Photos Courtesy of JPC Racing and NMRA
Nearly twenty years ago the first anti-roll bar was put on a stock suspension Mustang to eliminate the twisted launch. Prior to that time, only four-link racecars were thought to benefit from that suspension component. As the anti-roll bar use expanded, Fox-body Mustangs started hooking better and 8-second times slips became common, which was fast for the mid-90s. Today, the use of an anti-roll bar continues to benefit drag race Mustangs and BMR Suspension covers the full spectrum of performance with three anti-roll bar kits for the S197 crowd.
Falling under the XSB part number line, BMR Suspension introduced its latest anti-roll bar, the XSB012, which is aimed at the serious drag racer. “It [XSB012] is intended for cars looking to achieve the best times possible, and surpass the current performance of their other ARB designs they are using,” said Kelly Aiken of BMR Suspension.
The XSB012 is described as the “Race Bar” but don’t let the nickname fool you. It is designed to bolt-on and requires zero welding. The target market for the XSB012 is the fast crowd where sub 1.30 sixty-foot times are the norm. The BMR design team focused on the aforementioned bolt-on designation but also a great strength-to-weight ratio. The XSB012 is strong so it won’t flex when big power and torque are applied, but racers aren’t adding unnecessary weight to their cars.
For milder cars there are is the Poly Xtreme ARB (XSB005) aimed at Mustangs that produce sixty-foot times in the 1.45 range. As enthusiasts get more serious and enter the 1.30 range with their sixty-foot clocking, then Aiken suggests the Delrin Xtreme ARB. It is when a S197 Mustang gets down into the 1.20 range when the Race Bar is the go-to product.
The basic explanation on how an anti-roll bar works is that it minimizes body roll. What does that mean? As a drag car launches the rear axle housing twists as it is planting the tires. The body wants to separate from the tire as it rotates to the right and pulls the left side tire off the ground. Adding an anti-roll bar keeps the body level and straight by using a torsion bar and two links to join it to the frame. That creates level launches and prevents the unnecessary body movement, ensuring both tires are planted equally.
Our travels took us to Maryland to check out the Race Bar firsthand at JPC Racing. Andy Howard’s 2014 Mustang GT recently received a RGR/JPC Coyote 5.0 and the JPC Racing turbo kit was upgraded with a Precision 8285 turbo. It is a combination that has proven to run deep into the 8s. Shakedown runs showed the car scored a lethargic 1.50 short time on a pair of Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pro 275 tires. The lack of an anti-roll bar was a big contributor to the car not working properly. Enter the Race Bar as this is the exact combination the BMR folks had in mind when it designed it.
Installation was exactly as advertised—no welding as it all bolts on. The JPC crew had the Race Bar installed in less than hour and was able to head to the drag strip the same day. On track, the car instantly went into the 1.20 zone as JPC Racing’s on-track tuning guru, Eric Holliday, was able to adjust the shocks and add more launch boost on the controller. The car eventually ran a best of 1.24, which isn’t bad considering the Mustang weighs in the 3,680-pound range due to being a legit street car. Through the quarter-mile, Howard has been as quick as 8.28 at 164 mph.
The full line of BMR anti-roll bars offer simple installation and can keep your S197 straight, allowing the suspension to work properly for the best possible performance.