Test Drives: Mustang Boss 302
Lessons in racing with Ford's resurrected model
Ford invited me to spend the day at their Ford Racing High Performance Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The "Boss Track Attack" was the featured program—an opportunity to push the new Mustang Boss 302 on a professional raceway was something hard to pass up.
Reintroduced in 2012, the Mustang Boss 302 is the company's second fastest production Mustang (behind the lust-worthy Shelby GT500). Its namesake is an upgraded model produced in 1969 and 1970 to compete with the Camaro that featured a new engine dubbed the "Boss" along with a spoilers, window treatments and a rear deck. Likewise, today's Boss 302 features performance-based upgrades including a Hi-Po 302 Ti-VCT V8 engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, Brembo front rotors and calipers, adjustable shocks, a roll cage and Safecraft 6-point belts as well as cosmetic upgrades.
The full day course—free to owners of the Boss 302—starts with some classroom time focusing on proper technique, theory and vehicle dynamics. A visit to the skid pad in a car that sits in a wheeled frame that partially lifts the body to simulate slip conditions provides instruction in how to control the car during an unintentional corner taken too fast. Properly schooled, we headed out to the course with a driving instructor to hone our skills. My group of four cars did lead and follow exercises with our instructor, followed by a ride with the instructor (individual track time with an instructor is typically included as well, though we ran out of time).
Miller Motorsports Park's 4.5-mile, 24-turn circuit is the longest in North America, with a 3,500-foot straightaway on which the beastliest of engines can reach speeds of 200 MPH. It's a blast to drive, and the views of a pristine stretch of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon add a scenic touch.
The Boss 302 also includes TracKey, an alternate key that enables track performance by adjusting 200 parameters for optimal performance. Using the TracKey all day we reaped the benefit of enhanced cam timing, engine braking, fuel control and a second set of power train control modules.
We also had the chance to drive the Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition, a further souped-up version with racing seats, Torsen limited-slip rear differential and a rigid cross-car x-brace among other features.
The Ford Racing High Performance Driving School offers a number of courses for Ford owners and enthusiasts, and is a great way to get to know your wheels. Visiting the track also gives one an excuse to fawn over the Larry Miller's personal vintage racecar collection at the Larry H. Miller Total Performance Auto Museum.
Images by Evan Orensten and Jeremy Henrie