“We didn’t want to sacrifice any of the learnings of a traditional school, but wanted to make sure to highlight the features of the Boss,” said Dan McKeever, director of the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School. “(The) main focus is still on the driving. The better each student gets behind the wheel, the more Boss potential they get to see.”
Of course, the night before your school days begin, you get to ease into things with a welcome dinner inside the amazing museum at the track. The late Larry Miller was a true-blue Ford enthusiast who amassed an amazing collection of Blue Oval iron, from classic Mustangs and Shelby Cobras to GT40s and Daytona coupes.
After learning about Boss history amidst the historic iron, the next morning you hit the ground running. The class begins with a brief overview of performance-driving techniques and track rules. You’re sized up for a driving suit and helmet, and before you know it, you’re into the action.
It begins by learning about vehicle dynamics in a skid car. This vehicle can mechanically limit traction, and it helps you fine-tune your car control. Next we jumped in the Bosses to brush up on heel-toe downshifting. Each car has a different feel, so it was nice to get used to the Boss before hitting the track for real.
With the basics covered and a tasty lunch consumed, it’s time to strap into the Boss and hit the East Course at MMP.
Aside from the cage and Safecraft harnessbelts, it is a stock Boss 302. There are no extra suspension tricks or other upgrades. Sure it gets a Laguna splitter and some upgraded Performance Friction pads, and the Pirelli PZeros are supplanted by Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber, but it’s still a street Boss—which is quite a capable machine. Of course, these Bosses have the quad exhaust uncorked and are engaged with the famed Track Key. In practice, this gives the car sharper throttle response in trade for tossing some low-speed manners out the window net.
Once strapped into the Boss, we hit the track for a few lead-and-follow laps behind an instructor. During these laps, half the class snakes along the track trying to mirror the instructors line. After a couple laps, the driver right behind the instructor falls to the back of the line and lets the next student get a front-row seat. This continues until everyone has learned at the bumper of the instructor.
After a debrief in the classroom, we hit the track again with an instructor in the passenger seat. My co-pilot during the heel-toe training and the first on-track session was John Capps, who has raced everything from USAC open-wheelers to NHRA funny cars. It was a bit intimidating for sure, but I got more comfortable as the laps piled up. He kept encouraging me to use less brake, which helped me come out of my shell sooner once I was driving solo.
In the following sessions, it was solo open-tracking with passing on the front straight. I got more and more comfortable with my modest skills and the impressive capabilities of the Boss. By the third session, I was hitting my stride and pushing harder. The session flew by, so you know I was really having a great time.
Of course, the big closer for the on-track portion of the school is a few hot laps with the instructor. Well, just as you were feeling like a hot shot, they let you know there’s more to learn than you can cram into one day. Not only was the experience humbling, but it further opened your eyes as to just how capable the modern Boss is on a road course.
With the on-track fun in the rear-view mirror, it was time to graduate. Each class member earns a certificate and a bag of swag. Boss owners score a special trophy built from a real Boss connecting rod and piston assembly.
And, special is just how you feel after completing the Boss Track Attack. Not only is the school a blast, but it makes you realize how special the Boss 302 Mustang is. It also reiterates the great things Ford is doing with and for our beloved cars these days.
The only question I have is, if I buy my own Boss 302, do I get to go back? 5.0
Horse Sense: If you’re a fan of all high-performance Fords, you’ll be excited to learn that Miller Motorsports Park is planning an off-road driving school for owners of SVT’s Raptor pickup.
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