Ford Social Treats Lucky Fans to VIP Treatment at the Ford Proving Grounds

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of – flying around the Ford Proving Grounds Test Track in a Ford Mustang. The speedometer well into the triple digits as a professional driver takes corners with enough G-force to keep you affixed to the door.

But this dream was a reality for two lucky Ford Social members and their spouses recently, as they were surprised with invites to be our guests at the Henry Ford Health Systems “Get Your Heart Racing” event in Dearborn. And get their hearts racing we did.

Are you a Ford Social member? Keep grabbing badges and submitting stories and ideas! Who knows – we might select you to get the VIP treatment at an upcoming event!

After a mandatory safety training video, Steven Johnson and Larry Mankins – along with their wives Angela and Joann – took off from the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn for an afternoon filled with fast cars and trucks, as well as ample adrenaline.

As unpleasant weather set upon the Ford Proving Grounds, our undeterred guests donned their helmets and queued up to participate in some hot laps around the test track. They had their pick of several high-performance Ford vehicles.

“I’m excited to drive Mustangs,” recounts Mankins. “I was able to rent one when I was out of town. But it wasn’t on a track or anything like that. So, it’s hard to really explore the limits of performance using a rental vehicle.”

Exploring the limits of Mustang performance also meant a few spins around the wet skidpad track for Larry and Steven. They got a first person account of what the Mustang – in the hands of a trained professional on a closed course – can do on wet pavement.

“Those professional drivers out there are borderline lunatics,” says Steven Johnson. “It was edge of your seat.”

As the day drew to a close, there was still one last score to be settled.

“I’m going to drag race my husband in a Raptor, and I’m going to beat him!” declared Joanne Mankins.

A feat that she accomplished not once, but twice, much to the dismay of her Raptor-owning husband Larry.

In the end, it was going to take a lot more than sore pride and rainy weather to dampen the spirits of our lucky Ford Social Members. The event gave them a unique, behind-the-scenes experience and generated memories that will last a lifetime.

Check out the video below to ride along with our participants and see more of what they experienced at the event. You can also check out Larry Mankins’ Ford Social story on his experience at the track.

This was Henry Ford Health System’s 2nd annual “Get Your Heart Racing” fundraiser at the Ford Dearborn test track. This exclusive opportunity for auto enthusiasts to participate in thrilling driving events and demonstrations while raise money for Henry Ford Health Systems.

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33 COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE
brad a Where was my invite? J/k, kind of. It's awesome that Ford is bringing regular people to the track, but only two? Open it up a bit more, please. I've been a lifelong Ford man, myself. My dad had a 73 F250 when I was born. I fell in love with my uncle's 75 F250 HighBoy in Ford Blue metallic. I now own it (and boy does it need some work!....lots of hard use!) My whole family drives Fords. Between me, my two brothers, and my father we daily drive 6 Ford trucks with none under 250,000 miles! I drool for the day I get to buy my new mustang, or maybe a Raptor :) Btw, kudos on producing the Raptor! Now, bring us the classic Bronco!
1 year(s) ago via
larry patron Start getting some cars delivered. I haven't even test drove one!
1 year(s) ago via
jon Ford has got it right have an Edge with ecoboost 4 great engine Still upset they dropped the V-6 in the Fusion line I have an 07 Fusion with the V-6 0 problems. Was planning on buyin a new fusion but no V-6 no sale. Ford need to put out an expedition with the room of the Excursion and an Ecoboost V-6. I own three Fords because they work.
1 year(s) ago via
Paul S It's nice to see Ford teaming up and having the Henry Ford Health System’s 2nd annual “Get Your Heart Racing” fundraiser, instead of something pink attached to it! Not that other events aren't just as worthy, but the "heart" is where the "Fords" are! I bought my first Ford when I was 17 (10 days shy of my 18th birthday). It was an orange 1968 Mustang. I loved that car. And if that car could have talked I would have been in a whole lot of trouble with the girls!! It still could because I still have it, 38 and a half years later! Still mostly all original, although I have had to do a few things to her, she still turns heads when I drive her down the road with my wife in the car! There's still nothing like a 289 winding out, with a four speed behind it, unless of course it was my wife's 98 Mustang GT 4.6L with a 5 speed doing the winding out! I have always been a Ford man and I guess I always will be. It's in my blood, and my Heart! I'm sure having those professional drivers there would keep any heart pumping strong. Wish I could take one of those Mustangs for a test ride. I'm sure it would be like De ja vu! Keep those Mustangs coming! Good stories and good times........ Paul Staebler, Visalia, Ca.
1 year(s) ago via
Dennis W I If this is it than Ford really killed the Mustang! Thanks alot Ford! You know when people get so badley injured, that after having reconstructed surgury on there face and do not look the same? I would except them for who they are because I know they are the same person and it was the only way to have a face. But Ford did this on purpose. Now this will make it easier for all of us future buyers to purchase a new Austin Martin, Porche, Ferrari, etc.; Congrads Ford, you will now be part of the Euro market since you lost the good ol' American Heritage.Just like our president, it seems that ford cares more about other countries than our own. I also feel that the Big Two out there will have an increase in sales since they will be the only cars left out there that look American. I will have two toast tonight. The first will be a big thank you for giving this country a wonderful Ponycar that we all fell in love with " Thank God I Own One " and the other toast will be a farewell to the greatest American built car, the Mustang, because this facelift came from designers at Ford that do not have any heart for the Original Ponycar design that has been the foundation of the redesign all of these years. By the way Ford designers, if you guys are soooo smart, than why copy the Austin Martin in the rear section, with a GTR front. HOW ORIGINAL is that!own a 65' Mustang.I, and a lot of Mustang owners and future buyers are sickened at the idea of a global and euro look for the Mustang in 2015. You will be destroying the Mustang heritage. The resent retro Mustang is loved by all and i do not understand the need for a global Mustang. It is companies like you that are making this country less American! If your Mustang looks euro or Japanese for that matter, I, and I am sure many others will not support Ford anymore. It is sad because I grew up around Fords in my family and that this horrible idea you guys are about to present to the world will push my loyalty away. Why can't you all just leave the Mustang alone and use this UNAMERICAN crappy design for a different model. All I can say is that Ford is losing its American herritage and that sucks! I will NOT EVER buy another Ford product again.
1 year(s) ago via
Theresa K OMG if I could drive around a proving grounds my wheells would be spinning so fast they would make tire tracks in circles. i would have a blast, You just let me behind that wheel and you will be scared.lol...
1 year(s) ago via
Tonya C My family is truly a Ford Family. As a child, my parents had a Mustang and a TBird - Blue with a white vinyl top. The car I took to college was a TBird - Red with a white vinyl top. I have had a Taurus. My husband has had a Ford Ranger and an Explorer. My son's first car is now a Mustang. My son studies about vintage cars while my husband is smart about what is currently on the market. In the future, my son plans to design cars with plans to work at Ford. He has designs he has all ready sketched for what he would like to see on the market.
1 year(s) ago via
Ashley C Sweet!!!! Sounds fun and useful at the same time!!
1 year(s) ago via
Bob Blankenship I agree with Larry, Ford is also instrumental in rebuilding our country. We feel very strongly about that as well as Larry. My first new car was a 1963 1/2 Falcon Futura convertible. Equiped with bucket seats, console, V8 (260) and 4 speed. I thought I had ARRIVED. I'll never forget that car, especially the trip to the worlds fair-all the way with the top down and boot cover firmly affixed. Nothing could ever be cooler in one's life. I will always have a love for that beautiful red car with a black convertible top. I am always looking for one like it at all the shows and auctions. Thanks Ford.
1 year(s) ago via
Louie H this is really neat. I own a 2002 Ford Thunderbolt its very fast and a pretty truck.
1 year(s) ago via
Looks like loads of fun!!! Hey,are you guys changing the body for the mustang in 2015?
1 year(s) ago via
Jimmy H Regarding the Raptor which the invited fans drove on the proving grounds, it represents the short box, full size SUPERCAB pickup configuration that I strongly wish Ford would offer on the XLT and other normal use trim levels (as opposed to the sport and image type trims). This would provide an option of a shorter, more convenient length in a utility-personal-family truck. Thank you.
1 year(s) ago via
Venita P I liked that clip, no wonder they enjoyed it looked like they had a GREAT TIME!!!!! i NEED TO GO BUILD ME ANOTHER FORD MUSTANG..LOL MAYBE I WIN ONE///
1 year(s) ago via
jack p what about improving the gas mileage in the RV's Ford Builds?
1 year(s) ago via
michael w Great job Ford Looks like fun!! Keep up the good work and keep making Built Ford Tough trucks Because Ford trucks Built America!! THANKS FORD
1 year(s) ago via
Daemon B Sounds like fun. Ford needs to bring a GT to Road Atlanta, put me in it, and let a driver take me for the ride of my life.
1 year(s) ago via
allison vaughn are you in a race car cool!
1 year(s) ago via
N.Yvonne Forrest That little Blue Mustang Boss looks like the one I used to own. I loved that car! Only mine was back in 1973. I miss that car! Love Ford!
1 year(s) ago via
Sookchand H Wow, its really cool that Ford is now including the everyday people in there events. It si s step in the right direction. To all the employees of Ford motor Company Keep up the good work. I luv Ford
1 year(s) ago via
Paul M I think an interesting idea is to organize where customers have newly purchased vehicles get the opportunity to learn how their cars drive. Then have some other vehicles there to allow curtomers to see and drive other Ford vehicles to recommend to friends and family.
1 year(s) ago via
Gene B It was great. I had the pleasure of Driving a Mustang back from Tampa, FL to Trumann, AR for a friend of mine who is the local Ford dealer there. What a drive....almost 15 hours and I had never driven a Mustang like that before. I had a ball and it handled so well in the rain, hills, curves and intrerstate highways. I also got to drive a Raptor to Alanta for the same folks and...........what a truck. Wish I had one of those also. I loved driving it. gene
1 year(s) ago via
Remake the Pinto!!!!!!
1 year(s) ago via
Becky Kurin Totally awesome! The test drive would be my one of my favorite things. But, racing my husband would be the bomb! Keep it up Ford, rebuilding America's finest...
1 year(s) ago via
Barbara V This something I have dreamed about doing for 48 years. Since I got my Driver's License when I was 16. For the most part, my personal "race track" was US 131, I-94 and I-69 but those days are way behind me now. Due to health problems, my last car, a 1984 Thunderbird was sold seven years ago and now I just ride with other people. For some reason most of those people have boring cars. Just one more time to at least ride in a Mustang Convertible through these mountains where I live now would be like Heaven. Just wishing..
1 year(s) ago via
bernardand india walker wow good news from the press and the pres. of the co. love how you guys are showing off the mustang, v6 turbo and ind rear sus. my team will also add hybrid tech to a pr. in the americanlemanseries : tempest engineering. watch the race in atlanta this wk.end you mite hear from our new sponsor!
1 year(s) ago via
Lucas J I have no interest in excessive fuel burning, overweight, clunky cars. Cut the weight in half and add all wheel drive. Then get back to me.
1 year(s) ago via
Doug M Through many years and having multiple vehicles I always come home to Ford. From the Crown Vic (most reliable car I every had) to the Mustang. Ford rocks!!!!
1 year(s) ago via
I own a Ford car and my Father and mother owned them growing up i rememeber my dad letting me drive his 1956 Ford Fairlane when i was a young girl! I learned to drive when i was young and it was in fords so have many fond memories!!
1 year(s) ago via
Barbara C Looks like they had fun!
1 year(s) ago via
John C Great stories. I wish I'd been along for the ride.
1 year(s) ago via
I have been a ford owner all my life, and at. One time or another have owned just about every major model you have put out. I now own a ford edge and just love it I'll bet these two lucky couples had the time of there life.
1 year(s) ago via
Jessica M HOW in the world does someone get this opportunity??? This would be a dream come true!!! :)
1 year(s) ago via
thanks FORD guys your my hero dad was a ford service manager for years and i worked in a mercury dealership have always had FORDS and always will giving back to the public for there loyal support is just plain incredible THANKS Robert Jones Bullhead City, Az.
1 year(s) ago via
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