Pony Wars: Meet The Teams Making Our Rides Battle Ready

With any luck, you have been following along with our new series of Horsepower Wars programming. The first installment of this competitive series is a head-to-head battle between to life-long rivals. In Pony Wars, a 2017 Camaro SS squares off against a 2017 Mustang GT in a battle for bragging rights.

Leading these storied vehicles into battle are Chase Christensen, Editor of LSX Magazine, and Steve Turner, Executive Editor of FordNXT. As you might guess, Chase is leading the Camaro team and Steve is leading the Mustang team.

Two pony cars will fight it out for bragging rights in four competitions — braking, drag racing, dyno testing, and road racing — and two build phases with $5,000 and $15,000 budgets based on Summit Racing pricing.

As a refresher, both cars will compete in four competitions — braking, drag racing, dyno testing, and road racing. After baselines were established, each car received a $5,000 budget based on Summit Racing pricing. After the build, the cars are tested again. Then they get a $15,000 budget and do it over again. The car that wins the most categories will gallop away with the glory.

To help develop the most effective packages, both team leaders called on industry experts to develop parts lists that fit within the constraints of the rules and the budgets. Once the build lists were developed, the duo also consulted with the parts manufacturers to select just the right gear.

Orchestrating the two builds are LSX Magazine editor, Chase Christensen, who is leading the Camaro team and FordNXT Executive Editor, Steve Turner, who is leading the Mustang team.

Team Camaro

Tasked with taking a nicely optioned 2017 Camaro SS to the next level on a budget, Chase enlisted a pair of experienced outfits to help create his combinations. On the powertrain side, he reached out to the LS experts at Accelerated Racing Solutions of Rancho Cucamonga, California.

“Accelerated has a lot of experience with late-model LS and LT platforms. They know what works and what doesn’t work, especially when it comes to the dyno and the quarter-mile,” Chase said. “They’ve already built many sixth-gens, so their recommendations carry a lot of weight. At the end of the day, they know best what will give the Camaro the edge against the Mustang and can give me a pretty good idea of what each and every mod I make will be worth.”

To ensure the most effective package of mods, Chase called upon the experts for advice. Tiana and Brandon Weber, of Accelerated Racing Solutions (left), and Kelly Aiken, of BMR Suspension (right) assisted in formulating the Camaro’s combo.

Building power is only part of the equation. To put down the extra power, he consulted with BMR Suspension to upgrade the car’s high-tech magnetic suspension.

“The guys over at BMR are suspension experts, whether that’s on the road course or at the drag strip. With the Camaro’s magnetic ride suspension, they know best what modifications will really give us the best bang for the buck on such an already capable platform,” Chase explained. “They will be instrumental in getting our Camano’s suspension dialed in, especially when it comes to putting down the serious horsepower we intend to make at the end of the $15,000 portion. Suspension can get complicated quickly and the experts at BMR will keep our car tracking straight.”

Team Mustang

Likewise, developing a package to make the Mustang competitive with the neoteric Camaro involved seeking advice from two experts. To help build a powerful combo, Evolution Performance, which has built some of the quickest and fastest Mustangs around, chimed in on the full combination.

“With the debut of the Shelby GT500, Evolution Performance made a name for itself by building a string of record-setting drag racing and street/strip Mustangs. The shop carried that momentum into the S550 era,” Steve explained. “The Evo crew has experience with everything from bolt-ons to wild power adder combinations, so they were able to quickly help us put together two packages designed to work with one another”

Helping create the most effective combination for the Mustang were Glen Vitale (left) and Scott Boda (middle), of Steeda, and Fred Cook, of Evolution Performance (right).

Likewise, putting together suspension upgrades that would work with one another and put the additional power to the pavement on the racetrack was key to maximizing the Mustang.

“From winning at the road course to setting records at the drag strip, Steeda has nearly 30 years of experience modifying Mustangs for a higher level of performance. The company has a great deal of experience enhancing the S550 platform for the road course, street, and strip, so its team was able to help us build a foundation with our Phase 1 mods and fulfill that potential with a more complete suspension makeover in Phase 2.”

This is the Horsepower Wars shop team that will manage the Camaro and Mustang builds across both phases. Brandon Canny, Alonzo Duran, and Dean Jigamian will spin all the wrenches and make the magic happen.

This competition is also backed some of the biggest names in the automotive aftermarket — including ARPBMR Suspension COMPDiabloSportDyna-BattE3 Spark PlugsHolley Performance PartsMahleMickey ThompsonProChargerQA1 Royal PurpleSummit RacingTCIWeld Racing, Covercraft, Fragola, PRW, and others — so it will be fun to see how the two cars perform across the entire Pony Wars competition.

To see how it all plays out, keep your eyes on the FordNXT, Horsepower Wars, and LSX Magazine sites and social outlets.

Article Sources

About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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