Like A Boss
Ford Racingâ€™s new calibration options give your â€™13-â€™14 Mustang a performance promotion
By Steve Turner
Photos and video courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Ford Racing
Admit it. When word of a new Mustang hits the streets, you start comparing its features to the Mustang in your garage. Inevitably, there are options you wish you could add to your car. Lots of people make the change with easy mods, like newer wheels on older â€™Stangs. However, some changes are harder to come by.
For many owners of modern Mustang GTs, it was the announcement of Ford Racingâ€™s TracKey upgrade option for the Boss 302 (PN M-14204-MBTKA; $302) that pegged the jealousy meter. Not only was this factory calibration upgrade backed by a warranty, but it added numerous drool-worthy features. Most notable among upgrades were a driver-adjustable two-step launch control, a pit-lane speed limiter, and the most-sought-after change, a cammed-up, lopey idle.
If you arenâ€™t familiar with the Boss 302 TracKey, be sure to check out these two videos:
For those who have been pining away for this upgrade since the Boss 302 has come and gone, your wait is over. Ford Racing has answered the prayers of owners of 2013-2014 Mustang GTs with manual transmissions by adding two new Track calibration options its repertoire.
â€œThe mid-year change on the 2014 GT cluster allowed us to apply TracKey. We had a customer demand from GT owners after the success of the Boss 302 TracKey,â€ Jesse Kershaw,Â Drag Racing Parts and Competition Manager at Ford Racing, said. â€œOnce we had the software and calibration it was a natural to offer it as a Track Cal version for all â€™13-â€™14 GT owners even if they are not able to take advantage of the second key.â€
Both the Track Cal (PN M-14204-MGTTC; $559) and TracKey (PN M-14204-MGTTKA; $425) options add the aforementioned upgrades, but like the Boss 302 TracKey, these calibrations are not minor calibration revisions. Ford Racing calibration engineers altered over 1,000 lines of code in the Copperhead PCM to tweak the Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing, ignition timing, WOT fuel mapping, accelerator pedal mapping, throttle response, cooling fan activation temps and more. Yet all of these tweaks meet Ford Racingâ€™s stringent calibration standards.
â€œWe had a strong starting point with the Boss 302 TracKey and the various race car builds but it still takes significant time. First we have to write the software that allows the Track functionality, then we fine tune the calibration to the Mustang GTâ€™s specifications such as cam lift,â€ Jesse explained. â€œFrom there validation takes several months of work on the dyno, wind tunnel for weather testing, and real life driving to ensure the calibration will meet the requirements for CARB certification and for our own durability and warranty.â€
Certainly the engineering put into these calibrations is cool, but how do they feel? â€œThe calibration provides more low-end torque and improves throttle feel,â€ Jesse enthused. â€œThe lopey idle is visceral, it sounds and ultimately â€˜feelsâ€™ fast even standing still.â€
We look forward to getting our hands on one of these new calibrations to try it out in the real world. For now, however, we can share what we know about the new calibrations, including Ford Racingâ€™s own chassis-dyno testing. That should whet your appetite for calibration.