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DEARBORN -- On Wednesday, June 23, Ford Motor Company will attempt to prove Mustang’s ranking as the most fuel efficient pony car to date during the Mustang 1000 Lap Challenge. For the last several months, Ford Mustang engineers have been testing the 2011 Mustang V-6 and preparing the pony car for its ultimate test - circling Bristol Motor Speedway, the half-mile NASCAR bullring, at least 1000 times – twice the distance of the Bristol NASCAR race – on one tank of gas. This 1000 lap challenge will highlight the 3.7L V-6 model’s best-in-class 31 mpg. Tom Barnes, 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 Engineer, talks about his pride in the new Mustang and his confidence in the vehicle making all 1000 laps.
Q. TALK ABOUT YOUR PRIDE IN THE NEW 2011 MUSTANG V-6.
A. It’s fantastic. It’s the hallmark Mustang of the last couple decades. The 5.0 liter is fantastic. It’s great, but the V-6 at 300 horsepower, asking price starting under $23,000, and then throwing 31 miles per gallon on it, it’s everything. It’s affordable, it’s efficient, and it’s quick on top of it. The whole team is super happy we put a lot of stretch in to get to 31 (miles per gallon), through calibration, through watching every element involved with the car from aerodynamics to tire rolling resistance to using electronic powered steering, all of these things, six speed transmission; it all enabled us to get there. We’re not going to stop, but we’re super proud of this car.
Q. IS THIS THE SAME MUSTANG THAT CONSUMERS WILL BE ABLE TO PURCHASE AT THEIR LOCAL FORD DEALER?
A. This Mustang will be exactly the same Mustang that consumers can purchase at their local Ford dealer. We’re not doing any tricks. It’s just going to be standard everything. The base car gets great mileage and this is what you can buy. There’s nothing trick about this at all, standard tire pressure, standard ride height, standard octane fuel. We’re just going to be driving it.
Q. HOW CAN THIS 1000 LAP CHALLENGE PROGRAM AFFECT FUTURE VEHICLE ENGINEERING AND DEVELOPMENT?
A. I think it’s more about educating and informing the customer what we can do, that you can have both; great performance and great fuel economy and a sports car that is fun to drive. I think it’s about getting people aware that you have this Mustang which looks great, it handles great, it goes great, and it also gets great fuel economy. It’s just going to raise the expectation in the future.
Q. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU CAN MAKE THE 1000 LAPS?
A. The Mustang will make all 1000 laps and more. We’ll see how much further. It depends on how we drive. It depends on the weather. It depends on a lot of different things but we’ll definitely make it and we’ll see what the number is. My guess is no more valid than anyone else’s. I think everyone has a good shot at it. To tie racing to a V-6 Mustang is pretty cool. Mustang V-8s do fantastic in road racing, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the Mustang Challenge, there’s even programs in Europe. It’s fantastic, but this is putting it a little different with the V-6 at a race track, just trying to emphasize that it’s such an ‘and’ car. It’s fuel economy, and affordability, and great looks.