How Steeda Ran The First NA 10-Second Pass In A 2018 Mustang

Ford let us know last July that the automatic 2018 Mustang was something special. Already the most powerful Mustang yet, the second-gen S550 with the new 10-speed automatic has proven capable of mid-11-second e.t.’s in stock form. When modified by the likes of Steeda, the latest pony car delivered a stunning drag-strip performance — a 10-second e.t. breathing in only what the good earth has to offer.

We went bananas. This was such a cool and fun project. — Scott Boda, Steeda

That’s right, during a test session at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, Georgia, Steeda Director of Manufacturing and Engineering Scott Boda piloted the company’s silver 2018 Mustang GT automatic to an impressive 10.98 at 126 mph, making it the quickest naturally aspirated example thus far thanks to a swap to 4.09 gears, a few modest bolt-ons, and some of Steeda’s signature suspension upgrades.

Steeda’s Scott Boda set the naturally aspirated e.t. record in a 2018 Mustang by running an 10.98 at 126 MPH. The second-gen S550 was running with just bolt-on upgrades, 4.09 rear gears, and VP C85 in the tank. At the 2018 NMRA Spring Break Shootout, the car ran an even quicker 10.96-second pass. (Photo Credit: Steeda)

“After some wrenching and tuning in South Florida, the Mustang headed up to Valdosta with our tuner, James Gordon, for some final tweaks last Thursday. After a couple tests on Steeda Way, we then went to SGMP last night. The first hit after driving it up was an 11.16 and we went nuts,” Scott enthused. “A couple adjustments later had us at 11.02 with a stout 1.70-second 60-foot. One final attempt to get us in the 10s got us a 1.68 short, which was enough, but we hit the rev limiter in First and the car slowed.”

Undaunted, the Steeda team returned to SGMP on Saturday and gave it another shot, which definitely paid off.

The Magic Combo

“… With temps around 78 degrees and a DA of 1,400 feet, we made it happen,” Scott enthused. “It ran an 11.008 on the first hit, so we hot lapped a 11.01 (both 1.69 shorts) and then after one final set of adjustments — boom! It ran a 10.98 at 126.35 mph with a 1.68-second short time. We went bananas. This was such a cool and fun project.”

With the dual-injection powerplant we knew it would love RPM. — Scott Boda, Steeda

“The only weight reduction was the passenger seat and floor mats,” he added with a laugh. “Can’t forget those.”

During this testing, the Steeda 2018 Mustang was equipped with a 3D-printed prototype of Steeda’s forthcoming CAI for the 2018+ Mustang GT. According to company president Dario Orlando, Steeda will seek CARB approval for this unit, which he describes as the largest on the market.

He was able to accomplish the feat thanks to a relatively modest suite of bolt-on upgrades right from the Steeda shelves — the Stop The Hop rear suspension upgrade, a few other suspension bits, a free-flowing exhaust, and the aforementioned rearend gears — along with one part that is still in development, but will soon be available. It was the result of some testing of a carryover part from the 2015-2017 models that wasn’t deemed up to the task on the latest Mustang.

Steeda 2018 Mustang GT Mods

• American Racing Headers long-tube headers w/ bullet mufflers and dumps

• Custom Steeda calibration delivered with SCT Performance tuner

VP Racing Fuels C85

• Ford Performance Parts 4.09 rearend gears

Mickey Thompson ET Street R rear tires, 305/45-17

• Race Star Recluse wheels

• Steeda drag springs,

• Steeda billet shock mounts

• Steeda Pro Action adjustable rear shocks

• Steeda drag sway bar

• Steeda rear lower control arm bearings

• Steeda black urethane differential bushings

• Steeda IRS subframe support braces

• Steeda IRS subframe bushing support system

• Steeda IRS subframe alignment kit

• Steeda S550 Mustang rear lower control arm spherical bearings

• Steeda prototype, 3D-printed cold air kit

“The original Steeda CAI tested on the car was a carry-over from ’15-’17, but we wanted to think outside the box after customers becoming more concerned with inlet air temps with all of today’s technology available to monitor these things,” Scott explained. “Also, the 2018 10R80 model we started with wasn’t a Performance Pack and only had the 3.15 rear gear in it. Initial tests showed potential, but with the dual-injection powerplant we knew it would love RPM. So, after running some numbers, I suggested Ford Performance Parts 4.09 gears for it.”

The inlet run on this car is a prototype version of the company’s new cold-air intake designed specifically with the deep-breathing Gen 3 Coyote in mind. This 122mm beast clearly flows a lot of air, but it isn’t quite available yet because Steeda proved it out in prototype form before moving it to production by using a 3D-printed version.

Steeda is an outfit known for it suspension wizardry, so it should be no surprise that the underside of this 2018 Mustang features a carefully selected group of upgrades (see sidebar) that helped make efficient use of the car’s bolt-on power at the track. “We were able to use all seven gears in the quarter mile and it hooked with a 17-inch tire and 4.09 gear,” Scott Boda said. “It ran consistent 1.68-1.69 60-foots with a foot brake and stock converter, which is no joke.”

The resulting combo — burning VP C85 and running a custom Steeda calibration via an SCT Performance handheld — delivered 481 horsepower at the rear wheels. It clearly put that to efficient work by dipping into the 10-second zone. Scott ran all the test hits in Sport mode and launched between 2,000-2,200 RPM with the PCM banging the gears at about 7,500 RPM, so there were no tricks to getting it done.

Obviously the combo works, so expect to see the new CAI hit the market soon, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see this car run even quicker by the time you can buy one.

Article Sources

About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it 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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