for high-res image gallery

On Tuesday, June 23, a group of Ford engineers hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee in a completely stock 2011 Mustang V6. When Mustangs are on a track, usually the drivers are in search of outright speed, but that wasn't the case this time around. Instead the team of five drivers alternated every hour to see how far they could make the Mustang go on just one tank of gas. The new 3.7-liter V6 in the Mustang is rated at 305 horsepower and 30 mpg on the highway, and the team's goal was to cover 1,000 laps of the 0.533-mile "bull-ring" track.

Twelve and a half hours after they started, the car rolled to stop having covered 1,457 laps at an average speed of 43.9 miles per hour. The 16-gallon tank had been depleted at the rate of 48.5 miles per gallon. Not bad for a 305-hp sport coupe, and as they say, your mileage will vary. A lot.

[Source: Ford]

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* The 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 sets a new record by averaging 48.5 mpg on a track while completing 1,457 laps with an average speed of 43.9 mph
* Mustang is powered by a new 3.7-liter V-6 engine that uses advanced engineering and technology to deliver great performance and fuel economy
* More than 51,000 entries were received for the Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge with 22 entries guessing the winning number of laps
* A team of five drivers, including four Ford Mustang engineers and Ford NASCAR star David Ragan, drove the Mustang during its record run

Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge

BRISTOL, TN., June 24, 2010 – The 2011 Ford Mustang, which made history when it became the first car ever to deliver more than 30 mpg and 305 horsepower, has set a new record by running 1,457 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway while averaging 48.5 mpg.

The Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge was designed to demonstrate that a stock production Mustang V-6 could run 1,000 laps and 533 miles on a single of tank of fuel. With the aid of fuel efficient driving techniques by Ford engineers, the Mustang far surpassed its goal of 1,000 laps.

"To see a Mustang post average fuel economy of 48.5 mpg while running at Bristol is impressive," said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. "The new V-6 engine along with the advanced six-speed transmission in the car is a key element in delivering both fuel economy and performance for Mustang."

Ford is committed to being a fuel economy leader in every segment it competes in and Mustang's leads in its class along with other Ford fuel economy leaders like the Ford Fiesta, Fusion Hybrid and new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, America's most fuel efficient luxury sedan.

The Challenge team, which included NASCAR star David Ragan and four Ford Mustang engineers, completed the challenge in 17 hours and 40 minutes, showing off the 2011 Mustang V-6's class-leading fuel economy by averaging 48.5 mpg over the course of the 776.5 miles logged during the Challenge. That distance is more than the two complete NASCAR Sprint Cup events that take place in Bristol every year.

Ragan pushed the Mustang past the 1,000-lap mark at 7:26 p.m., 12 hours and 26 minutes into the Challenge, but the car wasn't close to being out of fuel. Mustang engineer Seong Park was behind the wheel when it finally came to a halt (on the backstretch) of the famed NASCAR track at 12:41 a.m. local time.

Other Mustang Challenge team drivers included Tom Barnes, Jonathan Mehl and Carl Ek, who along with Park, rotated through one-hour driving stints during the event, which took place at the world's fastest half-mile track.

"When we hit 1,000 laps we still had a quarter of a tank of gas left," said David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing, and the man who drove the 2011 V-6 Mustang past the 1,000 lap mark. "The last driving stint before I passed 1,000 laps I was averaging 43.7 miles a gallon and that is unbelievable. These guys have run the distance of more than two Sprint Cup races at Bristol and they still have fuel left. Congratulations to everyone behind the Mustang and to everyone at Ford, because this 2011 Mustang V-6 is really something special."

A team of Ford engineers prepared for the challenge by implementing fuel efficient driving tips like minimizing the use of air conditioning, steady and consistent driving, avoiding sudden stops/starts and by keeping the RPMs low. The engine in the Mustang is powered by a lightweight, all-aluminum 3.7-liter dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) V-6 engine that uses advanced engineering to deliver its combination of power and economy. Twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) adjusts the valve train in microseconds depending on driver inputs, further contributing to the engine's overall efficiency. The Mustang used in the challenge is a stock production vehicle that can be purchased through a Ford dealer.

"This is beyond our wildest dreams," said Tom Barnes, the lead engineer for the Ford Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge. "There have been a lot of people who have done a lot of things in preparing this 2011 Mustang V-6 to run the Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge and have the success we have had today. It was great when we went past the 1,000 lap mark with David, but nobody could ever imagine that we still had five hours ahead of us. This is a fantastic feeling and it shows again what a great car the 2011 Mustang V-6 is."

More than 51,000 consumers registered their guesses for the event at www.mustang1000lapchallenge.com. One lucky consumer that correctly guessed 1,457 laps will be randomly drawn from all correct entries and will win their own 2011 Mustang V-6.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't think we're getting the full story here. If Ford advertises the mileage on the new Mustang at 30 MPG highway, how can this "unmolested" V6 Mustang get nearly 50 MPG on the track? So if I buy one and drive at 44 MPH, I should get 50 MPG? I don't believe it.
      I'm confused.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I believe this is a bunch of garbage. From 30 MPG to 48 MPG? Anyone who believes this is gullible. Ford is getting worse than GM with their boasting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Driving slowly around a banked track for hours upon end? Why did they have to listen to NASCAR, it sounds like they had all the excitement of NASCAR right there....
      • 4 Years Ago
      What other word than "Impressive" can you use for MPG numbers...
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's some nice numbers and all, but I'd like for them to explain to me how I could hold a nice steady 43 mph for 17 hours while driving on the road.

      I bet I could get my car to hit those numbers or higher if I held a steady speed for a tank of a fuel. Trouble is, I'll be darned if I can ever do that where I need it... on the street.

      I appreciate your efforts Ford and I'm more than impressed with what you've achieved with the V6 Mustang, but this demonstration has me a bit baffled as to what it is supposed to prove.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess my point is that I think darn near any car can do this. You put a vehicle in ideal conditions and it'll vastly out-perform what it could normally do in day to day use.
      • 4 Years Ago

      Although I wonder if the car was Stick or Automatic?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Although it was a controlled experiment, 48.5mpg is still pretty impressive for a v6 sport coupe with 0-60 in the low-mid 5s. If they didn't stop and change 5 different drivers the mpg would actually be higher along with the average vehicle speed. So the real mpg is probably more in the lower 50s.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sure I could pull off crazy, Prius-like MPG numbers too, if I we're allowed to drive 25 MPH (residential speeds) on the highway/freeway and I allowed myself an hour and a half to get to work (one-way). All of us could, BUT that's not reality!

      I appreciate high MPG as much as the next person, but let's be serious, this is a publicity stunt so that the salesmen at Ford dealerships can say..."Hey Mr./Mrs. Customer, did you know the Ford Mustang V6 can get up to 48.5 MPG?!"

      Nice try...FAIL!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you missed the point; I doubt Ford is going to tell people that it is reasonable to expect this kind of mileage on a regular basis in their Mustang.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Perhaps government should look at urban traffic management. This test (or stunt depending on your level of cynicism) did do a good job demonstrating the fuel economy available without the requisite accelerating/decelerating/idling of normal driving.

      Instead of a push strategy like CAFE, or a massive fuel tax pull strategy, just begin with simple things like improved timing of lights for controlled intersections on major or intermediate surface streets. However, I'm guessing that suggesting that government take corrective actions as the initial actions of a comprehensive energy policy will be a non-starter (there is my cynicism showing through).
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I was typing my long comment, you posted the same basic idea! I agree completely...
      • 4 Years Ago
      You guys are missing the point or looking into it WAYYY too much.... I think Ford just did this for "fun" and to get guys like us on message boards and blogs talking about it... They have certainly achieved it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Real-world mileage still gets you around 20mpg, and that's what matters more than a circuit-controlled hypermiling stunt.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Gruv - How does this not reflect real world drive AT ALL? Mileage is all up to the driver and this test just shows what the car is capable of. The coasting downhill comment was entirely irrelevant, so I wouldn't be too quick to call other people slow. The fact of the matter is a stock, 2011 Mustang V6 just threw down 48.5mpg, and that's quite an accomplishment regardless of how it was achieved.

        Had your coffee yet? Or are you just an idiot? No need for derogatory statements either; it's a forum everyone is entitled to their own comments (without the worry of someone attacking them personally). Grow up.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Normal trucks in the US top out at 80,000 Pounds, or 40 Tons. If they have extended wheelbases, or are carrying more then one trailer they can go up.

        Average run of the mill truck however is limited at 80,000 Pounds. That is also strictly enforced.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Considering most highways have a minimum speed of 45mph this is actually a realistic experiment. I'm not sure you'd want to do 45 mph on the highway for fear of a 20 ton semi truck rear ending you at 90 mph, but you still can repeat this experiment easily lol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This isn't any more a "stunt" than testing for top speed, panic braking distance, or skidpad performance. None of those limits are tested in normal driving, either, but it's good to know the limits.

        I honestly think this is a spectacular result, even if it isn't strictly "real-world". I'm planning to get a new 'Stang next spring, and I'm on the fence between the V6 and the GT. This is helping me make my decision, though...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, this is stupid. If I take a viper to a high altitude and coast all the way down, I'm sure I could achieve stellar MPG too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Carlos: you seem to contradict yourself, saying it's "realistic" then pointing out how unrealistic it is.

        Plus: *20* ton semi? Are you sure? Unladen, then? I'm not familiar with US truck regulations, but across the EU, 44 ton is typical, and the US has far bigger vehicles. I'd say closer to 50 ton, perhaps as much as 60 going by size alone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Regardless of what you want to call it, the 2011 Mustang is still a 305 hp V6 beast that gets 30 mpg on the highway, all for $22,000 base. That's an achievement. Ford has every right to be proud of that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wonder what GM could do with a Camaro on the interstates being aeropaced by a H2...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Guys, this discussion is ridiculous.

        I averaged 37mpg in a huge 11 year old, 90k miles, 3.5L American sedan on a 4h trip including huge climbs. Does that mean the car was super-efficient? It averaged 21mpg on a daily basis.

        Whine as much as you want, at the end of the day, the Redneck Ferrari still gets a paltry 22mpg.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sure, it's a great achievement, not arguing against it.
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