The team of Ford engineers and designers that created the groundbreaking 2011 Mustang GT has distilled a new model to its purest form, strengthening, lightening and refining each system to create a race car with a license plate. Its name: the 2012 Mustang Boss 302.
Driving the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 was intended from the outset to be a visceral experience, packed with raw, unbridled performance across the spectrum: Acceleration, handling, braking, and top speed are all equally matched for perfect balance on a car operating within the framework of legally defined safety, noise and emissions regulations.
Led by Mike Harrison, the V8 engine team approached Boss from the top down: With 412 horsepower from 5.0 liters, the 2011 GT engine was already an incredible performer. But to achieve the high-rpm horsepower that would make the engine competitive on the track, a new intake was essential. The resulting runners-in-the-box plenum/velocity stack combination the engine team developed was impressive enough that it got the green light after one short drive.
Helping the intake build power, revised camshafts using a more aggressive grind are actuated with the same twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) mechanism used on the Mustang GT. More aggressive control calibration yields 440 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, while still offering a smooth idle and low-end torque for comfortable around-town driving.
In keeping with the Boss mandate to provide the best-handling Mustang ever, the already strong Mustang GT suspension system has been further refined. Higher-rate coil springs on all four corners, stiffer suspension bushings and a larger-diameter rear stabilizer bar all contribute to the road racing mission, and Boss models are lowered by 11 millimeters at the front and 1 millimeter at the rear versus the Mustang GT. The real key to handling, though, is in the adjustable shocks and struts, standard on all Boss Mustang models.
Working in concert with the suspension upgrades, Boss 302 receives unique, lightweight 19-inch black alloy racing wheels in staggered widths: 9 inches in front, 9.5 inches in the rear. The Pirelli PZero summer tires are sized specifically for each end of the vehicle, with the front wheels receiving 255/40ZR-19 tires while the rear stays planted thanks to 285/35ZR-19 rubber.
The combined suspension and tire package allows Boss to achieve a top speed of 155 mph and become the first non-SVT Mustang ever to achieve more than 1.0 g of lateral acceleration.
Boss braking is also up to the challenge, using Brembo four-piston front calipers acting on 14-inch vented rotors up front. In the back, standard Mustang GT brakes are upgraded with a Boss-specific high-performance pad compound. Combined with vented brake shields and unique Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) tuning, Boss drivers get maximum control and rapid, repeatable fade-free stops in road and race situations alike.
What you need to know:
Engine: 5.0-liter 4-valve Ti-VCT V8 with aluminum block and heads
Horsepower: 440 (estimated)
Torque: 380 lb.-ft. (estimated)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Rear-axle gear ratio: 3.73:1
Front suspension: Independent MacPherson strut with Reverse-L lower control arm, 34.6 mm tubular stabilizer bar, strut tower brace, adjustable strut damping
Rear suspension: 3-link solid axle with limited-slip differential, coil springs, Panhard bar, 25.0 mm stabilizer bar and adjustable shock damping
Front brakes: 14-inch vented discs, four-piston Brembo floating aluminum calipers
Rear brakes: 11.8-inch vented discs, single-piston floating iron calipers
Front tires: 255/40ZR-19 Pirelli PZero
Rear tires: 285/35ZR-19 Pirelli PZero
To celebrate the racing heritage of the new Mustang Boss 302, Ford will also offer a limited number of Boss 302 Laguna Seca models, named for the track where Parnelli Jones won the 1970 Trans-Am season opener in a Boss 302. Aimed at racers more interested in on-track performance than creature comforts, the Boss 302 Laguna Seca has increased body stiffness, a firmer chassis set-up and an aerodynamics package carried over almost in its entirety from the Ford Racing Boss 302R.