Scott McLaughlin fans will soon be able to share a unique memento of his time at the top of Supercars racing.
It’s a mega Mustang that has been created to celebrate his triple title and is crowned by a rampaging Ford V8 that makes 578 kiloWatts of supercharged power.
The car is called the SM17 and is a another Mustang project by Rob Herrod, who has previously led development of the R-Spec model for Ford Australia and the 30-only Dick Johnson Limited Edition ’stang that was produced in a partnership as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations for Johnson’s record run as a touring car and Supercars team owner.
Apart from the engine, the rest of the SM17 Mustang upgrade effort runs from predictable improvements to the suspension, visual and aero tweaking, but with a luxury Italian leather cabin.
The visual impact is obvious and McLaughlin is stoked by the final result.
“When I first saw it I thought it was mega. It was everything I was hoping for,” McLaughlin told Race News.
“It’s a phenomenal package. Any Supercars driver would love to have their name on a car like this, and I had Rob Herrod to handle all the heavy lifting.”
“I’ve always wanted a racy red car with black wheels. And now I’ve got it – and then some.”
The price of the SM17 is still being finalised but will be around $50,000 plus on-roads above a regular Mustang GT with a six-figure tag.
It should go into production in Melbourne in January, but Herrod Performance is hoping to get an earlier clearance if coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The SM17 has a surprising father, as it was McLaughlin’s dad who came up with the idea for a celebration Mustang.
“Scott’s dad, Wayne, was always telling Ford they should do a limited-edition car. Once he had wrapped up his third Supercars title it seemed like the right time to accelerate the program,” said Ryan Story, a key collaborator with Herrod.
The starting point for the SM17 is a regular Mustang GT, either automatic or manual and in any colour choice. Select Ford dealers across the country are taking orders and the ’stangs head to Herrod Performance in Melbourne for their make-over.
“We started development with a base GT with Magnaride suspension only,” said Herrod.
“The key thing is the Whipple supercharger, which is a world first. It looks like a regular Whipple, but internally it is completely different.
“The key is the throttle response, but it also makes big numbers and there is a nice supercharger whine with a roar when it really gets going.”
Keeping the rampaging V8 working properly is the largest intercooler available with a 7.5-litre reservoir, bigger Bosch fuel injectors, an oversized inlet manifold, a high-flow intercooler pump, a six-rib belt system with heavy-duty tensioner.
The headline numbers are 570 kiloWatts and 810 Newton-metres of torque, running on 98-octane Shell V-Power fuel.
The SM17 also has a unique Herrod Performance engine oil cooler, on both the auto and manual, and a performance transmission cooler on the auto. It also has a unique transmission calibration for crisper shifts.
At the back end there is a cat-back stainless steel exhaust which flows more freely, terminating in black chrome tips, and the car keeps Ford’s active-exhaust control on the steering wheel.
The suspension is lowered with adjustable sway bars and a calibration change to the Magnaride system, which Herrod helps support the front end under braking and heavy cornering loads.
The SM17 rolls on 20-inch alloys wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, 275×30 on the front and 305×30 on the rear.
Body-wise, there is a race-look rear spoiler, a revised nose with front bar wind splitters and lower splitter, and gloss-black treatment for the grille, mirrors and hood vents.
Inside, the seats are all re-trimmed with black Italian leather and there is a bespoke Herrod steering wheel with alcantara wrapping and a red loop at 12 o’clock.
“It’s a phenomenal result. Rob Herrod is very smart with the performance side of things and very passionate,” said McLaughlin.
“He knows cars, he loves the Mustang, and he shares my passion. He’s been really cool with the whole thing.
“I’ve really enjoyed the project, even down to working with Rob and The Doc on little things like my signatures and the build plates for the cars. It didn’t distract me from my racing, either, because I know we had the best people working on the car.”
But the SM17 is not done yet.
“Once the car is registered, we can do extra upgrades. If someone missed out on one of the DJ Limited Edition cars we can give them almost everything, from the pistons and conrods through to the throttle body and bigger brakes,” said Herrod.
“But we’re already happy with the SM17. Scott signed-off on everything and it is definitely his car. It’s also a Herrod Performance program and while not quite a collaboration like R-Spec, what we are doing is supported by Ford Australia, and you can never underestimate what that support means with a car like this.”