Tom Barnes: Vehicle Engineering Manager for 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Embraces Car Culture

By Auto News Log • February 22nd, 2011

• Who: Tom Barnes, vehicle engineering manager

• Role: Works with several teams to make sure all functional attributes – steering, handling, braking, wind noise, road noise, performance and many more – are properly balanced

• Did you know? Likes to get outside to run, fish and bird watch

Tom Barnes, vehicle engineering manager for the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302, immersed himself in car culture at an early age and continues to devour all things automotive.

As a child, vehicles such as Speed Racer’s Mach 5, the Batmobile and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang got his attention. Then it was Magnum P.I.’s Ferrari 308GTS, Columbo’s Peugeot 403 and, yes, KITT from “Knight Rider.”

“Total cheese, but ‘Knight Rider’ was a lot of fun,” Barnes admits a bit sheepishly. “That car could do anything.”

The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 may not be able to talk, but Barnes expects this limited-production, premium offering to communicate to its demanding customers all the same.

“The original 1969 Mustang Boss 302 is a tremendous example of American performance,” said Barnes. “A modern interpretation had to be true to the original, yet push performance even further.”

The goal for the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 program was simple: Produce the quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever, able to lap the course at Laguna Seca faster than world-class competitors.

“We want the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 to be the best street-legal race car ever,” Barnes said.

Using the 2011 Mustang GT as a base, Barnes and his team re-engineered systems and components to make sure acceleration, handling, braking and top speed of the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 were perfectly balanced for an uncompromised sport driving experience.

Don’t try this at home

The comprehensive re-engineering efforts means the new Boss is not merely a package that can be purchased out of a catalog or achieved through tuning or aftermarket parts. It’s the real deal.

Extending the Boss heritage even further is the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca model, which is aimed at those interested in serious on-track performance. The rear seat, for example, is deleted in favor of a cross-car X-brace for increased body stiffness, a firmer chassis setup and an aerodynamics package that replicates the Ford Racing Boss 302R.

There’s even a front air splitter – for track use only.

“With the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 and the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, from an engineering standpoint we wanted to push everything to the limit so our customers can do the same at the racetrack,” said Barnes.

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

• He holds master’s degrees from both Michigan State and the University of Michigan

• Barnes likes to get outside for fun, with bird watching, gardening, fishing and running among his interests

• His first car was a Cobalt Blue 1974 Maverick with bench seat and automatic transmission. “It lived through high school and college and beyond and died in the hands of a buddy who crashed it,” said Barnes.

• Barnes counts the Model T, the GT and the Mustang among his favorite all-time Ford cars. “The Model T changed the world, the GT is the best ‘production’ car I have ever driven – acceleration and braking are unbelievable, and the grip is like a race car. The Mustang looks great and drives great at a great price,” he said

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please

Source: Ford


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