Autocrosser Forced Ride Change: Not By Choice

We have not heard from fellow autocrosser & esteemed Contributing Editor Eric for a spell.  Well, a couple of months ago, upon his return from an autocross event, his trusty steed Sunshine took a turn for the worse.  I will let Eric explain:

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I felt I should go back a couple months to September’s Spokes event at San Antonio Raceway, and what would turn out to be my last competitive event with Sunshine, my yellow C5 Z06 Corvette.  As you can tell by the pictures, it was a typical Spokes watercross, but still some 82 participants braved the rain.

Spokes wet 'Watercross' at San Antonio Raceway - staging on the grid - SEP 2012

As you can tell from the picture, at the beginning of the event, the rain was light, and remained that way throughout the first heat.  However, as the day wore on, it began to pick up until it was difficult to remain outside of the car between heats.  I lucked out that my work assignment was inside the trailer doing registration, and I can only imagine what it was like for the corner workers.

Eric's Sunshine's last autocross - Spokes SEP 2012, at San Antonio Raceway

Once again, Super Stock was made up of me, and Ray and his son Peter in Ray’s grey Lotus Elise.  The increasing rain made for some interesting challenges, including deep puddles that would send geysers of water over the hood and windshield of the car, making it almost impossible to know where you were going unless you looked far enough ahead in advance.  Unfortunately, my GoPro battery had died and thus I was unable to record any of my runs, and I left my spare at home.

Spokes wet 'Watercross' - not ideal weather, but makes you learn faster to drive well, or not!

Peter complained too that his Lotus, which was running Toyo R888s, was pushing badly, while I felt the Corvette’s balance, on fresh Nitto NT555R2s, was spot on.  In the end, it showed in the results.  I managed to pull a 56.20 on my third run, edging Peter’s 56.44 on what seemed to be a Lotus beneficial course.

All was fine until, during my drive home, the unthinkable happened.  The car snapped sideways for no reason while I was driving 60mph in a straight line on the highway, with all traction aids on.  The result was this:

Eric's Sunshine meets its final fate...

Fortunately, a number of my SASCA brothers and sisters stopped by to make sure I was still in one piece, and one of them, John T, let me sit in his car for an hour while we waited for a tow truck.  For that, and not minding the pieces of glass raining off me and onto his seats and carpet, I will be forever in his debt.

The insurance company decided, with every body panel and every window blown out of the car, and a big dent punched into the bottom of the frame from the wire barrier, that the car was a total loss.

Out a ride and with check in hand, I began searching for another autocross car.  Several I examined, including the GT-R and C6 Z06, would be expensive to buy and expensive to prepare, while several others, like the 996 chassis 911 Carrera, had the potential to become money pits.  Much as I loved her, after 7 years I didn’t want another C5, which brought me to a local Ford dealership, where I found myself behind the wheel of a steed similar to the one pictured below.

Candy Red Mustang 5.0 teaser ad

One test drive, which left salesperson Lee a little white faced, convinced me that the new Mustang was an improvement over the ponies of yore.  The Coyote 5.0 was powerful, flexible and responsive, while the chassis was very well balanced up to and beyond its limits.  The suspension was a little soft but I figured shocks would fix it, so I went trolling for quotes on the Internet and received the best one from Ted at Mac Haik Ford in Georgetown, Texas, who was able to sell me a custom ordered GT for just $600 over invoice.

Eric's new Ford Mustang 5.0, & the last you'll see of the Mac Haik name...

This past Friday, I took delivery!  Of course, because every day with Jay is an adventure, while giving me a ride to the dealership in his new C6, this happened…..

Dealer bound for Eric's new Ford Mustang 5.0, former class competitor Jay has to change a tire

…..but by leaving his Corvette by the side of the road and going back for it later, we made it to the dealership on time.

The Mustang is a Gotta Have It Green base model with tech package, 6-speed manual, Recaro seats and the track package that my wife’s nicknamed “Froggy.”  Some pics are below.

Eric's new Ford Mustang 5.0, in all its green Froggy glory

Eric's new Ford Mustang 5.0, here's the heart of the matter!

Just so she has some grip, my buddies at Discount Tire on 281 mounted up a set of Hoosier A6s on a second set of Ford Racing black Brembo package wheels.  At over 30lb each, the wheels are on the heavy side, and will likely become street wheels while I source more lightweight competition shoes.

Mods so far are limited to the wheels and tires, and a replacement of the stock brake fluid with some ATE Super Blue.  The car’s stock mufflers are quiet and heavy, so I ordered an MBRP Pro-Series axle back exhaust from Dan B. at, which should be worth about 5hp.  I can’t speak enough about his customer service, so if you need anything for your late model Mustang I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them!  Some stock-legal Ford camber bolts are also in the works, though they may not be installed until the shocks are replaced.

Her debut event will be this coming Sunday’s (11-NOV-2012) SASCA autocross, I’ll let you know how we do!

Well, Eric’s debut was actually yesterday & so we will have to wait & see how Froggy behaved.  It looks to me that he was in a class of his own; there was no one else in his FS (F Stock) class.  🙁  On the bright side, Eric was able to PAX in 8th out of 104 entries (with only 1 cone).  I’m impressed!  But oh well, Racing Ready anticipates good things for Eric’s new ride!


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