Ford has shown off a new version of its Mustang Cobra Jet concept at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show this year. Since 2008, the Jet has been the most accomplished production-based drag racer, and Ford is making some pretty serious changes that it hopes will keep it on top. The Cobra Jet concept that Ford is displaying features a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V-8. This is a big change for the drag racer, which has always featured a large supercharged engine.
The turbo setup features two BorgWarner turbochargers tucked low behind the fog lights. Air for the turbos is sucked in through the fog light apertures. It goes through each turbo before being routed through a central intercooler. After that, the air is pushed to a custom carbon-fiber intake plenum to a prototype intake manifold.
This design is meant to combat lag, which is one of the major drawbacks of a turbo. The location of the turbos – and the way the air is forced in – helps counteract this, and allows the turbos to generate as much power as possible.
Ford is being silent on the amount of horsepower the new Cobra Jet is pushing. Clearly, the company wouldn't design the concept car in a way that would make it not competitive in the drag racing circuit, especially with the previous success Ford has enjoyed. Ford has mentioned that the 2013 Cobra Jet wastes 100hp to power the supercharger, and presumably, it plans to rectify that with the use of the twin turbos.
The automaker frequently refers to its EcoBoost technology when speaking about this new concept, and while this engine may be more efficient, it seems like an odd comparison when you consider the relative lack of efficiency that comes from running a high performance dragster with racing fuel. Either way, it seems like Ford is trying to improve the efficiency of this engine, while possibly improving the power.
This car could certainly be an interesting development in drag racing, and some of the technology could help Ford improve its consumer automobiles. In fact, Ford claims that one of the main reasons it chooses to invest heavily in racing is because it offers a "rapid learning curve" and "lessons that can be fed back into the vehicles customers drive every day."
The video below from Ford provides more information about the new concept.