It’s rare to get a glimpse into the actual horsepower figures from a competitive X275 car. Thanks to our friends down at FuelTech, we get the full visual treatment from Mike Lauffer’s ’96 Mustang GT as it hammers the Mainline hub dyno to 2,303 horsepower!
Lauffer bought the car from John Pryor at the end of 2019 and campaigned it at Lights Out 11 in 2020 with Grady Underwood behind the wheel, but didn’t have the desired success and ultimately hurt the engine. Once returning home, he enlisted Frank Soldridge of PSI Speed Inc. in New Allen, Kentucky, to completely revamp the package.
“When they came home from that race, we made the engine smaller and brought it down to 380 cubic inches and changed the camshaft. We also added a floater rear from Marty Merillat and Menscer struts and shocks along with lowering the engine in the car and building an all-new turbo system,” says Soldridge.
After making these changes, at the end of 2020, they took the car back to the track, where it ran a best pass of 4.32 in the eighth-mile — strong, but still a tenth-plus off the X275 pace. Over the winter, they made another huge change by adding an all-new FuelTech engine management system with the complete package of Fueltech accessories like the FTSPARK-8, then took it to the dyno at FuelTech to line out the tune-up.
Soldridge, who has been tuning race and street cars on a wheel dyno since the early ‘00s, had never been hands-on with a hub dyno before and came away thoroughly impressed after this session at FuelTech.
“The biggest difference is where you start your run. On a regular run, you’re going to start around 50 mph and make a full sweep, but on the hub dyno, you can simulate making a pass at the track, and it’s just awesome. You can see where it shifts gears and is a great tool even when it comes to just safety,” says Soldridge.
“You don’t have to worry about tire slippage, and you have a true and accurate reading. I’m actually interested in buying one now that I’ve used it. The amount of information you can capture before you even hit the track is phenomenal.”
One interesting thing that he learned about this combination specifically is that it was down approximately five pounds of boost on the hub dyno compared to on the track, and he attributes this to the ram air effect on the forward-facing turbocharger at 160 mph.
Soldridge says it’s essential to understand that hub dyno figures are closer to actual engine horsepower. There is no parasitic drag from the tire on the roller, or tire slip on the roller, or other factors that can provide inaccurate readings.
Since the real key to getting one of these small-tire cars to down the dance down the track is managing the power successfully, it’s beneficial to have the tune-up dialed in before you get there and remove that variable from the equation. This dyno session set the Lauffer/Underwood/Soldridge team up for success in 2021, with an exciting result for the rest of us to enjoy.