Ford has been doing a lot of factory approved drag racing recently. They’ve been selling lots of “for the strip only” cars, and now it looks like veteran Ford guy, and NASCAR super-team owner Jack Roush is getting into the act, and, surprisingly, getting in a rather green way.
Roush does more than just NASCAR and the occasional drag car though. He is involved in a wide variety of auto-related ventures, most of them seemingly involved in the building of very quick Ford powered vehicles. His Roush Engineering business, for example, does a lot of prototype build and development work for a number of different client companies. And most recently Roush Engineering has been working on, and building propane-fueled conversions of Ford F-150 pickup trucks that are especially useful to fleet customers.
So why not dive into making propane-fueled drag cars, huh?
Jack Roush’s latest project is a new drag racing Mustang fueled by propane. The new car is one of only two being built up and prepared for NMRA competition in the 2010 season using Mustang body shells. Naturally, the first car will be unveiled at this week’s SEMA show is based on a 2005 Mustang. The second car, which is set to roll out in February will use a new 2010 Mustang body, which I believe is slightly more aerodynamic than the ’05 body shell.
Getting the cars to go on propane was fairly straightforward for the Roush outfit. They adapted the propane fuel kit used in the F-150 pickup conversion process and bolted it on to an aluminum block 5.4-liter V8 based on the Ford GT engine. Sweet, huh?
Roush switched the previously supercharged Ford GT engine to now run normally aspirated and then he bumped the compression ratio up to 12.5:1, all the better to take advantage of the 106 octane rating of propane.
By the time they are done fiddling, the new propane-fueled engines should crank out in excess of 600 hp. And emissions-wise, running a propane dragster should be pretty impressive, if you’re going off of what the F-150 truck conversion puts out. Running on Propane, the F-150 generates an average of almost one-fifth less greenhouse gases and NOx than a similar gasoline engine.