The frustration of the Mustang teams came to a head this past weekend at Mid-Ohio when their quickest car finished in 10th place in Saturday's race. To compound their problems, seven of the Mustang race cars had overheating issues, a problem that the teams say is due to the small air restrictors mandated for the Mustang by the SCCA. Tiger Racing experienced two engine failures, while another driver experienced temperatures so high in the cabin that the rubber soles of his shoes melted.
In protest, each of the Mustang teams decided to sit out Sunday's race, parking their cars in pit lane after the initial formation lap. "The Mustang owners and drivers collectively and unanimously feel that the SCCA's method of creating parity is not working and leaves the Mustang with a significant handicap in many areas, and an advantage in NO area," said the teams in a collective statement released yesterday. "The Boss Mustang teams held meetings with series officials throughout the Mid-Ohio event in an attempt to regain some level of competitiveness, but those discussions proved fruitless. The teams collectively felt that their voices were not being heard and staged a protest to bring more attention to this matter."
Scroll down to read the official announcement or watch Justin Bell, driver of the Tiger Racing Mustang Boss 302S, talk about the protest.
The primary reason for the protest was driven by high engine temperatures caused by the very small restrictor the Boss 302 GTS Mustang is required to run to reduce the horsepower of the Mustang. This causes unusually high engine temperatures and all Mustangs were experiencing high engine coolant and oil temperatures. Two Mustangs failed to finish due to engine related issues. Some engine oil temperatures were in excess of 310°F which is quite a bit higher than normal. Engine coolant temperatures ranged from 240°F to 280°F. This is significantly higher than normal operating temperatures and puts the engine's computer into protect mode. This demonstrates that the restrictor has a compounding effect on the Mustang's ability to make horsepower and be competitive. The competitors collectively chose not to race their cars rather than risk further damage to the engines in their cars.
The secondary purpose of the protest was to bring attention to the current rules package for the Boss Mustang. The series has a very difficult task in trying to create parity between vastly different vehicle makes that achieve lap times in vastly different ways. Some have a power advantage, some have a stopping advantage, some have handling advantages, etc... The Mustang owners and drivers collectively and unanimously feel that the SCCA's method of creating parity is not working and leaves the Mustang with a significant handicap in many areas, and an advantage in NO area. The Boss Mustang teams held meetings with series officials throughout the Mid-Ohio event in an attempt to regain some level of competitiveness, but those discussions proved fruitless. The teams collectively felt that their voices were not being heard and staged a protest to bring more attention to this matter.
The top finishing Mustang in Saturday's race was 10th place. The fastest lap time of the fastest Mustang was some 1.4 seconds slower than the front running cars. All of the top six cars were greater than one-second clear of all Mustangs. The three fastest Mustangs were within 0.1 seconds of each other. This demonstrates that there is a clear disparity between the Mustang and all other makes.
The teams agree the use of inlet restrictors are the direct cause of the extensive engine overheating issues leading to eventual failures. In consideration of the high replacement costs of a new Boss 302 engine and the replacement of failed components due to the high heat stresses being applied to these engines, and the resultant safety issues stemming from exhaust fumes entering the car, it is agreed SCCA must stop its parity by restricting the Fords.
Failures of note are:
-Tiger Racing: Two engine failures due to catastrophic engine over-temps
- JVK Motorsports: Elevated ECT
- Rehagen Racing: Exhaust Manifold blowout, cracking and extreme driver compartment heat.
- GSP Racing: Extreme Driver compartment heat enough to melt the rubber soles of driver's shoes.
-Autosports Development: Elevated ECT
- R & C Motorsports: Exhaust manifold failures