IF IT HAP­PENED THIS MONTH, IT’S IN HERE FORD MUS­TANG MACH 1 boasts atmo 5.0-litre V8 – and proper track dura­bil­ity

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS - BY CHRIS THOMP­SON

Ford readies its Mach 1 track-ready Mus­tang; tech of the next VW Golf GTI

FORD WILL RE­VIVE the leg­endary Mus­tang Mach 1 name­plate with a 358kW, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 5.0-litre V8 mated to a six-speed man­ual gear­box – and it’s all but set to come to Aus­tralia.

In what will be the hottest factory it­er­a­tion yet of Ford’s Coy­ote 5.0-litre, also avail­able with a 10-speed auto, the lim­ited edi­tion Mach 1 also prom­ises proper track per­for­mance and dura­bil­ity cour­tesy of nu­mer­ous go-faster parts pinched from the Shelby GT350 – in­clud­ing much of its cool­ing sys­tem.

The Mach 1 badge, as its name sug­gests, has al­ways been syn­ony­mous with the fastest Mus­tang you could buy short of ven­tur­ing into the realm of Shelby or Boss badges. The name was in­spired by fighter pi­lot Chuck Yea­ger, the first man to break the sound bar­rier. The original Mach 1 de­buted in 1969.

Re­ally, we should have seen this com­ing. The last time Ford build a Mach 1 was in the early 2000s, not long after the 2001 Bul­litt. Sound fa­mil­iar? This time around, the 2019 Bul­litt’s en­gine tune pow­ers the Mach 1. And that’s just the way Ford’s chief pro­gram en­gi­neer for the Mus­tang wants it.

“I love the way the Bul­litt motor pulls all the way to red­line, it’s one of the best 5.0 litres we’ve ever done,” Ford Per­for­mance Chief En­gi­neer Carl Wid­mann tells MOTOR. This setup in­cluded an air box and in­take man­i­fold from the Shelby GT350, as well as a larger 87mm throt­tle body.

(This also means if the Mach 1 did come to Aus­tralia it would be rated at 345kW as the Bul­litt is, given the dif­fer­ence in fuel and test­ing pro­ce­dures be­tween Aus­tralia and the US when mea­sur­ing en­gine out­puts.)

“As we’re go­ing through how to set up the pow­er­train,” Wid­mann says, “we went through how to get as much power into the en­gine as we can, but also have all the lift bal­ance we need at high speed. We de­cided to go with the Bul­litt’s setup for the motor, that open air box gives you that nice, vis­ceral V8 sound from the 5.0-litre. It re­ally gave us the V8 power all the way to 7500rpm we were look­ing for from this ve­hi­cle.”

Even though this means the Mach 1 will have fa­mil­iar out­puts of 358kW and 570Nm (Amer­i­can fig­ures), you can rest as­sured the Mach 1 won’t just be ‘Bul­litt Part 2’. There’s a host of en­gi­neer­ing that’s gone into mak­ing the Mach 1 a more track-fo­cused car than the GT or the Bul­litt, and the ques­tion of cool­ing is the first to be an­swered.

While Ford says the stan­dard 5.0litre GT wasn’t built to be a track car, es­pe­cially not with its 10-speed auto, the Mach 1 will bor­row a more in­tense cool­ing sys­tem from its Shelby-badged bros. The en­tire front bar of the Mach 1 has been al­tered from the stan­dard Mus­tang to ac­count not only for a design which fea­tures some retro styling

cues, but also to ac­com­mo­date its new cool­ing sys­tem.

“The trick to this is re­ally to en­gi­neer the Shelby’s cooler setup which is two side air-cool­ers,” Wid­mann says. “There’s an oil cooler on one side for the en­gine oil which im­proves that cool­ing by about 50 per cent, and a trans­mis­sion oil cooler on the other side which hooks into ei­ther a man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. This gives us flex­i­bil­ity for both track per­for­mance and as a de­cent straight-line car with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and the power of the Bul­litt motor.”

The Mach 1 will be avail­able with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or a 10-speed torque con­verter auto. The for­mer is ac­tu­ally the Tre­mec unit from the GT350 up­graded with rev-match­ing, and with the GT’s twin-disc clutch and short­shifter. The lat­ter is Ford’s 10R80 auto fit­ted with an oil cooler that in­creases cool­ing by 75 per cent. The rear axle also uses the cool­ing sys­tem from the GT500, as well as its rear dif­fuser.

In terms of mak­ing sure this new cool­ing setup was up to the task, the team be­hind Mach 1 had a sur­pris­ing tar­get to meet, ac­cord­ing to Wid­mann.

At Michi­gan’s Grat­tan Race­way, where Ford per­forms a fair amount of its test­ing, the base­line for en­durance was set eight years ago.

“It’s a short track, but we ran en­durance set­ups and the tar­get was … the 2012 man­ual Boss [302]. Dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cle of course, the [Mach 1] is a lot faster than the 2012 Boss, but that’s the tar­get we have from the ar­chive. We go to that track and we know how many laps that car did.”

Fur­ther­ing the Mach 1’s track cre­den­tials is the sus­pen­sion setup which is unique to the model. Wid­mann says since the adap­tive Mag­neride is stan­dard on all Mach 1s, it al­lowed the team to use the sway bars and springs to cre­ate a more fo­cused setup with soft­ware learn­ings bor­rowed from the Shelby-badged cars. The wheels all around the car were also widened by half an inch (now 9.5 inches wide at the front, 10 at the rear) to pro­vide more grip. An op­tional han­dling pack for the man­ual model widens the wheels again and also adds a larger front split­ter, a ‘swing’ spoiler with a Gur­ney flap, and rear tyre spats from Shelby GT500.

The full suite of aero­dy­namic

en­hance­ments – de­signed with the know-how of a NASA aero­dy­nam­i­cist

– to the Mus­tang’s body for the Mach 1 cre­ate a more sta­ble high-speed lift bal­ance, while the over­all down­force is 22 per cent more than a GT with the US Per­for­mance Pack Level 1 fit­ted, in­creas­ing to 150 per cent if the Mach 1 is op­tioned with the Han­dling pack­age.

Un­der­neath, there’s an un­der­belly pan unique to the Mach 1, which ex­tends fur­ther back along the car to in­crease air­flow, as well as air foils which di­rect air to cool the brakes. But some of the more vis­i­ble changes on ar­eas like the face were im­ple­mented not only with aero, but also with retro in mind.

“It’s got an ag­gres­sive look for what is an ag­gres­sive ve­hi­cle,” Wid­mann says, point­ing out the changes made from the stan­dard GT’s front end. “We spent a lot of time clean­ing up the front end for that fas­cia, the split­ters and grilles, the colour-match­ing, to give some beauty and sim­plic­ity to it, but also so that all the heat ex­chang­ers get the air­flow that they re­quire to meet that ag­gres­sive work on the track that we’re look­ing for.”

While the front grille in par­tic­u­lar is a big part of the Mach 1’s styling, Wid­mann says cus­tomers miss­ing that last lit­tle Mach 1 touch in the fog lights need not be up­set that reg­u­la­tions pre­vent Ford from fit­ting them as new.

“We re­ally wanted fog lamps in [the grille] but reg­u­la­tion-wise you can’t have them there, like the clas­sic run­ning lamps from the 1960s. So, we’ll kind of leave that to the af­ter­mar­ket teams. Those [shapes] pop out and I’m very con­fi­dent [the] af­ter­mar­ket will fig­ure out how to come up with some­thing to go in there.”

Pro­duc­tion num­bers and any word on whether the Mach 1 will make its way out­side of the US are be­ing kept hush by Ford for now, but we’re told it will be a “rel­a­tively low” pro­duc­tion run with Amer­i­can cus­tomers ex­pected to start tak­ing de­liv­er­ies around Q2 2021.

Ford Aus­tralia’s of­fi­cial state­ment to MOTOR was that “The Mach 1 news is spe­cific to the US. Here, in Aus­tralia, we’re proud of Mus­tang R-Spec as our halo model, with the 2020 GT and 2.3L High Per­for­mance mod­els of­fer­ing greater value and choice for this iconic name­plate.” Here’s to hop­ing that might change in the fu­ture.

MAIN Pic­tured is the stan­dard Mach 1, with graph­ics and front grille in­spired by its pre­de­ces­sors of the 1960s and ‘70s, but no Han­dling Pack ad­denda

Stop, press! COVER STORY

RIGHT ‘Mach 1’ badg­ing mim­ics the original style of the 1969 ver­sion, while stripes are more a sim­i­lar ‘vibe’ ➜

ABOVE RIGHT The 1969 original and the 2020 re­make. The Han­dling Pack is the one to get – if it’s com­ing to Aus­tralia. Start pray­ing to ev­ery god you know

ABOVE Han­dling Pack wheels are fin­ished in ‘Tar­nished Dark’ and are wider than stan­dard Mach 1 wheels

ABOVE Not a lot dif­fer­ent in­side save for seat stitch­ing, build num­ber badges, sill plates and, in man­ual cars (auto pic­tured) a Bul­litt cue-ball shift knob

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