SSC: BOSS 302R introduction - Ford press conference

Forty years after it's namesake became a road racing legend, the BOSS 302R is back on track for 2010 with the new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Jamie Allison, director Ford North American Motorsports; Fritz Wilke, Ford Mustang Brand Manager; Mike...

Forty years after it's namesake became a road racing legend, the BOSS 302R is back on track for 2010 with the new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Jamie Allison, director Ford North American Motorsports; Fritz Wilke, Ford Mustang Brand Manager; Mike Harrison, Ford Motor Company Engine Programs manager; and the man who made the original BOSS 302 famous, Parnelli Jones participated in a press conference before the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series season-opener to celebrate the debut of the new BOSS 302R.

JAMIE ALLISON -- Director, Ford North American Motorsports

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISCUSS THE NEW VEHICLE? "Absolutely. What an exciting moment here with Parnelli. Almost 40 years, actually 40 years and counting when Parnelli established and set the legend of the original BOSS 302. We couldn't be more thrilled. Brand new car, this year at Ford Motor Company, it's the 2011 Mustang with a new 5.0-liter engine. That in itself is a great history, but to actually track it down and actually build a race car around that historic 5.0-liter and be surrounded by the legend, and our dear friend Parnelli, to re-introduce the BOSS 302R to its true form, which is back on the track where it belongs."

PARNELLI JONES

YOU WERE ABLE TO SEE THE NEW BOSS AND THE OLD BOSS TOGETHER TODAY. HOW DID THE TWO COMPARE? "To compare the two cars, obviously they can make a lot more power today and they've certainly done that. The new car is phenomenal, it handles great. I got a chance to drive a little bit out at Laguna Seca, drive the new car that they're racing today, and I can certainly see that they've come a long way. Obviously, they have a little better power, a little better brakes, probably a little better drivers, probably, anyway. It's really thrilling to be a part of Mustang because I certainly feel a great part of it, spent my whole life, I always say 40 years, I've got 4 of them myself. They're really enjoyable cars and I can't say anything greater than that."

COULD YOU SPEAK TO THE ADVENT OF TECHNOLOGY FROM WHAT YOU'VE RACED TO WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE RACE CARS TODAY? HOW MUCH DOES IT BLOW YOUR MIND AT HOW FAR WE'VE COME? "Well, actually that's one thing that's quite different. In our day, we didn't have any electronics, and we had metals, for example, that weren't as good as they are today. Valve springs, for example, was a big problem that we had back in 1970, and today they've come a long ways. The amazing part of it is you can, in today's Mustang, you can take it out and go hot lap it for quite a few laps and things like that without hurting it. In our day, in '70, you couldn't do that quite with a streetcar and went out and take a few laps, you would probably burn it down. They've come, with technology, a long ways. As we can see, you can make so much more power today in the same amount of cubic inches as we did then. It just goes on and on. The brakes are better. The tires are better. Technology has just come a long way, so it's not the same, but take whatever you race, whatever you have at that particular moment, and try to maximize the most out of it."

YOU HAVE RACED A LOT OF CHAMPIONS. WHAT DID THEY HAVE THAT MADE THEM CHAMPIONS? CAN YOU COMPARE THE CHAMPIONS OF TODAY TO THOSE FROM YESTERDAY? "It's a good question. I don't think one driver from one place to another is any different. What really makes a race driver stand out is his will to win, his desire. I think there are a lot of drivers out there that have a lot of talent, maybe they're lacking a little bit in their desire. The ones that standout have the most desire. You see that in the famous names that you see in racing."

IN TODAY'S RACE ENVIRONMENT WITH THE RACE CARS OF TODAY, CAN YOUR APPROACH TO RACING BE APPLIED WITH SUCCESS? "You're talking about desire, that's what you're getting at. When I first started racing we were running old jalopies, and we had as many as 200 cars show up to qualify and they only took 16 for the main event. You gave it 110-120 percent constantly. There was no letting down at any moment, you pushed, shoved, took everything to the max. That probably hurt my career a lot because when I went into other types of racing, I tended to do the same things, well they corrected me right away, the officials did. I think it just spells out the desire. I want to win, and I did at all costs so-to-speak."

MIKE HARRISON -- Ford Motor Company Engine Programs Manager

UNDER THE HOOD, HOW DO THE TWO CARS COMPARE? "Certainly both have enough motor to be competitive in their times. I know the original BOSS 302 had lots of power out on the track. The street car was a little de-tuned from that, but you had plenty of power at the top in Parnelli. With the 5.0-liter that we have here today for the BOSS 302R, we're essentially pretty much stock for what we've announced for the 2011 5.0- liter. It's very slightly modified from the 2011 engine, but we get to take advantage of that fact. Really we've got a lot of torque to pull out of the corners and also it's going to make racing a lot more affordable because this is a primarily production based engine that we've pulled off our machine and assembly lines, so it's very economical for us to do this. It's going to make racing a lot more affordable."

FRITZ WILKE -- Ford Mustang Brand Manager

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE GT AND THE BOSS 302R TO COMPARE ON TRACK? "We're so excited to have our Mustangs back on track and we're so excited to debut this 5.0-liter that a lot of people have been waiting for with the BOSS 302R. We've got legendary paint schemes, Parnelli, we've borrowed your paint scheme, thank you for letting us do that. We are so excited and we think all of the Mustangs are going to do great this year. We're really looking forward to it as a brand to really embrace the heritage of racing that we have engineered for 45 years."

-source: ford

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Series Grand-Am