'SLEEK AND SEXY' TEAM FORCE MUSTANGS DEBUT AT CARQUEST WINTERNATIONALS 2006 Castrol GTX Ford Brings 4.60 Second Credentials to Opener YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Calling it "sleek and sexy," John Force declared his new 2006 Castrol GTX Ford Mustang...
'SLEEK AND SEXY' TEAM FORCE MUSTANGS DEBUT AT CARQUEST WINTERNATIONALS
2006 Castrol GTX Ford Brings 4.60 Second Credentials to Opener
YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- Calling it "sleek and sexy," John Force declared his new 2006 Castrol GTX Ford Mustang race-ready Monday as he and his team made final preparations for Thursday's start of the season-opening 46th annual CARQUEST Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Force, drag racing's most prolific winner with 119 tour victories and 13 NHRA championships, pushed the highly-anticipated new Mustang to a quarter mile time of 4.698 seconds at 299.66 miles per hour two weeks ago during pre-season tests at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"It looks like a Ford Mustang, but it runs like a Top Fuel dragster," Force said of the car that replaces the venerable 2003 Mustang utilized by his team the last three seasons, the car in which he set the current NHRA records of 4.665 seconds, 333.58 mph. "It gives us a car to match the Dodges (of reigning NHRA POWERade champion Gary Scelzi, Ron Capps and Whit Bazemore)."
More than 18 months in development, the new Mustang was the final project created for John Force Racing, Inc., by aerodynamacist Tim Gibson, whose six-year contract with the team expired Dec. 31.
The car first was projected for delivery early in the 2005 season but that debut was delayed several times by design changes which required re-initiating NHRA's stringent certification process.
Metal Crafters, Inc., finally delivered the first of the 2006 Mustangs to the JFR shop in Yorba Linda, Calif., in early January. From there, the cars went to Caliber Collision Co. for paint and then to Victory Race Cars, Inc., for bracing and additional infrastructure.J Although the team transported three new Mustangs to Las Vegas, one for eachof its Funny Car drivers, only Force's GTX entry actually made a run. The 2006 Castrol SYNTEC Mustang driven by Eric Medlen and the 2006 Auto Club Mustang driven by 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year Robert Hight will make their first competitive laps duringThursday's initial qualifying session.
Force, Medlen and Hight finished 3-4-5 in POWERade points last season even though Force won two more races than anyone else in the Funny Car category. His five victories were offset by an uncharacteristic 10 first round losses. The team wound up losing its bid for an unprecedented 13th straight Funny Car title by 32 points.
"The thing I really, really like about it is that it looks like a Mustang," Force said. "My personal car is a white 2005 Mustang GT and there's no mistaking that it was the model for the race car."
Indeed, retaining the basic lines of the production car was one of the primary design considerations not only for Gibson, but for the Ford engineers who also worked on the project which was refined in the Lockheed-Martin wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga.
"The grill, the tail lights and the contours along the side are all straight from the stock design," he said.
"The thing I really like about it is it looks like a Ford Mustang." -- John Force on his new 2006 Castrol GTX Funny Car