I’ve known for Ben just a short while, but in my getting to know him, I’ve noticed that he is always willing to lend a hand to anyone that requires assistance. Super nice guy all around, so it wasn’t hard for me to approach him to talk about his immaculate 2003 Ford Mustang GT. While not as insanely built as the Madsen Roush we featured a few months ago, it is a solid car in it’s own right, just with a different end goal. For ’16 Ben is focusing on a build of a second generation MR2, but this month we will focus the feature on the Mustang that piloted Ben to a regional CAM-C Championship jacket win on his first year autocrossing.
What type of car do you have?
2003 Ford Mustang GT
A lot of people give their cars nicknames/actual names. Do you have one for your Mustang?
Shelby (named her after Carrol Shelby). Also sometimes call her “the Rhino” because she’s built like one, is colored like one, and moves like one.
Mod List! Let’s have it!
- Maximum Motorsports Coil-Over Kit with Bilstein Race Shocks and Struts
- Maximum Motorsports Rear Lower Control Arms, Extreme Duty
- Maximum Motorsports Panhard Bar
- Maximum Motorsports Rear Adjustable Sway Bar
- Maximum Motorsports Strut Tower Brace
- Maximum Motorsports Front Control Arms, Forward-offset
- Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates
- Maximum Motorsports Steering Shaft
- Maximum Motorsports Steering Rack Bushings
- Maximum Motorsports Full Length Subframe Connectors
- Steeda Spherical Adjustable Upper Control Arm (PM3L)
- 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R Wheels
- Dunlop Direzza Star Spec Z2 tires (275/35 R18s all around)
- 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra Brake Upgrade
- Steed Tri-Ax Short Throw Shifter
- Roush Mustang Side Exit Exhaust
- Roush Mustang Side Skirts, Rear Valance Kit, and Rear Wing
- Kenny Brown Adjustable HD Front Sway Bar
- Kenny Brown Sway Bar Endlinks
- Wild Rides Torque Box Reinforcements
- K&N FIPK Intake
- Schroth 4-Point Harness
- Various small appearance mods (Bullitt Fuel Door, Custom Grill Pony, Mach 1 Chin Spoiler & Gauges, etc.)
What was the biggest “surprise” obstacle you faced when you worked on the car (as in what was maybe supposed to have been an easy task but ended up being a pretty huge undertaking)?
Installation of the Torque Box Reinforcements needed to strengthen the rear of the chassis to support the loads it would have to manage with the new set up.
Have you always wanted to build a Mustang? If not what other cars have you built/modified?
Yes. I come from a Mustang family, with 4 others currently owned by others in my clan. And being that I’ve had this car since it was new, modding it for better handling has always been a personal goal of mine.
Let’s talk suspension. Given the geometry what do you think is one thing the car could do better (i.e. sweepers, hairpins, transients)?
Tight hairpin turns. Mustangs of my era were born with severe understeer issues, and while the mods I’ve done so far have helped, there’s still more to do to improve how it manages those elements on course.
What would you say the car’s primary strength is?
My car feels real solid in slaloms and chicago boxes, and it has the ability to power out of situations when the tires are pushed to beyond their limits.
Given the supporting motor upgrades, has it been fairly reliable given the severe punishment it goes through?
Are there any sponsors you would like to acknowledge for their assistance in getting your car to the way that it is?
Big Muffin Racing and Rekleiner Vinyl Graphics are the main two. And I’d like to thank BTM Autosport for their technical and engineering consulting, and Maximum Motorsports for their technical support and for manufacturing the majority of the suspension parts on the car.
As most of raced cars undergo continuous changes, what are the next plans for the car?
Better tires and a roll cage are next on the list.