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Ford Develops All-New High Tech Mustang Funny Car Body for 2019

NHRA Funny Car is one of the most exciting and unpredictable categories in all motorsports. With 10,000-plus horsepower nitro burners beating under the carbon fiber bodies, you never know whats going to happen. While it may seem like raw chaos when the driver lights the candles, getting a car down track requires an orchestrated combination of driver skill and mechanical perfection. An amazing amount of technology goes into every pass, which, on a good one, propels drivers from zero to 330-plus mph in under 4 seconds! A major aspect of a modern Funny Car is the body itself. In the very early days of the class, fiberglass lift-off bodies that replicated popular cars were used, but over the years, Funny Car bodies have morphed into specially-shaped carbon fiber shells designed to maximize aerodynamic downforce and driver safety. According to 2-time NHRA Funny Car champion and Fox TV commentator Tony Pedregon, It can take 2-3 fabricators roughly 250-or-more hours to take a bare body to race-ready condition. This includes building the infrastructure, added additional carbon lay up for all the aluminum bodywork and building the carbon firewall. A completed body can weight approximately 260 lbs, he added. Cost, including labor, can be upwards of $80,000. Having an efficient body can help and Ford drivers who will likely gain performance with an all-new Mustang in 2019. Just one year ago, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Company announced it would return to National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) competition with Bob Tasca III carrying the flag with his Motorcraft-backed flopper. Tim Wilkerson also used a Ford Mustang body on his FC entry. With one race to go in 2018, Wilkerson sits 4th in points and Tasca III is 11th. The good news for these Ford FC drivers is that Ford Motor Company has plans to dive deeper into the class with a pair of brand-new developments. The first development is an all-new 2019 Mustang Funny Car body to replace the body currently in use. The current body was developed a decade ago for the 2009 season. To say its outdated would be an understatement. The second, most impressive development, is the process used to create the new car. We started with this project in October 2017, said Bernie Marcus, a long-time Ford Performance aerodynamicist for the sports car and drag racing efforts. Design begins with the use of computational fluid dynamics, which then turns into building parts to wind-tunnel test on a scale model of the car. Once all those parts are verified, we produce a full-size model. The initial development process used for the new Mustang Funny Car body is the same process utilized for previous Ford race cars, including the Le Mans-winning Ford GT, albeit with one difference that holds major implications for both race and production car technology: the full-size prototype model phase is being skipped. In other words, the first full-size car built is the one that Ford intends to race. The plan is to race this car, with this body, in 2019, explained Marcus. All that remains is finishing the full-size body and receiving NHRA approval. Then well have time in the off-season to conduct testing before next season. Removing the prototype phase has tremendous cost-cutting implications but it places even more emphasis on scale models and CFD development. The 2019 Ford Mustang Funny Car is a great example of the kind of breakthroughs we strive for with our racing products, said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. Just as with our simulator technology at the Ford Performance Technical Center, learning to effectively and efficiently develop vehicles without the need for multiple, full-size prototypes will significantly effect how future Ford vehicles are brought to production. And according to Ford, cost-saving development methods used for new body can directly transfer to future products in Fords lineup of consumer vehicles. The new Mustang Funny Car body mold was cut over a 10-day process in Michigan during October, with approval from NHRA and initial placement of the first body scheduled in the weeks ahead. First on-track testing is scheduled to begin in January. The 2019 NHRA season begins with the Winternationals in Pomona, California on February 7-10. The post Ford Develops All-New High Tech Mustang Funny Car Body for 2019 appeared first on Hot Rod Network .


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