Ford built an electric, 1,400-horsepower Mustang for drag racing

Ford defiantly argued a Mustang doesn’t need to have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a big V8 under the hood to honor the nameplate’s heritage when it introduced the electric Mach-E. It took the emblematic model even further into electrification territory by building a battery-powered, Mustang-based dragster named Cobra Jet.

Hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool Mustang fans will recognize the Cobra Jet name because it denoted a mighty, 7.0-liter V8 engine in the late 1960s. Fast forward to 2020, and it proudly designates an electric dragster whose output checks in at a monstrous 1,400 horsepower and 1,100 pound-feet of instant torque. It blasts through the quarter-mile in under eight and a half seconds at 170 mph, figures that make this Mustang quicker than most hypercars.

The mammoth-sized Mickey Thompson rear tires help transfer the powertrain’s output to the pavement, though I doubt they’ll last long. Walking around to the back reveals a wheelie bar that keeps the shiny side up at full throttle, and a parachute the driver needs to deploy at the end of a run in order to stop before running out of asphalt.

Additional technical details are few and far between; we don’t know if it’s equipped with an automatic transmission or a manual gearbox, like the rule-breaking, 900-horsepower electric Mustang displayed at the 2019 SEMA show. The former is more likely. We haven’t seen the interior yet, either, but don’t expect it to share a significant number of parts with the regular-production Mustang or the electric Mach-E that’s right around the corner. This is a purpose-built racer. Peeking through the glass reveals a single seat for the driver and a full roll cage.

Ford will continue fine-tuning the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 in the coming months, and it will show enthusiasts what the car is capable of by entering it in a drag racing event later in 2020. Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what will happen after that. The odds of it seeing the inside of a Ford showroom are low, but the lessons learned from the project could help engineers electrify the next-generation Mustang, tentatively due out in 2023. Unverified rumors claim a V8-electric hybrid system will join the list of available powertrains for the first time.

“This has been a fantastic project to work on, and we hope the first of many coming from our team at Ford Performance Motorsports,” hinted Mark Rushbrook, the division’s director, in a statement.

If this project sounds familiar, it’s likely because arch-nemesis Chevrolet introduced an electric, Camaro-like dragster named eCOPO in 2018. It tried to sell the one-off car in 2019 but failed to find a buyer for it.

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