• Nov 11, 2010
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Click either image for high-res image gallery

As if the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 wasn't tempting enough with 440 horsepower and killer good looks, Ford is throwing in a few extra goodies to make it that much more desirable.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 TracKeyFirst off, the Blue Oval announced today that owners of the new Boss 302 will receive a dual set of keys, one of which, 'TracKey,' activates a secondary PCM race tune that alters nearly 200 engine management parameters for the 5.0-liter V8. "From an engine management standpoint, we've done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience," says Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. "It's not for use on the street – for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits." The TracKey also features a two-stage launch control feature similar to the one on the Cobra Jet Mustang that can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel.

Not wanting all of that new technology to go to waste, Ford has also announced that it will be offering customers a complimentary track day to test out their new ride. Offered through Team Mustang and Ford Racing, Boss 302 owners will be treated to driving instruction and track time at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. Owners will need to book their own travel arrangements, but once there, everything is free of charge.

With the way things are shaping up for the Boss, we're already pondering second mortgages and/or raiding our children's college funds for one of the coolest pony cars ever. If you're good at resisting such temptations, hit the jump and read all of the details in the press releases from Ford.

[Source: Ford]

Show full PR text
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 11, 2010 – You hold two keys: One has a black Boss logo, the other red: Either will start your 2012 Mustang Boss 302. Slide the all-black key into the lock cylinder, give it a twist and you're treated to 444 ponies worth of smooth, streetable driving joy. Or choose red – the TracKey – and you have a competition-ready track car.

A joint project between Mustang engineers and Ford Racing, TracKey adds a second set of powertrain control module (PCM) software to a customer's Mustang Boss 302, activated by a specially programmed vehicle key. When invoked by TracKey, the new TracMode software alters more than 200 engine management parameters, increasing low-end torque and turning the potent but well-mannered stock Boss into a competition-ready track car. Remove TracKey and start Boss with the standard key, and all factory engine settings are restored for a comfortable drive home from the course.

"From an engine management standpoint, we've done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience," explains Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. "It's not for use on the street – for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits."

As part of the TracKey software package, Ford engineers also devised a two-stage launch control feature similar to that used on the Cobra Jet race car. Using a combination of steering wheel buttons, drivers can set the tach needle to a desired launch rpm. Floor the throttle and the engine will rev to the preset rpm until the clutch is released, helping aid acceleration and vehicle control from a standing start.

One key, hundreds of changes
Devised during an all-night garage brainstorming session among core Mustang team members, TracKey introduces the concept known as the dual-path powertrain control module. The industry-first, patent-pending innovation allows two separate sets of engine management software to exist on a single PCM, selected through the existing SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) transceiver found in current production keys.

The TracKey PCM software, installed by an authorized Ford dealer after a customer takes delivery of the car, adjusts variable cam timing, spark maps, engine braking, fuel control and other engine parameters – more than 200 in total – to provide a complete race car calibration. The result is an aggressive, race-bred driving experience all the way down to the lopey idle rumbling through the Boss quad exhaust.

"Anything that could possibly affect all-out performance is deleted from the TracKey calibration," said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. "Throttle limiting and torque management – any daily driveability enhancements are removed and replaced with a pure Ford Racing competition calibration."

When TracKey is removed and the vehicle is started with the standard key, the PCM settings are automatically drawn from the factory Boss 302 instruction set again without any additional modifications needed – a huge advantage over aftermarket tuning chips and ECU reprogramming. The convenience is useful for enthusiasts who want all-out performance at the racetrack but stock driveability for the journey there and back.

An after-hours obsession
In the early stages of TracKey development, a major challenge was the complexity of installing multiple PCM computers and switching between them. However, Ford controls engineers developed a method to choose between two unique sets of software in a single powertrain control module on the Boss 302: The dual-path PCM was born.

"We installed the 302R software on the same PCM that held the stock Boss software," says Seaman. "Then the controls engineers developed a software system to activate one or the other, depending upon which key was used to start the vehicle. Really, all the parts to make this work existed – the Ford MyKey® system was already using the PATS transceiver to perform specific actions based on the key used to start the car, and the PCM was flexible enough to handle multiple control modules. It was just putting everything together."

As the project unfolded, the team was driven by the uniqueness of what they were trying to accomplish, and TracKey became an obsession. Considering the compressed time frame in which the technology was developed, motivation was essential to the creation of the finished product.

"We've all been really excited about TracKey, so it came together quickly," explained Pericak. "The concept was first discussed in spring 2009, and here we are 18 months later with a finished, tested, verified product. It's a perfect example of what can happen when you get a core, cross-functional team willing to contribute 24/7 to bring a great idea to life."

TracKey powertrain software installation and key programming will be available to 2012 Mustang Boss 302 owners through Ford Racing authorized dealers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 11, 2010 – Buyers of Ford's highly anticipated Mustang Boss 302 will now get a hands-on track driving experience to learn just what their car is capable of as part of a new complimentary program being announced today.

"The Mustang Boss 302 is a very special vehicle, tuned to perform on a racetrack," said Mickey Matus, marketing manager, Ford Racing. "It's an absolute blast to drive on the street but we want owners to be able to experience all the incredible balance, power and performance engineered into this machine, and the only safe way to do that is to push the car to the limit on a closed course. This is only natural, since the Boss grew up on the racetrack."

The Boss Track Attack program, offered through Team Mustang and Ford Racing, will feature a full Boss immersion, driving instruction and plenty of track time with engineers and racers. The experience is designed to give Boss owners a comprehensive, hands-on look at exactly what their cars are capable of – and just how much fun they can be.

Boss Track Attack will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City. Boss owners will need to make their own travel and lodging arrangements, but once in Utah, the full track experience – including cars for the event – is courtesy of Ford.

The evening before the track day, owners will be treated to a welcome reception followed by an in-depth immersion into both the non-product and product stories of the Boss 302, focusing on how the program came to be and the underlying engineering and design philosophy. The next morning, participants will convene at the track for a full day of driving instruction and course time.

"Practice makes perfect, and in this case it's going to be a ton of fun, too," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "There's nothing like the experience of being behind the wheel of a high-performance car on a dedicated track. It's the environment that breeds incredible machines like Mustang Boss, and for owners who want to experience all these cars are capable of, we can promise an unforgettable event."

More details about Track Attack, including dates, will be available in early 2011.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I want one with out the retro ugly rims and all the effects on it. The GT body looks much better... out this performance in GT body and I am sold.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Okay wait, I don't understand!
      Isn't this system the same as the knobs they usually place on sports cars that turn daily driving into more aggressive driving like sport mode. Why didn't they just install a knob like that, with normal and track day driving.

      What am I missing?

      And please be gentle! LOL
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think Molson may be onto something. Look at comment number 55.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the late 1960s, a buddy of mine had a then-new Boss 302 - yellow with black graphics - which was a beautiful car. These new ones are painted-up like clown cars. Who came up with this new paint scheme? Barnum & Bailey?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Considering that it closely patterns the '69 Boss 302, I'm not sure what you're on about...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Um, they should investing in a high tech independent rear end.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great concept, and the first thing that immediately came to mind was that the C4 ZR1 did something very similar to this 20 years ago with the power key on the center console.

      I've always been a GM guy, but it's hard to ignore the run that Ford has been on recently.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ahh! could't care more about the mustang... i swear its looked the same since 2004 onwards... not what you call an interesting car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dude, come on. I've never been a fan of the Mustang or pony cars in general, but saying they've all looked the same since '04 is ignorant and stupid.

        Also, the phrase is: "Couldn't care less"..."Couldn't care more" means you're in love with it...obviously you're confused on too many levels to count...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Please leave.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I suppose you have not been paying attention.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...wow. As an M3 owner, the regular GT was already looking more tempting than EVER. The Boss is Impressive. Although I would still rather have a button. What if I was driving an older family member around and want the Smoothness....then I drop them off and want the Sport, and now I have to change keys? Um, right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this kind of thing is not new. It first appeared in Volvo where young drivers get a 'special' key that limits the car to 60km/h so they don't speed. However this is still cool and I which I can get something like that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The author stopped reading the press release a little too early.

      'TracKey powertrain software installation and key programming will be available to 2012 Mustang Boss 302 owners through Ford Racing authorized dealers. Pricing will be announced at a later date."

      This does not come equipped from the factory. It is a Ford Racing add-on and not standard equipment as suggested in this article.

      I have been reading about this on various sites and it is probably done this way for a reason- so the new tuning doesn't have to meet emissions requirements. If they just put a button in the car for it, both setups would have to meet all emissions requirements since it came that way from the factory. By selling the key and the software at the dealer after the owner has taken delivery, it becomes an owner modification. I won't be surprised if this package is labeled "for off road use only".
      • 4 Years Ago
      wont anyone who just buys this use the track key as their main key anyways?
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Drawbacks will be no stability control, generally bad gas mileage all things equal, and horrible emissions. The TracKey tune probably has less low-end torque, so driving through traffic will be less fun, as a race car only needs to start from a dead-stop once.

        I'm sure 95% of people out there won't be able to drive it well with the TracKey. But the demographic that are buying a ~$60k+ Mustang aren't the same as the general population, for better or worse I don't know.
        • 4 Years Ago
        After test driving the 5.0 GT, I'm not sure I'd want any more power than it already has while going around town for errands. Even the stock GT is a beast. It's a difficult car to drive slowly as it is.

        I'd save the race key for the windy backroads near my mother's house.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sadly when someone kills themselves because they think like some of the morons here then no one else will ever do this again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What I was thinking... throw the other ones in the garbage... MAYBE the wife gets one... race key goes in my pocket. When they say "not for use on the street" I hear "this is the only one you want to use, ever."
        • 4 Years Ago
        ..unless you want to stop.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No kidding! I'd use the TracKey daily just so I could get that off-throttle bark at every stoplight.
        • 4 Years Ago
        hmm...well in regards to using the key on the street, when i read "aggressive engine braking", that translates to "slowing my car down without the brakes on the street so the moron behind me on his cell phone will come plowing into me"
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sooner or later someone will be able to fix that by re-programing the ECU.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hellz yeah!!! I know I would. Wonder if there are any draw backs tho.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very interesting idea. I doubt it will mean much to the "true" track-driving enthusiast though. Reason being that both calibrations must still meet federal requirements for street use, which means, there's still a whole lot more to get out of the engine management system for use strictly "off-road".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please with no stripes!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. I like the orange one with black wheels, but I'd have to peel the graphics. Performance should be in the punch, not in the visuals.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes! This bad boy would be the ultimate stealth car. There are a ton of Mustang variations out there, especially aftermarket. If I get one I'd like it to be blacked-out but not tasteless.
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