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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where the Magic Happens: How a Ford Mustang Boss 302 Becomes a 302S Race Car

Ford builds the Boss 302S race car a few feet from where it builds the Boss 302 street car.

For most of us, $79,000 is a lot of money. But in the world of racing, $79,000 for a turn-key race car is pretty darn cheap. That’s how much the Ford Mustang Boss 302S costs, and it’s ready to race in the SCCA World Challenge GTS class and NASA’s American Iron Series.  The bad news: It’s not street legal, and only 50 will be built. The good news: We have pictures for you.

The 302S starts as an empty Mustang shell that is sent out to Watson Engineering in Taylor, Michigan, where the roll cage is installed and body modifications (such as mounting holes for the rear wing) are carried out. Then the car goes back to the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock (also home to the Mazda 6) to receive a factory paint job in orange or white. Regardless of color, all cars have a black roof.

From there, the 302S goes to a small corner of the Material Sequencing Center on the factory site for assembly. This area is normally used to learn and refine assembly procedures for new parts or processes, but it’s also home to special projects such as the 302S and the Cobra Jet. There are two lines, both of which roughly mimic the workstations and processes on the main Mustang assembly line.

One reason for the (relative) bargain price of the 302S is that it is very similar to the Mustang road car, taking many of its parts from the Ford Racing catalog. It also shares its engine and roll cage with its predecessor, the 302R. The engine is stock but for the addition of a Ford Racing oil pan and a special engine wiring harness;  specific engine tuning allows it to run Sunoco 260 GTX racing fuel. The transmission, clutch, and muffler are all from the Shelby GT500. Aside from its unique hood, front splitter, and rear spoiler, the bodywork is the same as the Boss 302 road car. The steering, which uses the same electrical assist as the road car, also gets a unique calibration. The shocks, springs, and anti-roll bars are all tuned to the 302S, and the bushings are replaced. The front brakes are upgraded to Brembos and have four-inch carbon-fiber cooling ducts that pull air from the front fascia.

You might also notice the giant black hood on the 302S. That is carbon fiber, as is the massive rear wing. We’re sure the hood is going to find its way on to more than one Boss road car, and the automotive world will be the better for it. Such a move, however, does come with risks: If a racing team needs some spare parts, the road-going Boss 302 has plenty to donate. So be sure to park your street car well away from any panicked-looking 302S crew chiefs.

View the original article here

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