THE BOSS IS BACK: 2012 FORD MUSTANG BOSS 302 BRINGS
ROAD RACING LEGEND BACK TO THE STREETS
- The Boss returns! Limited production 2012 Mustang Boss 302
set to become the quickest, best-handling straight-production
Mustang ever offered by Ford, based on the world-class foundation
provided by the 2011 Mustang GT
- Boss upgraded in nearly every vehicle system; engine output,
brakes, suspension, interior and exterior all examined to optimize
weight, aerodynamics and track performance.
- Full Mustang team effort results in a comprehensive re-engineering
available only through the factory; new Boss is not a package
that can be purchased out of a catalog or achieved through tuning
or aftermarket parts .
- Limited-production track-oriented Boss 302 Laguna Seca model
expands on Boss racing aspirations, deleting rear seat and adding
race-ready suspension and aerodynamic treatments
MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 13, 2010 – Ford gave the green light
only once before: In 1968, management approved a special Mustang
– a car that sacrificed nothing in its quest to be the best
all-around road-going performance machine ever created by Ford Motor
Company. That car became the 1969 Mustang Boss 302, and it remains
one of the world’s most sought-after examples of American
Forty-two years later, Ford has given the green light again.
The team of Ford engineers, designers and stylists – all
Mustang enthusiasts to the core – that created the groundbreaking
2011 Mustang GT has distilled a new model to its purest form, strengthening,
lightening and refining each system to create a race car with a
license plate. Its name: the 2012 Mustang Boss 302.
“The decision to build a modern Boss was not entered into
lightly,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global
Product Development. “The entire team at Ford felt the time
was right and with the right ingredients, the world-class 2011 Mustang
could support a successful, race-bred, worthy successor to the original
Boss 302. For us that meant a production Mustang that could top
one of the world’s best – the 2010 BMW M3 – in
lap times at Laguna Seca. We met our expectations.”
To celebrate the racing heritage of the new Mustang Boss 302, Ford
will also offer a limited number of Boss 302 Laguna Seca models,
named for the track where Parnelli Jones won the 1970 Trans-Am season
opener in a Boss 302. Aimed at racers more interested in on-track
performance than creature comforts, the Boss 302 Laguna Seca has
increased body stiffness, a firmer chassis set-up and an aerodynamics
package carried over almost in its entirety from the Ford Racing
Philosophy and powertrain
“The new Boss 302 completely redefines Mustang capability,”
said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “That the
Mustang team was able to take the current Mustang GT – already
a world-class performance car – and refine it further for
peak track performance shows the commitment Ford has to this car
and its legions of fans.”
Driving the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 was intended from the outset
to be a visceral experience, packed with raw, unbridled performance
across the spectrum: Acceleration, handling, braking, and top speed
are all equally matched for perfect balance on a car operating within
the framework of legally defined safety, noise and emissions regulations.
“The team at Ford wanted to offer their fellow Mustang enthusiasts
something really special – a beautifully balanced factory-built
race car that they could drive on the street,” explains Dave
Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “The Boss 302 isn’t
something a Mustang GT owner can buy all the parts for out of a
catalog or that a tuner can get by adding a chip. This is a front-to-back
re-engineered Mustang with every system designed to make a good
driver great and a great driver even better.”
Led by Mike Harrison, the V8 engine team approached Boss from the
top down: With 412 horsepower from 5.0 liters, the 2011 GT engine
was already an incredible performer. But to achieve the high-rpm
horsepower that would make the engine competitive on the track,
a new intake was essential. The resulting runners-in-the-box plenum/velocity
stack combination the engine team developed was impressive enough
that it got the green light after one short drive.
Helping the intake build power, revised camshafts using a more
aggressive grind are actuated with the same twin independent variable
camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) mechanism used on the Mustang GT. More
aggressive control calibration yields 440 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft.
of torque, while still offering a smooth idle and low-end torque
for comfortable around-town driving.
A race-inspired clutch with upgraded friction materials transmits
power, while a short-throw, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission
handles gear change duties.
Power is delivered to a 3.73 ratio rear axle using carbon fiber
plates in the limited-slip differential to improve torque handling
and longevity. For those who want even more precise control over
power delivery, a torque-sensing (Torsen) limited-slip differential
is an available option coupled with Recaro front seats.
Sounds like the Boss
While the powertrain team defined output targets that would yield
an ideal balance with the chassis, another team made sure the car
made the kind of sounds owners and enthusiasts would expect from
a Mustang Boss.
Up front, a Boss-specific intake system is tuned to feed the engine
with minimum restrictions. A retuned induction sound tube provides
concrete aural evidence of what’s occurring under the hood.
And, in the Boss exhaust system engineers really had some fun.
“With an exhaust system, we have to consider three constraints:
legal noise restrictions; backpressure, which can rob power; and
ground clearance,” explains Shawn Carney, Mustang NVH engineer.
“Since the 2011 Mustang GT exhaust is already so free-flowing
– it came in way under our backpressure targets – we
already had excellent performance; we were able to tune the exhaust
system for a unique sound. Combined with the rush of the intake,
the exhaust system really envelops the driver in V8 sound.
Every Boss features a unique quad exhaust system: Two outlets exit
in the rear similar to a standard Mustang GT. The other two outlets
exit to either side of the exhaust crossover, sending exhaust through
a set of metal discs that act as tuning elements before the pipes
terminate just ahead of the rear wheel opening. Visually subtle,
the side pipes flow very little exhaust but a lot of exhaust sound,
providing a sonic experience unlike any other Mustang – and
giving home tuners an additional avenue for modification.
“We added the attenuation discs to meet legal regulations,
but we knew buyers might operate these cars in situations where
noise regulations weren’t an issue,” Carney said. “The
disc is removable and includes a spacer plate sized to match aftermarket
exhaust dump valves. If an owner wants to add a set of electric
valves, they just undo two bolts on either side; the disc and spacer
slide out and the valve will slide right in. And the side pipes
are tuned so that drivers can run wide-open and the sound levels
are comfortable – very aggressive but livable for an all-day
Carney further explains the thinking behind the unusual step of
an OEM easing aftermarket component installation. “We’re
Ford engineers, but we’re also enthusiasts,” he says.
“We understand owner mods are part of the Mustang experience,
so we try to help where we can.”
Suspension and steering
In keeping with the Boss mandate to provide the best-handling Mustang
ever, the already strong Mustang GT suspension system has been further
refined. Higher-rate coil springs on all four corners, stiffer suspension
bushings and a larger-diameter rear stabilizer bar all contribute
to the road racing mission, and Boss models are lowered by 11 millimeters
at the front and 1 millimeter at the rear versus the Mustang GT.
The real key to handling, though, is in the adjustable shocks and
struts, standard on all Boss Mustang models.
“We’ve given drivers five settings for their shocks,”
says Brent Clark, supervisor of the Mustang vehicle dynamics team.
“One is the softest, two is the factory setting and five is
the firmest, and we’ve provided a wide range of adjustment.
A customer can drive to the track on setting two, crank it up to
five for improved response on the track, then dial down to one for
a more relaxed ride home. What’s unique is that drivers will
find – thanks to the way the suspension works as a complete
system – the softest setting isn’t too loose and the
firmest setting isn’t too controlled; each step just provides
additional levels of control.”
Also unique is the method of shock adjustment. Ditching the weight
and complexity of electronic wizardry, the Mustang team opted for
traditional race-style hands-on adjustability – similar to
the Gabriel shocks available on the original Boss 302.
“The shock adjustment is right at the top of the shock tower,
built into the rod and easily accessible from under the hood or
inside the trunk,” says Clark. “You just take a small
flat-head screwdriver, turn the adjustment screw between one and
five, and head back out onto the track.”
To complement the suspension, the speed-sensitive electronic steering
system has been retuned to maximize feedback and road feel to the
driver. The driver is also given the option of fine-tuning the steering
feel to his liking by selecting one of three settings through the
instrument cluster menu: Comfort, normal and sport modes help offer
track-tuned steering when desired without sacrificing low-speed
maneuverability in parking situations and everyday commuting.
Similarly, Boss receives unique traction control system (TCS) and
electronic stability control (ESC) settings to help drivers achieve
maximum performance whether on the street or at the track. Both
systems can be completely disabled in controlled track situations
where maximum driver skill is utilized, or fully engaged for maximum
safety during normal driving or in less-than-ideal traction conditions.
Intermediate sport mode allows drivers to push their cars hard at
the track without completely disabling the safety systems, permitting
more aggressive driving before the TCS and ESC systems intervene.
Brakes, wheels and tires
Working in concert with the suspension upgrades, Boss 302 receives
unique, lightweight 19-inch black alloy racing wheels in staggered
widths: 9 inches in front, 9.5 inches in the rear. The Pirelli PZero
summer tires are sized specifically for each end of the vehicle,
with the front wheels receiving 255/40ZR-19 tires while the rear
stays planted thanks to 285/35ZR-19 rubber.
The combined suspension and tire package allows Boss to achieve
a top speed of 155 mph and become the first non-SVT Mustang ever
to achieve more than 1.0 g of lateral acceleration.
Boss braking is also up to the challenge, using Brembo four-piston
front calipers acting on 14-inch vented rotors up front. In the
back, standard Mustang GT brakes are upgraded with a Boss-specific
high-performance pad compound. Combined with vented brake shields
and unique Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) tuning, Boss drivers get
maximum control and rapid, repeatable fade-free stops in road and
race situations alike.
The Mustang team spent considerable time ensuring the brake pedal
feel met the expectations of performance drivers. Boss receives
unique low-compressibility brake lines that expand up to 30 percent
less than traditional flexible brake lines, allowing maximum fluid
pressure to reach the calipers in the least amount of time, giving
the driver a sensation of being connected directly to the brake
“This car is wicked fast, so we put a lot of emphasis on
giving it comparable stopping power,” says Clark. “We
started with a race-proven brake system and tuned it specifically
for the characteristics of the Boss 302 and its mission. They’re
the best brakes ever installed on a Mustang, and they give consistent,
repeatable braking performance on the street and the track.”
As a result 60-0 stopping distances for the Boss are improved by
approximately three feet versus the Mustang GT with available brake
package; combined with suspension and engine improvements, Boss
is expected to show approximately a two-second lap time improvement
over the GT on a typical road race course. But the numbers tell
only part of the story.
“We achieved measurable improvements over GT, which was already
one of the best-braking cars we’ve ever designed,” explains
Clark, “but what’s harder to quantify is how good these
brakes feel to a driver in a race situation. Like everything on
this car, the brakes are more than the sum of their parts: They’re
tuned from pad to pedal to work perfectly as a system, and the difference
Exterior and interior design
Changes to the Mustang Boss exterior are subtle but unmistakable.
True to its race-bred heritage, every component that could potentially
aid aerodynamics or engine/brake performance was examined to make
the vehicle more competitive, while chief designer Darrell Behmer
refined the styling to evoke the 1969 Boss in a contemporary way.
“We approached this as curators of a legend,” explains
Behmer. “We’ve taken design cues from the ’69
Boss street car and the menacing Bud Moore/Parnelli Jones race cars
and carefully updated them to give the 2012 the proper bad-boy attitude
that is unmistakably a Boss Mustang.”
To set Boss apart, each car will have either a black or white roof
panel, coordinated to the color of the side C-stripe. Available
exterior colors are Competition Orange, Performance White, Kona
Blue Metallic, Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat Metallic and Race Red.
Up front, a unique fascia and grille are highlighted by the blocked-off
fog lamp openings and aggressive lower splitter, a version of the
design used – and proven – on the Boss 302R race car.
The front splitter is designed to function at high speeds by efficiently
managing the air under and around the car. It helps to reduce underbody
drag and front end lift while more effectively forcing air through
the Boss-specific cooling system. At the rear of the car, the spoiler
was chosen to complement the front aero treatment and minimize overall
“What we were after on Boss was reduced overall lift with
improved balance,” says Pericak. “We needed to keep
the car glued to the street or the track at high speeds without
increasing drag or affecting top speed and fuel usage. The end result
is an aero package that uses front, rear and underbody treatments
not for show, but for effect – the balance and stability of
this car all the way to its 155-mph top speed is just outstanding.”
Inside, a unique Boss steering wheel covered completely in Alcantara
suede complements the standard seats, which are trimmed in cloth
with a suede-like center insert to firmly hold occupants in place.
Boss customers who want the ultimate seating experience can select
a package that includes Recaro buckets, designed by Ford SVT in
cooperation with Recaro for high performance Mustang models, and
shared between the Boss and GT500.
A dark metallic instrument panel finish, gauge cluster and door
panel trim also differentiate Boss from the standard Mustang, while
a black pool-cue shifter ball and “Powered by Ford”
door sill plates further remind customers they’re in a special
The Boss interior gets an aural kick thanks to what’s been
removed. Eleven pounds of sound-deadening material have been eliminated
to let occupants further enjoy the intake, engine and exhaust note.
“Boss is a hallowed word around here, and we couldn’t
put that name on a new Mustang until we were sure everything was
in place to make this car a worthy successor,” explains Pericak.
“We were either going to do it right or not do it at all –
no one on the team was going to let Boss become a sticker and wheel
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across
six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants
worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln
and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company
to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides
financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information
regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.