Photos by Fastest Street Car Magazine
Anytime a new car is released, there is always a race to be the first or fastest when it comes to performance milestones. With the release of the redesigned 2018 Mustang, it’s no surprise the aftermarket quickly took to the car, especially with the gen-3 Coyote with Direct Injection EFI. One such company is Steeda of Valdosta, Georgia, a high-performance manufacturing business that is celebrating 30 years in the Mustang market.
In extremely short order, the performance parts manufacturer dove into the newest version of the Coyote-powered S550 and hit the track. A mix of parts from Steeda and Ford Performance increased power and fortified the chassis and drivetrain with all the strength needed for amazing on-track performance. Steeda added 4.09 rear gears, Steeda Rear Drag Pack (PN 555-4457), Steeda Vertical links (PN 555-4121), Steeda Toe links (PN 555-4120), Steeda Rear Billet Shock Mount (PN 555-8152), Steeda Rear Drag Swaybar (PN 555-1018), Ford Performance Half Shafts, Steeda Front Camber Plates (PN 555-8139), Steeda Urethane Differential Mounts (PN 555-4439), Steeda Billet Rear Camber Arms (PN 555-4127), Steeda Grade 12.9 Hardware Kit (PN 555-4448), Steeda Driveshaft Safety Loop (PN 555-5070), Steeda Oil Separator (PN 555-3716), Steeda 2018 Cold-Air Intake, SCT BDX Tuner, American Racing Headers 1 7/8-inch headers and X-style mid pipe, Race Star Wheels, QA1 Carbon Fiber Driveshaft, and Mickey Thompson ET Street tires.
Prior to the Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Steeda made a trip to South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, Georgia for some testing. The car flirted with the 10s, but only gave the team a bunch of 11.0x-second time slips. Knowing how important it was to be the first in the 10s, they went back to the track the following day to achieve the milestone number. They were successful in their efforts and came home with a 10.98-second pass, but that is only where the story begins.
“The first 10 second pass was done with the first-gen prototype Steeda CAI,” explains Scott Boda, Director of Manufacturing and Engineering for Steeda Autosport. “Unfortunately, this unit shrunk by 5mm during our testing (wrong material being used). We bolted up the new one once we got to Bradenton and our fuel tables were off by 5-percent, lean. So we knew we were flowing even more air!”
Steeda brought the car to the NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park and competed in True Street. The car rewarded the Steeda crew with 10-second time slips almost instantly, but they felt there was still more to be had.
“At NMRA we ran a 10.96 at 128.83 mph in the heat of the day at full weight during a test pass,” boda explained. “We then backed it up with an 11.055 average in True Street, running an 11.16, 10.98, and 11.01. The data showed we were not getting enough heat in the tires doing 2nd gear burnouts. With the 4.09 gear it wasn’t giving us enough wheel speed in the burnout box. We picked the aggressive 4.09 rear because there were no torque converters available (at the time). We wanted to take advantage of the 10-speed and this engine’s high rpm powerband. Our best 60 foot was a 1.68 until Sunday. On Sunday in Bradenton we were up against the MAK Blown ‘18 in our morning test hit. I knew they were going to be on their game. So I held the burnout longer in 2nd gear to get some extra heat in the tires with a cooler track that morning. It rewarded us with a 1.64 short time and a 6.95 1/8-mile. That was 0.145-seconds quicker to half-track than the car had ever been, and with a 2 mph increase. NMRA would not let us make a ¼-mile hit on Sunday due to up competing in an 1/8-mile class, but that gave the team the confidence to know we had a lot more left in the car.”
Though Steeda was happy with the 10.96 elapsed time, they knew the car was capable of more and were eager to go quicker and faster. The following week, they headed to South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, Georgia for another round of testing. They used what they had learned at Bradenton and put it to good use at SGMP.
“Sure enough, the first hit Friday night at SGMP was a 10.79,” Boda tells us. “By the fourth pass we had chewed up a Dodge Hellcat and lowered that number to a 10.71 at 128.76 mph with a 1.640 60-foot time. This was at 8:36pm and we knew the DA was going to drop by another 300 feet later in the night. Unfortunately, the car never went any faster, even though we lowered the 60-foot time to a 1.63 on our final pass. Regardless, it’s not every day you go to the track and lower your ET by 0.250 seconds.”
The team was ecstatic, but Boda tells us the car still has some left in it. Steeda’s future plans include some lightweight brakes, Steeda front adjustable coil-overs, more computer tweaks, and a performance torque converter. Once testing begins with the converter, a rear gear change might be made, but Steeda intends to let the results dictate that decision.
“I am blown away, it almost seems too easy,” exclaims Boda. “There is so much left we can do–change the intake manifold, converter, K-member, maybe cams down the road, ect. I honestly think by the end of the year we might be knocking on the door of the 9’s. I know we can drop 2-4 tenths with a converter alone. Throw in some more HP and less weight, and it’s going to be awesome!”