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2018 Ford Mustang Owes Improved Cornering and Fuel Economy to a Piece of Tape

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Ford Mustang engineers use duct tape

Typically, when you see a vehicle with tape somewhere on the front, it tells you that you might be dealing with a car whose bumper is quite literally hanging on by a thread. In the case of a 2018 Ford Mustang prototype, a strip of duct tape applied to the lower gap of the front grille was employed with the purpose of improving handling around corners and boosting fuel economy.

Seriously. Ford recounts the story of engineers Jonathan Gesek and Mike Del Zio, who were dissatisfied with the Mustang prototype’s cornering performance during high-speed track testing. Gesek, an aerodynamics engineer, got the idea to apply tape on the grille to reduce front-end lift. To the surprise of Del Zio, a vehicle dynamics engineer, that was all the help the Mustang needed to become a better beast in the corners.

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“That little strip of tape made all the difference,” Del Zio said. “The key to the subjective is confidence. At the end of a straightaway, what confidence do you have in being able to brake and make a turn? Things start to come up fast at 155 miles an hour.”

This discovery led to an improvement to the 2018 Ford Mustang’s grille, which improved both cornering performance and fuel efficiency.

According to Ford’s estimates, the 2018 Ford Mustang EcoBoost will see a 4.2% increase in combined fuel efficiency, and the 2018 Ford Mustang GT with 10-speed automatic transmission will see combined efficiency increase by 5.6%. Not bad for a discovery made with a piece of duct tape.

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