From the get-go, the team at UPR Products jumped on the EcoBoost Mustang platform and began pushing its performance at the drag strip. That evolved into a successful run in the NMRA’s innovative EcoBoost Battle class, where driver Bill Putnam often battled with fellow EcoBoost trendsetter Brad Gusler. This past weekend, Bill reset the EcoBoost S550 e.t. record with a 9.94 at 137 mph pass.
When the EcoBoost was announced, we immediately saw potential for the car and the market.—Bill Putnam, UPR
As we documented in our initial feature on the car, Bill and the UPR team was pushing the limits of the stock engine and turbo. Since then they have gone all in with a fortified short-block built by MPR Racing Engines. They also added Stage 2 cams from Esslinger Racing and boosted it with an Atmosphere Turbo Kit from Custom Performance Engineering, which is highlighted by a Borg Warner EFR7670 Turbo.
“It is our 100-percent, out-of-the-box bolt-on kit, all the way down to the in-house, mandrel bent and CNC milled hard-lines for oil/coolant,” Josh Adams, Chief Financial Officer at Custom Performance Engineering, said. We spared no expense in making sure that it is OEM fit and finish. We used our in-house -AN crimping machine to retain daily reliability with zero chances of leaking oil or coolant.”
Team UPR brought this new combo out to the last NMRA race of the season in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to race in the EcoBoost Battle. There, Bill qualified in the top spot with a 10.24 at 134.40 mph pass.
“Since the NMRA World Finals the only thing that changed was dyno time,” Bill said. “Two weeks prior to the finals the car was completely disassembled. So we had to rush to make the event and didn’t have enough time for tuning or testing the car. In fact the only test pass with the new combo was at Orlando Speed World on our way to Kentucky.”
On November 13, 2016, the team got back to work refining the combination at a local test ’n tune.
“Sunday was a Street Car Drags rental at PBIR with mostly a bunch of exotic cars,” he said. “We spent the day testing various things with the car and despite the heat we were running 10.0s. Jon Lund made a few tweaks to our tune for the last pass of the day hoping to crack into the nines.”
Calibration is Key
Doing the remote calibration of this combo was noted tuner Jon Lund II of Lund Racing, who has invested a lot of time learning the ins and outs of Ford’s gas turbo direction-injection calibrations.
I’ve put a lot of time into understanding just about every facet of the OE Ford EcoBoost logic.—Jon Lund II, Lund Racing
With bigger boost and a nitrous system, the UPR EcoBoost Mustang needed more fuel, so Bill and the crew added on of Custom Performance Engineering’s CPE Auxiliary Fuel System, which augments the factory direct-injection system with an ample extra supply of E85 to feed that turbo/nitrous power.
Fuel the Fire
UPR 2015 EcoBoost Mustang Mods
• Circle D torque converter
• CPE Atmosphere Turbo Kit with EFR 7670 turbo
• CPE Auxiliary Fuel System with E85
• The DriveShaft Shop driveshaft
• Esslinger Racing Stage 2 cams
• Mickey Thompson Performance tires
• MPR-built short-block
• Nitrous Express Methanol and Direct-Port Nitrous
• Lund Racing nGauge and custom tuning
• Speed of Sound switch panel
• Viking Performance shocks and struts
• Wagner Evo2 Intercooler
Having the proper fueling available is one thing, but making this complex combination work together all comes back to the custom calibration from Lund Racing.
“There were some challenges at first, but I was able to resolve them with the ‘secrets’ not mentioned above. Larger turbos and OE boost control can work, but without proper modifications to the PCM you cannot do it accurately. I have a very good solution for this and I am currently using it on our personal test vehicle and a few other customer vehicles with much success,” Jon said. “Auxillary fueling poses an issue with not being able to tell the PCM that there’s port injection on it. So in order to combat this I’ve figured out a way to do it without hacking around fuel model like some other tuners are doing. In doing so this ensures accurate fuel and torque modeling which means the transmission (inferred torque dependent) can shift exactly how I want it. The nitrous doesn’t pose issues with an OE PCM, per se, but it does pose issues if you don’t know how to tune nitrous properly!”
The combination, tuning and Bill’s driving definitely came together during that test run at Palm Beach International Raceway.
“As with most of the day no one wanted to run next to us, apparently when you spend $200,000-plus on a Ferrari you don’t want to lose to a four-cylinder Mustang,” Bill joked. “I lined up solo and took my time as it was just a time run and came out on full boost. The track had been going away toward the end of the day so we were hoping for the best.”
It was a great feeling to see that first digit of a 9 on the time slip.—Bill Putnam, UPR
“On launch I felt a little tire spin but soon as I saw the 1.40 60 come up on the board I knew I had a good shot at the nines,” Bill continued. “The car ran smooth the rest of the way down the track. It was a great feeling to see that first digit of a 9 on the time slip. I had to immediately pull over and send the slip over to Joe and Mark Mainiero and let them know we did it.”
Just because they set a record, doesn’t mean that Bill and Team UPR are set to rest on their laurels.
“There is always more left as we won’t stop trying to push it—just like Brad Gusler will be doing the same on his end to try and take the record back,” Bill said. “We are really looking forward to next season and the possibility of seeing side-by-side 9-second passes.”
Seeing two EcoBoost ’Stangs running door-to-door in the nines, would definitely be a sight to behold. Before that happens, however, it will be interesting to see how much deeper into the nines this car can go.
I think there’s more left in its current state with some tweaks.—Jon Lund II, Lund Racing
With the off-season being the time to test in UPR’s Florida home base, we suspect those deeper 9-second runs will come before the racing season officially kicks off at the NMRA Spring Break Shootout in March of next year. Either way, Bill and UPR will be ready to run.
“From here we are just going to continue dialing in what we have make sure we are ready for NMRA Bradenton,” Bill added.