The Ford Racing Invitation is designed to showcase FRPP gear for the interested media. As
As most of you know I'm not the most consistent driver (or writer for that matter) around, but I do OK on the drag strip. Mostly my opportunities at the strip revolve around trying desperately to squeeze the best time of out a press car before returning it to the manufacturer. I dig the drag strip, but I've always enjoyed the testing and tuning more than the concept of battling it out. I don't have the killer instinct that drives racers to thrash all night just to run one round. I admire them, I'm just drawn to write about them rather than emulate them.
So, while I'm not a card-carrying racer, I'm completely comfortable blasting a Mustang down the quarter. That's where the curveball came my way. When I arrived at the '08 iteration of the Ford Racing Invitational I quickly learned that the cars were pre-selected. As I walked down the row of Mustangs secretly pining for the '08 GT500KR, I became puzzled. I didn't see my name on any of the cars. Now after my redlight performance last year, I wouldn't be surprised to get banned from the event.
Suddenly as I rounded the corner and approached the Factory Five trailer, my bewildered was quickly replaced with glee, followed by nervous anticipation. I was chosen to drive likely the quickest, most striking cars in the bunch, Factory Five's Type 65 Coupe. Unfortunately I had to wait a full day to get any test passes in it, as our Friday session was rained out, and all that did was make me more nervous about pedaling this unfamiliar monster.
My selection was one of the coolest rides on the Milan property, Factory Five's Type 65 Co
First thing Saturday morning it was time to finally get behind the wheel and see what she would do. Things started out so well. The big Toyo road race tires proved really grippy, and I actually didn't give the car enough rpm to get a good burnout. Even, still a 3,000-rpm clutch dump yielded a 1.96 short time and a 12.36/111 pass with a .068 reaction time. I felt pretty good about it, but this was just the test pass. I spent my two qualifiers trying to guess at the tree and score a good RT, as that's how we were qualifying. Lowest reaction time scored the top spot and a first-round bye.
After two redlight starts followed by blowing the tires off, I had to try and switch up into bracket-consistency mode. I thought could ease up on the tree and drive around my opponent Don Roy. Sadly I was not only slow off the jump, but I broke out in a major way after dialing in a 12.65 and instead running my best pass of the day, a 12.28 at 111.90. I took small solace in the fact that I didn't redlight again in competition, but I still wish they'd run this deal open-comp style.
Anyway, I hope to be back for another shot next year. After all, a day losing at the strip is still a nice change of pace from standing at the line snapping pictures, especially in a car that turned heads even among the horsepower-jaded NMRA racing crowd.
Ford Racing's Jamie Allison checks out the 450hp 347ci crate engine powering the Type 65.
Obviously this car is way to cool for me.
Well, I didn't win, but my good friend Mark Houlahan took to the Invitational like a champ