Video: M2K Motorsports’ Ford GT And What It Takes To Go 278 MPH

The Texas Mile is a grueling test of man and machine in a way that can’t be achieved on the dragstrip. By extending the straight-shot testing to the length of a full mile, issues crop up that aren’t there on a typical quarter-mile dragstrip, most importantly how to construct a car (and engine) that will live for a full 5,280 feet without self-destructing.

Car owner Mark Heidaker, crew chief Kevin Kesterson, and the rest of the team at M2K Motorsports seem to have it figured out with their record setting Ford GT. The 5.4L engine sports a stock Ford GT engine block, ported stock GT cylinder head castings, a Bryant Racing forged-steel crankshaft, and has been prepared by the Modular Madman, John Mihovetz of Accufab Racing.  

Comp Cams supplied the bumpsticks, and there is a Wilson sheet-metal intake manifold with a custom intercooler sandwiched between its upper and lower halves. A pair of 75mm throttle bodies are fed by a pair of Precision Turbo 82/85 turbochargers and send power through an aggressive clutch from SPEC in the bellhousing to hold all of the power.

mile2Driver Patrick O’Gorman took the car to a record 278 MPH on October 27th , and the crazy thing is that Kesterson thinks there is even more in it.

Tuning is done by the legendary Shane Tecklenburg on the MoTec engine management system. “It’s really difficult for us to lay down much more power early than we are right now. We’re using the traction control in the MoTec to get all the power to the ground that we can without changing grip mechanically or adding more aero. We’re getting it done pretty good in first, second, and third gear,” he explains. 

“With any car like this, we can make more horsepower, than we can get rid of the heat in the cooling system. The run takes us about 22 seconds from the starting line through the traps, and we’re not into full power until the last 10-12 seconds of the run. Based on the data, the car runs 9.60’s at 160-plus to the quarter, and we have to stay in the throttle at full power for another 11.5 seconds after that,” says Tecklenburg.

Having enough fuel to keep the engine cool down-track is one of the critical areas that have been identified to directly affect longevity, and to that end a pair of 225 pound-per-hour Precision Turbo fuel injectors per cylinder provide the fuel.

According to crew chief Kesterson, “The car runs on methanol fuel, and we need twice the fuel to make the power, but it helps to keep the air charge cool for the course of the Mile.”

mile1“We’ve had to discover the limits of the car, and we’ve been really fortunate that we’ve started with a good car to begin with. The car still has the bone-stock Ford GT transmission and driveaxles. We’ve used some adjustable collars in the suspension to lower the car some, but it’s all stock suspension and wheels. The radio and air conditioning still work, and the only interior pieces that have been modified are in the name of safety,” says Kesterson.

The team is very conservative in their application of power to the track, preferring to sneak up on it rather than go out and make a killer (and potentially dangerous) run right out of the gate.   

“When you’re talking about going this fast in a car, the first order of business is to keep everyone safe, and you don’t want to take the car out there on the first run and make a banzai pass,” says Kesterson. “Shane analyzes the data after every pass, and we also send it to John to analyze, and we make decisions after every pass to see how hard we’re going to push the car. We try to get feedback from everyone and make collective decisions – it’s not one person that makes it happen, it’s a team effort.”

Thanks to gearheadflicks for the footage!

 

About the author

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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