Every once in awhile, an opportunity comes up that is completely unexpected, and yet so exhilarating, fin and rewarding, you wonder why you haven’t done it before. Those three words are the best way to sum up the Ford “Mustang Masterclass for the Modern Girl.” weekend we were privileged to be invited to in Salt Lake City, Utah. Home of the Miller Motorsports Park, the longest road course in the country and home to the only Ford Racing High Performance Driving School in the world, you may think that would be an odd place for a gaggle of fashionistas to hang out all weekend. But quite the contrary, us lucky attendees were hungry to devour everything we could about these four-wheeled thrill machines.
But of course, we had to look fabulous first! Our wild weekend kicked off in a lap of luxury, courtesy of SLC’s well known Lunatic Fringe salon. The immensely talented team of CEO Jenner Feroah catered to our every pampering need, as we shook off the fatigue of traveling from all corners of the country. I was lucky enough to get a quick dry cut from Lunatic Fringe manager, Jon Kimble, who adeptly sliced away my dead ends and perked up my flat locks. A makeup touch up later by Luna Fringe’s beauty team, and I was ready for the specially prepared photo shoot with two of the sassiest Ford Mustang model, the Boss 302, which would soon become our companion for the duration of the weekend.
Clad in road trip must-haves like floppy hats, scarves and sunnies, we embodied the very essence of a girls getaway weekend a la Thelma and Louise or even Grace Kelly (although my shoot was just as the sun was going down so I chose to forgo the sunnies!)
The next day, we joined our hosts from Ford, flown in from Detroit, at the Miller Motorsports Park, a staggeringly large track that ran as far as the eye could see with nothing but mountains behind it (and for this Midwestern/East Coast girl, the mountains were the most exciting part!) We met with our instructors for the day — Ty Hamill, Johnny Kanavas, Byron Payne and Troy Muller — each a well-known driver in the competitive racing industry. We were so excited that they’d be teaching us the ropes of how to drive the new Mustangs, since many of us didn’t even know how to drive a manual transmission (myself included!)
In our pre-drive classroom orientation we learned all about the technical details of the Ford Mustang lineup, particularly the Boss 302. The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 builds on the heritage of the original 1970 Boss 302 with new, reflective hockey stick graphics package – the first modern application on a production vehicle.
Also new for 2013 is heritage-inspired School Bus Yellow paint and Sterling Gray accents on Boss Laguna Seca, which delivers race-ready suspension, aerodynamic details and removed rear seat. Under the hood, the Ford SYNC® connectivity system was added to the Boss as a standard feature for 2013, adding to a specially tuned engine, quad exhaust, brakes, suspension and design that optimize weight, aerodynamics and track performance.
As for new interior features. a 4.2-inch LCD screen features Track Apps, which enables the driver to monitor performance measures such as g-forces, shows acceleration times in quarter-mile and 0-60 increments, and displays braking times, complete with automatic and countdown starts.The 2013 model also features the Mustang Shaker Audio system, which plays a wider range of sound frequencies than typical audio systems. Being able to hear and feel particularly low frequencies results in improved sound and clarity for a more authentic listening experience. In other words, it’s a driver-lover’s dream! And we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one!
Our day-long program was called the Boss Track Attack, which meant we spent time at various parts of the park. First, we had a tutorial with our instructors on how to drive manual transmission or stick. We were able to practice a few rounds on an enclosed course and get familiar with the set up of the sleek Boss 302 interior.
After we felt comfortable using the manual transmission (or as comfortable as we could in that amount of time), we went over to a different portion of the track to drive a “Skid Car”, a specially designed car with a training-wheel type mechanism attached to it, which simulates what it’s like to skid in a storm or on a slippery road. The skid car allowed our instructors to teach us vehicle dynamics and how to control the dimensions of a car and essentially, how to turn out of a skid. It was a little nerve-wracking as the car fishtailed all over the place and we spun around continuously. But eventually, we understood the mechanics of “CPR” in regaining the control of the car: Correct, Pause and Recover. It was definitely a valuable life lesson to learn!
After lunch, it was time to test what he had learned that morning with a mini obstacle course our instructors had set up. They told us we’d be timed to go around the track twice and since they’d be with us, to try and test out what the car is truly built for: speed! We all had a great time cheering each other on around the mild turns and bends set up for us with traffic cones. Considering we had only learned how to drive the cars a couple hours before, it felt pretty good to be able to floor the accelerator and just tear around the track!
Once our timed laps were over, it was time to relax! As a full-on destination of fun, Miller Motorsports Park also featured a carnival-like zip-line ride (that we all loved so much we rode twice), and the much talked about Hot Laps. As part of the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School, we were invited to sit alongside our very own instructors — each not only having real life race car driving experience under their belts, but held multiple championships in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and Grand-Am — while they drove three heart-stopping laps at full racing speed. And as exhilarating as it was, as you feel your body pressed against the seat from sheer adrenaline, three laps were definitely enough!
Little personal touches throughout the day like ice cream breaks, casual chats with the instructors and Ford engineers Dave Pericak and Tom Barnes, fun photo ops, and diploma-like certificates (with prizes!) at the end of the day made the entire experience personal, sincere and the utmost example of hospitality. We topped the weekend off with a group dinner in downtown Salt Lake City, the sun setting against the mountains, and wondered how it was possible to learn so much, and still have so much fun, in just one day.
The final verdict? Ford Mustangs have always been known for their unparalleled precision, their quivering power, and their immaculate styling. But we learned that weekend that they’re also supremely safe and surprisingly easy to not only handle, but control. And that even a style blogger who lives in heels and hasn’t driven in months, can walk out of the Miller Motorsports Park having conquered one of the world’s fastest cars, and with a new hunger for unbridled speed. Now that’s what I call a girls getaway weekend!
Photo Source: Mustang Masterclass for Lifestyle Media
For more info on Boss Track Attack, or lessons, packages and driving schools at Miller Motorsports Park, visit MillerMotorsportsPark.com.
For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
A gigantic thank you to all of the Ford representatives we got to know personally over the weekend, Ford’s Chief Engineer Dave Pericak and Ford Mustang Vehicle Engineering Manager, Tom Barnes. Director Dan McKeever and the entire Miller Motorsports PArk team who opened their doors to us and were endlessly helpful and friendly throughout the day. Our amazing, patient, upbeat instructors Ty Hamill, Johnny Kanavas, Byron Payne and Troy Muller. Sara Delarosa, Senior Account Executive of Ogilvie PR and Tony McCloud of Ford Communications for organizing an amazing weekend. Jenner Feroah, Jon Kimble and the wonderful stylists at Lunatic Fringe salon, the Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City and all of our photographers and extra helpers who made the experience unforgettable!