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S197 My budget track 5.0 GT Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Finally attended my first track event with the Mohawk Track Experience at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven MI. What a BLAST. I was there for two days and it was an experience I'll never forget. I met so many great and knowledgeable people who were willing to let me annoy them all day with tons of questions. I was fortunate enough to come to this event "knowing" a few people already. While @EF1 was unable to attend this year, his buddies Bill and Brad were in attendance with their Bullit's and took me under their wing as my instructors. I also met @Steve68Cougar by consequence of hanging out with Bill and Brad, and got to drool over his sweet Roush. Was even recognized by my car by another member of this forum, Danny- just not sure what his username here is.

Pictures here are from the first day- was such an intense second day doing runs and ride along's that I forgot to take pictures hah. Got about 4 hours of seat time driving my car over the two days, and additional time sitting in the instructors' cars. My pretty much stock GT did so much better than I could have imagined. The first day my runs were a bit rough as I had little confidence in my car around corners and really had to learn how to flow through the lines of the track. My second day was a different story, with each run improving significantly over the previous one. By the end of the day I was carrying a lot of speed around corners, hitting apex's well with great exits, and really letting the car flow around the whole track without pinching my steering wheel. My braking confidence was also improved, I was able to dive deeper and brake smoother.

Had a blast hanging out with everyone- learned a ton on so many different topics. This event also taught me that the last thing I really need is more power- and I should be spending all of my money on brake pads and tires. While I am still hoping on getting a mild suspension setup with some camber before next year- I am going to be focusing on wide sticky tires next. One of the instructors at the track was selling his old set of RTR Tech 7's in 19x10.5. While they aren't the Apex wheels I was considering, the deal he cut me was an absolute steal (got the whole set for a bit more than what one Apex wheel would have cost) and they will give me the chance to run anywhere from 285's to 305's in a square setup.

Next year I will definitely be planning on doing all three days at this event, and probably head over to the Bullit National's with Bill and Brad for a couple days afterwards near Detroit.

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Last edited:
19
25
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Canton, Michigan
Finally attended my first track event with the Mohawk Track Experience at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven MI. What a BLAST. I was there for two days and it was an experience I'll never forget. I met so many great and knowledgeable people who were willing to let me annoy them all day with tons of questions. I was fortunate enough to come to this event "knowing" a few people already. While @EF1 was unable to attend this year, his buddies Bill and Brad were in attendance with their Bullit's and took me under their wing as my instructors. I also met @Steve68Cougar by consequence of hanging out with Bill and Brad, and got to drool over his sweet Roush. Was even recognized by my car by another member of this forum, Danny- just not sure what his username here is.

Pictures here are from the first day- was such an intense second day doing runs and ride along's that I forgot to take pictures hah. Got about 4 hours of seat time driving my car over the two days, and additional time sitting in the instructors' cars. My pretty much stock GT did so much better than I could have imagined. The first day my runs were a bit rough as I had little confidence in my car around corners and really had to learn how to flow through the lines of the track. My second day was a different story, with each run improving significantly over the previous one. By the end of the day I was carrying a lot of speed around corners, hitting apex's well with great exits, and really letting the car flow around the whole track without pinching my steering wheel. My braking confidence was also improved, I was able to dive deeper and brake smoother.

Had a blast hanging out with everyone- learned a ton on so many different topics. This event also taught me that the last thing I really need is more power- and I should be spending all of my money on brake pads and tires. While I am still hoping on getting a mild suspension setup with some camber before next year- I am going to be focusing on wide sticky tires next. One of the instructors at the track was selling his old set of RTR Tech 7's in 19x10.5. While they aren't the Apex wheels I was considering, the deal he cut me was an absolute steal (got the whole set for a bit more than what one Apex wheel would have cost) and they will give me the chance to run anywhere from 285's to 305's in a square setup.

Next year I will definitely be planning on doing all three days at this event, and probably head over to the Bullit National's with Bill and Brad for a couple days afterwards near Detroit.

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Hi, I'm Danny, red s197 in the front row. It was nice to meet you, hope to see you at a few more track days!

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50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Next year I will definitely be planning on doing all three days at this event, and probably head over to the Bullit National's with Bill and Brad for a couple days afterwards near Detr

Hahah thanks- that's a long story. And not sure on the lap times- we weren't keeping time as we were more focused on just staying on the track 😄
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
6,842
5,908
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
Fantastic shots and Gingerman is such a fun track and area. South Haven is a great little town to wind down in after a day at the track and amazing how many Mustangs were at the event, yet I did not notice in your explanation that it was supposed to be a Blue Oval Event, just a Mohawk Track Weekend? Looks like a fun time and who knows how many might show up next year? Thanks for posting!
 
50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Fantastic shots and Gingerman is such a fun track and area. South Haven is a great little town to wind down in after a day at the track and amazing how many Mustangs were at the event, yet I did not notice in your explanation that it was supposed to be a Blue Oval Event, just a Mohawk Track Weekend? Looks like a fun time and who knows how many might show up next year? Thanks for posting!

There were a couple of imports (WRX STI and Honda s2000) and a couple of corvettes but otherwise it seemed to be an all Mustang event. I believe the event is open to any make/model but is organized by a guy who has a large presence in the Ford/Mustang community. The organizer of the event, Paul, brought his Ken Miles edition Ford GT and gave children in attendance rides around the track which was awesome to see.
 
441
386
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
Sounds like a great event for TMO folks. Is it run annually and how many cars were there total?
It is an annual event. It has been the Tuesday and Wednesday before Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. This was the first year Paul added Monday to get beginners up to speed quickly. A portion of the proceeds go to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I didn't make it this year due to car issues but last year there was 4 run groups with probably 15-20 cars in each group. The event was listed on the events page here at TMO and several people marked as going.
 
50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Dropped off the car at a reputable speed shop this morning for installation of a Steeda one piece aluminum driveshaft and MGW X-Spec Shifter. Was planning on doing the work myself but curiously emailed them for a quote and the $400 they’re charging total for both I figured I’d save myself a weekend of crawling underneath my car and having to lower the transmission.
 
50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
Update:

MGW X-Spec shifter and Steeda one piece aluminum driveshaft were installed a few weeks ago. This past week after work I installed a Boss 302 oil cooler along with a FRPP Boss 302s radiator.

MGW X-Spec shifter is perfect. So much crisper and sturdy than the stock shifter. I had only one experience with a short shifter a few years ago on a friend’s S550 where the throws were extremely short and I did not like the feel at all. The MGW X-Spec throw is definitely shorter than stock but still long enough to feel confident you’re putting the thing into gear. Nothing to note from the driveshaft upgrade- no noises or anything but can’t say I feel a tremendous difference anywhere. We’ll see if there’s anything to note at the track.

Boss 302 oil cooler and 302S radiator install was pretty straight forward. Zero issues with install. Fresh coolant flush and good to go. I know this “cooler” and radiator have mixed reviews but I felt good going with a FRPP product and something simple to install. Will keep an eye on temps.

Next track day October 1st at BlackHawk Farms Raceway with Revmatch followed by a closing weekend at Gingerman Raceway October 22/23.

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Next week I will be installing front FRPP wheel hubs with ARP extended studs. I have some open end lug nuts to go with them for now- not sure which way to go for a wheel setup. I know 19x11 Apex wheels would be best for track but I have to drive to the track and back and im not sure I want to run the required -2.75 degrees of camber all the time for tire life. 19x10 seems to be way less of a headache but feels like there’s no point if I can’t run 305s.
 
Last edited:
441
386
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Lenoir City TN
Update:

MGW X-Spec shifter and Steeda one piece aluminum driveshaft were installed a few weeks ago. This past week after work I installed a Boss 302 oil cooler along with a FRPP Boss 302s radiator.

MGW X-Spec shifter is perfect. So much crisper and sturdy than the stock shifter. I had only one experience with a short shifter a few years ago on a friend’s S550 where the throws were extremely short and I did not like the feel at all. The MGW X-Spec throw is definitely shorter than stock but still long enough to feel confident you’re putting the thing into gear. Nothing to note from the driveshaft upgrade- no noises or anything but can’t say I feel a tremendous difference anywhere. We’ll see if there’s anything to note at the track.

Boss 302 oil cooler and 302S radiator install was pretty straight forward. Zero issues with install. Fresh coolant flush and good to go. I know this “cooler” and radiator have mixed reviews but I felt good going with a FRPP product and something simple to install. Will keep an eye on temps.

Next track day October 1st at BlackHawk Farms Raceway with Revmatch followed by a closing weekend at Gingerman Raceway October 22/23.

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Next week I will be installing front FRPP wheel hubs with ARP extended studs. I have some open end lug nuts to go with them for now- not sure which way to go for a wheel setup. I know 19x11 Apex wheels would be best for track but I have to drive to the track and back and im not sure I want to run the required -2.75 degrees of camber all the time for tire life. 19x10 seems to be way less of a headache but feels like there’s no point if I can’t run 305s.
It sounds like the car is coming along. Okay, you went with the 302s radiator not the regular Boss 302 radiator with the plastic tanks. That is a good option.

Wheels and tires really depend on your end game. If you are building for competitive classes put the widest tire that class allows and you can fit. There is no doubt a car, all else being equal, will be faster on a wider tire. A dual use car is a series of compromises. You can fit the 11" wheels but it will cost you. You have already identified some of the alignment issues. 10" wide wheels with 275 or 285 tires are not slow, but not quite as fast as the 11" wheels with 315's. If a second or two per lap is worth it to you sacrifice some drivability and go for the 11" wheels with 315's.
 
50
61
Exp. Type
Autocross
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Chicagoland
It sounds like the car is coming along. Okay, you went with the 302s radiator not the regular Boss 302 radiator with the plastic tanks. That is a good option.

Wheels and tires really depend on your end game. If you are building for competitive classes put the widest tire that class allows and you can fit. There is no doubt a car, all else being equal, will be faster on a wider tire. A dual use car is a series of compromises. You can fit the 11" wheels but it will cost you. You have already identified some of the alignment issues. 10" wide wheels with 275 or 285 tires are not slow, but not quite as fast as the 11" wheels with 315's. If a second or two per lap is worth it to you sacrifice some drivability and go for the 11" wheels with 315's.

Thanks for the advice. I am leaning towards 19x10 with 285’s and some Pilot Sport 4s’s. I’m not winning any time attack events anytime soon and I think I have at least a few years where that 1-2 second difference with wider wheels will mean enough to me to sacrifice drivability.
 
Thanks for the advice. I am leaning towards 19x10 with 285’s and some Pilot Sport 4s’s. I’m not winning any time attack events anytime soon and I think I have at least a few years where that 1-2 second difference with wider wheels will mean enough to me to sacrifice drivability.
I’m having the same dilemma regarding what size wheels to buy for my 12 GT.
I’m thinking about 19x11 and Pilot Sport 4S in a 285 that way if I want to go wider I can. Admittedly I like the hassle free fitment of a 19x10 but I don’t want to end up buying another set of wheels.
Love the build btw
 

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