When the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 goes on sale, Used Car Overland Park owners will be faced with a difficult choice. Either get into the quickest, best-handling production Mustang ever built or try on a competition-ready high performer that’s been specifically engineered and tuned for the track. But drivers won’t have to choose between two different Boss 302 models—just two different keys.
According to Ford MN, that’s thanks to the amazing new Ford TracKey. Here’s how it works: Each Boss 302 that features the system comes with two separate keys. Use the black one and you light the ignition on a 444-hp daily driver that delivers uncanny street performance without sacrificing on-the-road usability. Slot the red key and advanced Tracmode software comes into play, automatically adjusting more than 200 engine-management parameters—including variable cam timing, spark maps, engine braking and fuel control—as well as increasing low-end torque and enabling the same kind of two-stage launch-control functionality used on the 2013 Mustang Cobra Jet Oklahoma City race car.
“From an engine-management standpoint, we’ve done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience,” explains Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. “It’s not for use on the street—for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits.”
The key to TracKey? Mustang engineers, working with a team from Ford Racing, have developed an industry-first system that allows two separate sets of engine-management software to exist on the Boss 302’s power control module, with the two different keys able to switch between the two different PCM setups.
“Anything that could possibly affect all-out performance is deleted from the TracKey calibration,” added Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “Throttle limiting and torque management—any daily driveability enhancements are removed and replaced with a pure Ford Racing competition calibration.”
Also deleted with TracKey is the need for any aftermarket tuning chips or reprogramming efforts that could void the vehicle’s factory warranty.
“We’ve all been really excited about TracKey, so it came together quickly,” explained Pericak. “The concept was first discussed in spring 2009, and here we are 18 months later with a finished, tested, verified product. It’s a perfect example of what can happen when you get a core, cross-functional team willing to contribute 24/7 to bring a great idea to life.”