Mike Harrison’s favorite Ford product is the Mk. I Ford Escort RS1600, a European-market model that established the Blue Oval as a rally force to be reckoned with by sweeping the top three spots in the 1973 Rally of Great Britain.
“It was a wonderful rally car with great motorsports heritage,” reflected Harrison, V8 engine programs manager. “My father had a British-built Escort – a bright-red 1973 model – that sparked my interest in all things automotive and the Ford brand specifically.”
Harrison says he grew up on a steady diet of watching rally and road racing, and indeed, motorsports has played an important role in his life, both inside and outside of his office at Ford’s product development center in Dearborn, Mich.
Participating in Sports Car Club of America road racing events – in a wide range of vehicles from a near-stock Improved Touring C Ford Mk. I Fiesta to a vintage H Production MG Midget and a GT3 Mazda RX-7 – has given Harrison the on-track, behind-the-wheel perspective to lead the development of successful engines.
The new 5.0-liter V8 for the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 was particularly appealing both personally and professionally to Harrison and his team.
“It was a tremendous opportunity and with that a great responsibility to build on the heritage and history of one of Ford Motor Company’s most-iconic high-performance products,” said Harrison.
Harrison and his team stayed true to the original classic Boss engines of 40 years ago – high-revving small V8s – while adding modern technology such as twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to improve low-speed torque and driveability.
“The first Boss 302 was a specially built, free-breathing, high-revving small V8 that gave it certain desirable characteristics on a race course – and we capture that essence in the new engine,” said Harrison.
This new 5.0-liter V8 delivers 444 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, along with a broad, flat output curve all the way through its 7,500 rpm redline.
Ford V8 team delivers several new products
The new V8 for the new Mustang Boss 302 is the latest in what’s been a busy past 12 months for the V8 engine team across the portfolio. Highlights include:
“As with all Ford products, we’re applying lessons learned and best practices across our V8 lineup so all our customers benefit,” said Harrison. “Durability, reliability, driveability and of course outstanding power and fuel economy are always the goals with our engines.”
Harrison is a native of the town of Nelson in Lancashire, England, and graduated from Loughborough University of Technology in the U.K. He started at Ford in 1983 as an undergraduate intern, and then advanced to engine calibration engineer when he accepted a full-time position. His tenure has included assignments in Europe as well as the United States.
“We’re really having fun at Ford these days,” Harrison said. “For a performance and motorsports enthusiast, this is a wonderful place to be.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
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 visit www.ford.com.
Feb. 22, 2011