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May 26, 2016

My driving companion is getting used to the car; I think he's surprised. He's used to driving exotic cars for a living as a sales consultant at a premium auto dealer in Toronto. As he winds the 2015 Mustang GT up through the gears, he realizes that it has a surprising amount of acceleration for a car this reasonably priced. By comparison to the six-figure ultra cars that would absolutely break your heart if you cracked up at a race track, this you could flail this $50k beast all day long and not feel guilty if something happens. Besides, 435 horsepower is respectable. With the track suspension, a staggered set of 19"x9" and 19"x10" rims from Ford Performance and a stickier set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports, we had one more stop before heading to Calabogie Motorsport Park. We found a supportive Ford dealer to adjust our alignment to the maximum negative camber they were permitted to go, and a slight toe out up front. We sensed we weren't going to be the most competitive team there but we would be able to hold our own. We'll see...

Duncan and I are both somewhat victims of circumstance. He talked me into signing up to this event in the first place and we registered individually. It sounded like my kind of vacation; five days, three tracks, three disciplines, bring your own car and entourage if you want to. The three tracks are Calabogie Motorsport Park, west of Ottawa, Shannonville Motorsport Park, and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly Mosport, outside of Toronto. Duncan was going to take his 2016 BMW M4, but he had an accident with it at turn 5 at Mosport a few weeks earlier. He's an expert driver and instructor at that track but I guess it can happen to anyone. I bought a brand new 2016 Shelby GT350 for the purpose. I bought the Tech Package, which included heated and air conditioned seats, GPS and some other creature comforts, but it did come with the good Magnatronic shocks, so I figured it would retain most of the benefits of the Track Package. I also figured I could add more track components if I wanted to. How wrong was I? Shortly after geniuses like me started taking delivery of our cars and taking them out for an occasional track day, reports started surfacing of GT350's pooping out and going into limp mode as their transmissions overheated after just 2-3 vigorous laps. I witnessed this myself at a couple of events with other people's cars. The sale tag went onto the car before what could be considered 'delivery mileage' had been exceeded. These two unrelated events meant that it made more sense to combine our efforts. We enlisted the shop's 2015 Mustang GT for the purpose.

The little red GT was perhaps the first Mustang sold in Canada – we're not sure. All I know is that months prior to the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, we looked high and low to find one - any one. Our factory order, one of the first in Canada, got delayed. Cars from a second, later batch started arriving. We found one in St. Georges de Beauce, Quebec, near the New Hampshire border. I went to go pick it up – it wasn't that far out of the way -just 600 miles. I'm not sure how we knew it or who told us, but we knew of its arrival prior to the dealer, and it hadn't been sold yet. I drove it back to the shop the day after we bought it. Then we hung a supercharger on it, changed out the wheels and tires, upgraded the brakes and suspension and took it to SEMA. After the show, we took the supercharger off and the car pretty much sat around. I drove it occasionally and loved it, but had other vehicles to keep me occupied. Now it was being pressed into service against stronger and better prepared competition. We hoped it would survive.

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