SCC: Andy Slankard - Ford interview 2010-01-14

This Week in Ford Racing January 14, 2010 Ford Racing unveiled the BOSS 302R in mid-December, introducing the next generation of its highly successful turnkey production-based race cars. The new car is named the BOSS 302R in celebration of the...

This Week in Ford Racing
January 14, 2010

Ford Racing unveiled the BOSS 302R in mid-December, introducing the next generation of its highly successful turnkey production-based race cars. The new car is named the BOSS 302R in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Parnelli Jones' 1970 Trans Am championship in the original BOSS 302. The new BOSS 302R will replace the highly successful Mustang FR500C, which has won three triple crown championships (driver, team and manufacturer titles in its five-year run in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series (formerly known as KONI Challenge).

This past weekend, the BOSS 302R was on track at the Grand-Am preseason test at Daytona International Speedway. With less than two weeks until the start of the 2010 season, the test stood as a critical milestone in the progress of the highly anticipated BOSS 302R.

Andy Slankard, Ford Racing Engineering Supervisor, was on hand to observe the test and he offered these thoughts on the BOSS 302R test and the car's development.

LAST WEEKEND WAS AN ON TRACK TEST FOR THE BOSS 302R AT DAYTONA. HOW DID THINGS GO? "Things went better than expected. In fact it went great. We have a brand new 5.0 Liter engine in our all new BOSS 302R and all new 2011 Mustang body work, which is new for this class. We brought out two cars and while we had a few little teething issues, we were mainly near or at the top of the charts the whole weekend, so we are very happy with the results."

ARE THERE ANY MORE TESTS PLANNED FOR THE BOSS 302R BEFORE THE DEBUT AT DAYTONA? "That is a good question. We would still like to try to test again. We are looking around at a couple of different places and seeing what fits into the schedule. We would like to have one more test just as a shakedown to see where we are at and to make sure we are prepared for the race."

THERE ARE LOFTY EXPECTATIONS FOR THE DEBUT OF THIS CAR. EVERY ONE OF THE FR FAMILY OF CARS (FR500C, FR500S, FR500CJ) HAS WON ITS DEBUT EVENT. ANY ADDED PRESSURE TO KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE? "We have a lot of expectations for success. What has been good is that the Daytona test showed that we have the potential. Obviously, being a new car, we are more worried about reliability than overall performance. The test showed that we have a winning car. Now we just have to dot our "I's" and make sure it gets to the finish line and have some good luck on the track and we will be there."

COMPARED WITH WHERE YOU WERE IN DEVELOPMENT AT THE SAME POINT WITH THE FR500C (2005 DEBUT) ARE YOU AHEAD OF THE DEVELOPMENTAL CURVE? "I feel we are ahead of the curve overall, because the basic chassis is still very close, very similar and because the teams are more advanced from where they were five years ago since they have been running these cars. We have won three championships in five years so we know how to make a Mustang fast. We have a new gearbox and that is going to be really good and durable and the drivers have indicated they really like that a lot better. The biggest challenge is some of the unknowns with the new parts. When you are developing a new race car you always wish you had more testing."

YOU WILL HAVE FIVE BOSS 302R ON TRACK AT THE 2010 GRAND-AM CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE SERIES OPENER IN TWO WEEKS. THE FORMAL BUILD OF THE LIMITED EDITION OF 50 CARS DOESN'T START UNTIL THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2010. DO YOU ANTICIPATE MAKING ANY MORE CHANGES TO THE CAR PRIOR TO THE BUILD? "So far, everything is looking really solid. I don't anticipate any major changes will happen. We are pretty sorted with the content that will be in the car. We are just working on things to make sure they are durable and reliable. We are going to work with our supply base to get everything assembled to build the cars. We have some work to do once we get back to Dearborn, but right now we are just concentrating on the race."

YOU HAVE DEVLOPED AND BUILT TWO VERSIONS OF THE FR500CJ IN THE LAST TWO YEARS AND NOW YOU HAVE LAUNCHED THE BOSS 302R. WHAT IS NEXT FOR FORD RACING'S TURNKEY PROGRAM? "I can't even think what is next because this is the first time we have done two cars simultaneously. While we are at Daytona, I have a second team back at AAI Assembly plant building the 2010 Cobra Jets. We are in the midst of building the 50 2010 CJ's right now and we will be building until the middle of February so we can deliver the drag racing car to those customers. We are so busy with these projects we haven't even thought about the next one yet."

AS FORD RACING PRODUCES THESE TURNKEY, RACE READY, PRODUCTION BASED RACE CARS, YOU HAVE TRANFORMED THE PERFORMANCE PARTS BUSINESS OF FORD RACING AND CREATED AN ADDITIONAL REVENUE SOURCE FOR THE PROGRAM. "No doubt. We are probably rivaling some of the big German competitors about purpose built race cars from the factory. We will be building over one hundred some odd cars this year and our customers really like it. We are cost conscious as well by doing some of these efficiencies that we have done over the years and so we are getting good at it, we like doing it and there just can't be anything more fun."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Parnelli Jones
Teams Racing Engineering , CIP