"Clear Conscience" S197-S550 Track Car


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Aug 19, 2021
Yuba City, Sutter, California, USA
TL;DR: what's the best Mustang for amateur track use on a shoestring budget? meaning I can't just go buy a GT350. I go through my reasoning below but damn didn't realize that was so long.

I have a dilemma! I'm over half done building a Nissan track car and looking to do the same with a Mustang next fall 2022. I'm a lifelong Mustang fan but only a recent Nissan convert (if you've never wrenched on one, I highly recommend it). My 11 GT500 is unsuited to the track. I don't want to use it up, either. I need another Mustang to "screw up" without regrets. My goal is 8:1 or TT1/TT2 (unlimited upgrades without spec rules). High miles since it will get abused and rebuilt as needed. Not stripped full race but maybe 50/50. Interested in opinions for a car no one will miss. Just writing down my thoughts. Opinions?

05-10 GT: If I go this route, I'd rather get a Roush 427R/P51 or similar GT build to save time as a starting point. I can't see an advantage over a 5.0/5.4 except in weight. Leaning away from here. Opinions? Even Ford Racing parts are becoming scarce. A Roush, for instance, will end up becoming a M90 or TVS GT in the long term due to replacement parts. (Roush treats their street cars like their race cars, not looking back).

05-10 GT500: I don't mind 100 extra lbs in the front since some weight will be removed and rear brakes/anti-roll can be set to compensate for front dive. I like this choice better than a GT because parts are more available. Same suspension/brake upgrades would be needed. Overall it just feels like a stronger starting point. Opinions?

11-14 GT: If I'm going into this era, a Boss makes sense. Starting with a regular Boss would be fun and I would leave the engine alone (mostly). Unlike the previous two eras, this could just be a "tires&pads" track car, left otherwise streetable. That's very appealing and a tough choice vs an Fe GT500. I feel that a Boss would be more enjoyable on track keeping in mind I'm talking about a high mileage low-cost example.

11-14 GT500: I own one and not gonna find one at a reasonable price point for track. A high mileage is still gonna go for 30k. Not the best bang/buck. I would choose a Boss over this as well.

15+ GT: If I can find one for 20k, then this would rise above a Boss in my list due to the IRS and stiffer chassis. Very trackable with just tires&pads as a starting point but the body style doesn't excite me at all like previous eras. That being said, I'm more likely to drive the hell out of it and it will take the abuse better than previous eras.
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