Saturday, March 6, 2010

Next up? Stock class or "other".

So, Ford recently announced that the 2011 Mustang GT is gonna pack 412HP and a 5.0L V8. Ultimately someone's gonna build one of these monsters for E-Street Prepared (the class I run my Camaro in). On a great day my car is pushing 300hp, and if I upgrade to an LT4 I'm probably looking at 330-340 tops. I'm not sure what the 2011 is going to weigh, but I think it'll be in the vicinity of my car, maybe 100lbs more. Having owned a 2007 Mustang GT I can tell you it puts power down better than my Camaro ever will, all else being equal.

So, the sum total of the above is the feeling that the end of my Camaro's competitive life is on the horizon. I'm fairly certain that plans are already underway to build a 2011 Mustang for ESP, so that horizon may not be far off at all. It's OK, I've had a great time running my car since I bought it in 1998. Most cars don't have such a competitive shelf life. I could gut my car, modify it extensively, and run C-Prepared. I like to think that someday I'll be able to "restore" my car to a fun street vehicle and finally have something to take to car shows and to cruise around in on the weekends. CP is out, then.

So, I'm in the early stages of looking for a replacement. I really don't want to buy anything right now, but as my wife will tell you I can be obsessive about these sorts of things. I guess the first question is whether I'll go back to stock class (I ran F-stock 1998-2002 and had a great time), go to another street prepared car, or will I completely go bonkers and pick up some sort of mod car? Right now my thought process is leaning toward stock class. Using the Camaro as a street/autox car used to be great, but once I went ESP it became less and less practical as it got faster and faster. For some reason I'm back to thinking of ponycars, though. There's something fun about making a car do stuff that it wasn't necessarily made to do.

Right now the ponycar to have (in F-stock) is still the Shelby GT, but that's not attractive to me because frankly I haven't missed that '07 I had one minute. I do like most of what they did to the 2011, especially the much improved interior, and the power is likely to be just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully Ford decides to do something with a suspension package that will at least level the playing field with the Shelby GTs. I really hope they don't let that blowhard profiteer Texan get his grubby mitts on it, though. Why Ford lets him charge a fortune to bolt on Ford Racing parts I'll never know.

Other than that I'm not really enamored with much that is competitive. I'm a RWD guy at heart, but a Cobalt SS seems to have all the credentials. It's a *Cobalt*, though. 370Z is kinda cool, but damn Nissan would you please fire the guy who designs your steering wheels! Corvettes are great, but spendy. Maybe I can low-ball a 2010 Grand Sport in a year or two? Doubt it. Dark-horse pick is a STX BMW, but while the purchase price of a car is attractive I'd probably double my investment in wheels and suspension, and I'd be daily driving a 15 year old car.

Any big ideas on this one are welcome. I have time, so maybe the right answer will present itself. My Camaro found me, and maybe this next car will, too.