Imagine being 20 years old and sitting behind the wheel of a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Now imagine you’re on the drag strip. Now imagine that you make a killer pass (with 0 experience under your belt) and light the internet on fire. Well, that happened for one enthusiast this week.
We weren’t able to come across his name, but we did some digging (so you don’t have to). Apparently “Speed Phenom,” as he’s known online, bought a 2016 GT350R at the age of 18. He claims in a YouTube video from April of 2018 that he was able to purchase the car by using a down payment from his work as a software developer and graphic designer and continues to afford the payments and his schooling through his YouTube channel.
Now, in 2019, his Instagram account states that he owns the aforementioned GT500, which he took delivery of just last week, and a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, along with the GT350R, and a 2014 GT500 Super Snake.
Now that we have some background, let’s launch into the newly-posted video of his “record setting” run. The run took place at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, during a private track rental, and it is clearly Speed Phenom’s first time on the drag strip. His passenger explains the process of staging following a burnout, and the two embark on the first pass down the quarter-mile, sans helmets or any other safety equipment (seriously, don’t do this).
His passenger, Omar, tells him when to get out of it. It appears that he’s still full throttle after coming through the lights before hitting the brakes quite hard (also, don’t do this).
It ran a 10.969 at 129 mph on its maiden pass. In the second pass, sans passenger, he ran a 10.770 at 131.96 mph.
After bumping launch control up to 3,200 rpm (which is the GT500’s maximum), it went a 10.728, and finally, after lowering the tire pressure from 28 psi to 24, it ran a 10.665 at 132.96.
Though that’s an incredible quarter-mile time, it is not actually the fastest the newest GT500 has gone. Evan Smith ran a 10.61 at 133 mph in the car earlier this year at a press event. This, however, is the first privately-owned car to run a 10.6 off the showroom floor, and the second quickest in the world, to date.
It is also interesting to note that these passes were made with absolutely 0 safety equipment above the seatbelts from Ford. Per our notes, passes of 11.49 and quicker require a fire jacket, driveshaft safety loop (if you’re on slicks, which this car was not), and of course, a helmet. Vehicles newer than 2008 are allowed to run without a roll cage up to a 10.00. So basically, the track let him make a bunch of 10-second runs illegally, or at the very least, unsafely. Some might argue that because it was a private track rental, the rules don’t apply. But because Texas Motorplex is an NHRA sanctioned track, they absolutely do.
NHRA tech inspector Dave Ley clarified for us. “He should at least have a helmet and a fire jacket. They had the same situation this weekend at Cecil County Dragway with a Porsche that went an 8.51 at 178 mph in a test and tune. It drew a lot of attention, and the driver was told to go home. My advice to anybody who is new to this and buys one of these cars, get yourself an NHRA rule book so you can stay out of trouble.”
Sound advice, Dave. Use your head, kids. Safety is important!