Pony Wars: Equalizing Our Mustang For The Competition

As the old saying goes, “Fair’s fair,” and in the case of our 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS and our 2017 Ford Mustang GT, one of these things is not like the other.

To quickly recap, Horsepower Wars: Pony Wars is all about pitting our pony car duo against each other in a series of competitive phases (you can learn more about our competition in Episode 1 of our show here).

We learned quickly that when you pit a fully-optioned, from the factory car against a barebones model competitor, the gap between the two (both in price and performance) begins to extend at a rapid pace.

In all forms of competition, our Camaro SS would have had a leg-up on the Mustang GT from the get-go, making the series unfair and therefore uneventful. By today’s standards, a 2018 Mustang GT versus a 2018 Camaro SS would have been a fair fight, but ultimately, we decided to go with both 2017 model-year pony cars, which we’ve addressed in detail here.

After making that decision, we found ourselves at a roundtable of sorts and the discussion of equalizing our Mustang began. Our Camaro SS left the factory with an eight-speed automatic transmission, six-piston Brembo brakes and GM’s Magneride suspension, all of which were optional. If you’ll recall from our baseline results article, where we took our Mustang to our local quarter-mile drag strip, we detailed that our 2017 GT is a barebones model with nothing more than an optional 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission and a 300A package.

So now, the question remains, how does one go about equalizing our ’Stang to compete with the Camaro out of the box? With help from the aftermarket, of course.

Pony Wars pits our Camaro and our Mustang against each other in a battle of the best in a series of events. As you know by now, some of those events include drag racing, 60-0 braking and track testing. To get our ’Stang moving in the right direction, we first evaluated what needed to be upgraded. Our ’17 Camaro SS left the factory with 20×9.5-inch wheels on all four corners, while our Mustang’s wheels measure in at a measly 17×9 inches.

Both wheels are cast, and the Camaro sports six-piston Brembo brakes in front as part of the 2SS package from the factory. As you can see, our ’Stang was already at a disadvantage from the get-go, as the Camaro boasts better braking and handling from the factory compared to our base model car.

Installing our new Ford Performance Brembo six-piston brakes and Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S drag radials was a breeze.

To ensure our Pony cars have even footing, both cars utilize the same size wheels and tires for our competition. With that, we upgraded our GT with a set of ROUSH Performance‘s 20×9.5-inch Quicksilver cast aluminum wheels on all four corners. We chose these wheels because they are available standard from the factory on all ROUSH Mustangs, and are the same size as the Camaro’s factory wheels.

Our Mickeys mounted, balanced, and ready to hit the track.

For the drag strip, we enlisted Mickey Thompson‘s help for our pony car duo. We needed a tire which could be driven to, at and from the track, so the obvious answer was its 275/40R20 ET Street S/S D.O.T. approved drag radial. The ET Street S/S features an R2 compound and a tubeless construction, making them very favorable for our street/strip intentions. For the road course, we matched the wheels with a set of Toyo Tires‘ Proxes R888R 275/40R20 tires.

Our Mustang utilizes Ford Performance‘s six-piston front and rear brake kit. Naturally, the kit is comprised of OEM equipment which is available for our Mustang with the Performance Pack option from the factory. All of these components may not add more horsepower in the grand scheme of things, but they do help to close the gap during our testing.

For more information on the parts used in this segment, check out the full parts article for all of the details.

Stay tuned, folks, we are only getting started. Horsepower Wars is backed by some of the biggest names in the automotive aftermarket — including ARPBMR SuspensionCOMP, CovercraftDiabloSportDyna-BattE3 Spark PlugsHolley Performance PartsMahleMickey ThompsonProChargerPRWQA1 Royal PurpleSummit RacingTCI, and others — and it’s going to be a crazy ride over the next few months as we let these Ponies continue the battle. You won’t want to miss it.

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About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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