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Mustang goes for broke, laps Bristol 1,457 times on one tank

Posted by Bill Griffith  June 24, 2010 10:28 AM

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Sometimes a publicity stunt captures your attention. One that got mine was Ford's attempt to run a 2011 V-6 Mustang for 1,000 laps (533 miles) on a single tank of gas.

Ford has made much about the fact that the Mustang is the first car with more than 300 horsepower to surpass 30 miles per gallon (it's rated at 305 horsepower and 31 mpg highway).

The attempt was serious. Ford had rented Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., for the day and used a stock vehicle and a quintet of drivers taking the wheel for one-hour stints.

Now it looks as though they'll have to pay for a second day because the team, including NASCAR driver David Ragan, ran for 1,457 laps, 776.5 miles, and averaged 48.5 mpg. They averaged 43.9 mph, a touch under racing speeds.

Ragan was at the wheel when the Mustang passed the 1,000-lap mark at 7:26 p.m. Wednesday evening. However, there was still at least a quarter of a tank of fuel remaining.

Ragan drives the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion of Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

Engineer Seong Park was at the wheel when the Mustang finally ran out of fuel at 12:41 a.m., coming to a halt on the backstretch of the old-school NASCAR track.

The group employed fuel efficient techniques like minimizing air conditioning, keeping a steady pace, avoiding sudden stops and starts (they stopped to switch drivers but not to add fuel to the 16-gallon tank) and keeping the rpms low.

More than 51,000 people registered guesses online as to how many laps the Mustang would complete. One of the 22 people who submitted correct guesses will be selected in a drawing to win a new V-6 Mustang.

In April last year, Ford ran its Fusion Hybrid for more than 1,000 miles on a single tank, averaging 81.5 mpg on public roads.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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