Racing enthusiasts know that the true heart of a race car is its engine – and Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, wants to make sure that the “heart” that powers NHRA Funny Car Mustangs of John Force Racing is pumping “blue” blood in the future.
Davis and John Medlen of John Force Racing challenged themselves to develop the new Ford BOSS 500, the first modern nitro engine for drag racing. The BOSS 500 was tested on-track for the first time on Oct. 18 and was unveiled for media today.
“We wanted to be in NHRA Funny Car with an engine that we really could call all our own,” David said. “I wanted people to see a Ford Mustang race car and know that it’s winning races with true Ford power.”
Davis and Medlen looked at the current nitro engine, discussed where they felt it had weaknesses, and decided to design and build a new engine to address them.
The BOSS 500 is the first nitro drag racing motor designed with analytical tools. It has a strengthened block for better durability and new cylinder heads developed by Ford and Force engineers. The basic design will favor areas such as the main caps register and the main webs in the block. Its engine block also is anodized blue after machining, helping ensure fans and competitors alike know when they’re seeing a Ford nitro engine under the hood.
Most of the external surface areas on the new 500-cubic-inch engine have been redesigned; a new belly pan was designed for better sealing; and the valve covers purposely call back the old Ford BOSS motors. The engine also features Ford main bearings with actual parts numbers in the Ford performance catalog.
“We had three things in mind when we set out on this project,” Davis said. “First, for marketing purposes, we wanted to say that we were putting reality behind the term ‘Powered by Ford.’
“Second, on the technical side, we have always helped out with aero, chassis development and now safety, but we always stopped short of the engine. This project has been a technical exercise for our engineers and the Force team to take the current motor, redesign it and make it
“Finally, we want fans to associate this engine with Ford and Force, but we also know this provides a new revenue opportunity for us,” Davis added. “In Funny Car, the plan is for this to be a John Force Racing-exclusive engine at the start, but we do want to be able to sell it to Top Fuel teams for competition in the near future.”
Davis said that the current plan is for new Force Mustang driver Mike Neff to use the Ford BOSS 500 engine full-time in 2008 as it goes through its development phase. The other Force Mustang drivers – John Force, Ashley Force and Robert Hight – will use the engine after it has been further developed.
Ford and Force Racing also are investigating a team to be the first development operation in Top Fuel, with a measured, commercial rollout to more competitors after it has gone through a prove-out stage in that division.