By design, the fledgling X275 eliminator has been one of exceptional variety, with nitrous-fed small blocks and big blocks, supercharged and turbocharged small blocks, and naturally-aspirated cars dotting the landscape. But something the class hasn’t seen, nor has any other heads-up class to our knowledge, is an Audi-powered Ford Mustang. Go ahead, let that sink in.
Dragzine reader Mike Salkowski tipped us on his ongoing build that truly embodies the term “unique”, involving the unconventional crossbreeding of a Fox body Ford Mustang with a 2.3L, five-cylinder Audi powerplant that he intends to compete with not only in X275 and similar 275 Drag Radial racing venues, but if all goes according to plan, in the NHRA’s Competition Eliminator division, as well.
So, why an Audi powerplant you ask?
“We went with the Audi engine to take advantage of the nitrous [X275 rules allow for nitrous and turbochargers in four, five, and six cylinder engines] and the weight break,” explains Salkowski. “Plus, I wanted a different engine combination that no one has seen or used in Drag Radial racing. The Audi engines are very stout pieces and can handle a lot of power while keeping weight down at the same time.”
Salkowski, a Waterloo, Ia. native, is in the mist of constructing the 25.5 spec cage/chassis under the Fox, and once complete, will undergo a transplant of the Audi mill. Nostalgia Top Fuel racer Roger Lechtenburg of R&J Performance, credited with the development of the Mopar B1 wedge cylinder head, is performing the engine build that will sport an X275-legal 88mm turbocharger. Salkowski is working to prepare a proposal to the NHRA for inclusion in Comp, and should it be approved, a 74mm turbo swap would be required to make the car legal for the CC/AT division.
The engine, expected to make somewhere around 1,300 horsepower, features an 034 Motorsports dry sump oiling setup, with custom JE Pistons, billet cams, solid lifters, and a host of other go-fast goodies. The EFI is operated through a VEMS engine management system from EFI Express, with fuel injectors from the Fuel Injector Clinic. Salkowski will be planting the power through a Powerglide transmission mated with a PTC torque converter.
On the suspension side of things, Salkowski’s mount sports a braced 8.8 rear housing with a spool and axles from Strange Engineering, a QA1 k-member, custom double adjustable upper and low rear control arms, a Team Z Motorsports anti-roll bar, rear coilover shocks, and Strange front struts with Afco springs.
Salkowski hopes to have this one-of-a-kind race car completed within the next month for a track testing debut to follow soon after.