2014 Ford Racing Cobra Jet Build Gets Underway At Watson Racing


For 2014, Ford Racing‘s Cobra Jet production has been shifted to the state-of-the-art facilities at Watson Racing in Michigan. In previous years, Cobra Jet production was performed in a tucked-away corner of the Auto Alliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan – the same building where the run-of-the-mill Mustang GT is produced.

Watson Racing was already responsible for roll-cage installation, receiving the body-in-white cars from the plant, installing the cages, then trucking them back to Flat Rock for the final touches of powertrain installation and modification before they received their sticker package and were readied for delivery.

Photos Credit: Andrew Casselberry/Ford Racing

But as Watson Racing was already handling the Ford Racing Boss 302S builds for road racing, it made sense to shift the Cobra Jet production to their immense facility in Brownstown, Michigan, just a stone’s throw from the Auto Alliance plant, and they’ve begun the build process on the brand-new 2014 Cobra Jet – of which 50 cars will be produced.

We recently received a full set of spy photos from our contact at Ford Racing, showing off one of the new colors for 2014 – Gotta Have It Green. GHIG is one of those love-it-or-hate-it hues, and we love it in this application. Also new for 2014 is the Cobra Jet-exclusive flat black, which we expect to see a number of at the track.

The 2014 version of the CJ also receives an all-new three speed transmission that comes with an SFI approved housing, and racers expecting to exceed 150 MPH in Super Stock, NMRA Renegade, or any other class these cars fit in were able to spec a parachute mount upon ordering.

smIMG_7534Power comes from the carryover 5.0L TiVCT Coyote engine that’s topped with the Ford Racing/Whipple 2.9L supercharger that includes a 3.25-inch pulley and fully CNC-ported cylinder heads.

A forged crankshaft, Manley H-beam connecting rods, and Mahle Motorsports Ford Racing-spec forged pistons are standard. Camshafts are a proprietary Ford Racing design that have been spec’d out after hundreds of hours of testing in the dyno cell.

The body assembly has been lightened compared to a stock Mustang to aid in weight distribution and the rollcage design has been optimized through Finite Element Analysis to provide the stiffest and safest cage design possible.

Hundreds of quarter-mile passes have been made in previous model-year Cobra Jets, and with the data received the Ford Racing engineers were able to develop a specific suspension geometry to provide optimum sixty-foot times virtually right out of the box. Suspension parts include an adjustable Panhard bar, double-adjustable Ford Racing shocks, and an anti-roll bar to help control suspension movement at the hit.

In 2013, the Cobra Jet was immensely successful, winning an astonishing nine NHRA Stock and Super Stock classes at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis from classes like SS/AAA, SS/DA, and even the special Factory Stock showdown class, where Chris Holbrook’s 2013 CJ took out Dave Connolly’s Camaro in the final round.

Ray Skillman had lots of success with his Cobra Jet this season as well, breaking into the seven-second zone at the NMCA’s Cobra Jet Showdown, while Holbrook won the Gatornationals in AAA/SA, then a month later ran the quickest-ever elapsed time in Stock Eliminator with an 8.58 at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Indianapolis.

As you can see, the Cobra Jet is adding to its long and storied history nearly every time out on the track, and the expectation is that the final year of S197 Cobra Jet production will birth another group of race winners and record setters.



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Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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