Being already a tradition, for the last several years Motor Trend has held its ‘Best Driver’s Car’ competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This race puts the world’s best handling sports cars against one another on the 2.24 mile course.
These vehicles are rated based on acceleration, braking, handling, ride and lap times, with professional racer Randy Pobst handling driving duties.
Motor Trend will be introducing each of the contenders for the ‘Best Driver’s Car’ title, one of them being the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca. The Laguna Seca edition, the high-level model, built to lap Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca features a race-derived suspension, race-compound tires, no rear seats, race-derived aerodynamic modifications, and a special key that changes the engine computer programming from street-legal to full race spec.
So how did the Boss 302 Laguna Seca do? Here’s what Randy Pobst had to say about the car:
On handling… “The way it comes off the second-gear hairpin, I cannot believe the way it hooks up. They musta had, like, John Force doing the drag racing setup, because I virtually couldn’t knock it loose. I couldn’t…I mean, I was…the first time I was real careful. I’m like “Yeah, I know what this thing’s gonna do…” I get on the power, and it just drives off. I’m…wow. So the second time around…more. The third time around…more. And it just digs outta there. I’d love to know how they got it to hook up like that. It puts power down so well. Extremely well-balanced car. A joy to drive. Didn’t even feel very crude, tell you the truth. Felt pretty well-balanced. A little bit of body roll, but stick. Lord have mercy, it’s better than the Shelby GT500 we tested a while back. Handled better than a Porsche Cayman.”
On the transmission… “I did get a crunch on the 3-4 shift once, which was a little bit of a surprise.”
On the brakes… “The brakes had had enough by the end of the second lap. They were hot and starting to fade for sure. But the braking was excellent. I didn’t feel the kind of brake dive that we’ve complained about in Mustangs before.”
On the aerodynamics… “Hard to say if that front splitter is doing anything. It looks like it would do something. But it isn’t very close to the ground, being a street car. And I would think that without a real wing, if that was really working, the car would be very pointy and very ass-y, and it’s not. So my first guess would be to say no, it’s not doing very much. But it sure looks like a real live race car splitter.”
On the engine… “That’s a great-running engine. Big, fat power curve from the engine. It’s making the same power from 5000 rpm to 7500 rpm, it feels like to me.”
Overall… “Clearly better than any other Mustang I’ve driven. Great soundtrack, too. Just makes me want to put a couple of American flags on the hood like the old presidential limousines. They’d look just right on a Mustang. I’m just so impressed.”
Motor Trend will be publishing full results and will crown the ‘Best Driver’s Car’ on September 12th, so stay tuned for details.