Fans of the 2018 Mustang know that the drag strip milestones for the latest pony are dropping faster than your fuel gauge under boost. At the moment the pioneers have pushed the Gen 3 Coyote into the 9-second zone with the assistance of a power adder, and most recently, the crew at Midnight Performance used two turbos to push a stock-engine example to a new record of 9.42 seconds at over 150 MPH.
That might seem too incredible to believe, but we know that Ford really stepped up the game of the Coyote 5.0-liter with its latest round of engineering improvements. And, we caught up with this car’s calibrator, Jon Lund Jr. of Lund Racing, to see how the Midnight team managed to maximize this engine with turbochargers.
“Pushing the Stock 2018 Gen 3 Coyote engine wasn’t as difficult as it sounds! There’s an obvious gamble to making power with stock internals on a different engine block — a block that we don’t really know what its strength capability is yet. Assuming the block and rotating assembly is a similar strength to its Gen 2 predecessor, we figured we could push similar boost levels and make good power,” Jon said. “The higher compression, direct injection, and other upgrades Ford made to the engine helped make 900-plus horsepower achievable with much less boost required than previous-generation engines. Our experience with direct injection from tuning UPR’s record-holding EcoBoost Mustang also gave us a pretty good head start in knowing what a DI motor will want to make safe, optimal power.”
Achieving that optimal level of output requires the proper supporting cast, which wasn’t too elaborate in this case. Other than the turbo and tuning, it just needed the proper fuel and fuel delivery system.
“The Gen 3 engine seems to respond well to boost. The higher compression and direct injection paired with E85 fuel makes it a stout contender. You don’t need a lot of timing or boost to make power on these engines,” Jon said.
While the gearing wasn’t optimal and the stock transmission seemed to slip in Seventh gear, the car still ripped off an amazing run thanks to the right upgrades to help the driveline live through the pass and plant the power to the pavement.
Midnight Performance 2018 Mustang Mods
• Aldo Welds custom twin-turbo kit w/ air-to-water intercooler
• AMS2000 boost controller
• BMR Suspension complete upgrade
• DSS driveshaft
• DSS 1,400-horsepower halfshafts
• E85 fuel
• Fore Innovations dual-regulator return fuel system w/ three Walbro 465-lph pumps
• Injector Dynamics ID1300x2 port injectors w/ factory direct injection
• Lund Racing remote calibration via nGauge
• Mickey Thompson skinnies (front) and 17-inch ET Street SS Drag Radials (rear)
• Precision Turbo 6466 turbos
• Viking Performance shocks and struts
• Watson Racing K-member
• Wilwood brakes
If a stock, 4,050-pound (with driver) 2018 Mustang can run this well with just over 12 pounds of boost, it shouldn’t be too long before we see that magic 8-second pass from one of these cars.