If you have a dedicated track mule, chances are good you only drive it to the track and not back and forth to work. If you’ve got a larger budget, you may even trailer it to and from track day events. The reason why is pretty simple: what makes a car fast around a racetrack also makes it unpleasant to drive on the street. Hot cams and abrupt throttle settings may add to track day enjoyment, but they get annoying very quickly on a daily commute in rush hour traffic. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have the best of both worlds, simply by using a different key to start your car?
If you’re one of the lucky few with a 2012 Mustang Boss 302 on order, you’ll soon have that ability. Using technology developed for Ford’s “MyKey” system, which allows car owners to set specific parameters (like top speed) for other drivers, TracKey goes one step further. Use the black colored key, and the Boss 302 starts with a powertrain control module (PCM) software set designed for street driving. Start the car with the red key, and the PCM defaults to a program optimized for track driving. It’s not a gimmick either, since the key selection changes over 200 engine management parameters including throttle response, cam timing, engine braking and fuel control. TracKey even gives owners a launch control function previously reserved for the CobraJet drag car. Set your desired launch RPM, mash the fun pedal and side-step the clutch: the car holds the desired RPM until the clutch is released.
The TracKey concept was first discussed in the spring of 2009, so a finalized product in less than two years shows the dedication of the team working on the project. TracKey will be an available option, with pricing to be announced closer to launch. Will we see it on other Ford Mustangs, like the track friendly GT? It’s too early to say, but manufacturers don’t recover development costs unless technology is implemented across multiple products. My guess is yes.