Ford is introducing the Cobra Jet 1400 to the masses this weekend at the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indy with a heads-up race against the venerable gas-powered Cobra Jet. Before the show down, however, Bob Tasca III has been behind the wheel to get acquainted with the new-age machine. While Ford had chiseled down the Cobra Jet 1400 to an 8.27 ET at 168 mph in private testing, Tasca III has just begun to push the all-electric Mustang for the first time with the guidance of MLeR and Lane Racing, the constructors of CJ1400.
MLeR also helped to design and build 2018’s electrified Chevy Camaro eCOPO, a ground-breaking test bed that asked “What If?” for the NHRA’s showroom-inspired Factory Stock class. Last year, Ford Performance approached MLeR after the eCOPO program ran its course to help the Blue Oval develop its own driveline for the Cobra Jet. Cascadia Motion supplied four PN-250-DZR inverters (the units that flank the motor) which manage power to the pair of DS-250-115s electric motors (each is a dual-stack unit, meaning there are four motors total).
The stacks each provide about 470 hp, combining to produce approximately 1800 hp with a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm. The four inverters, combined, send 800 volts at up to 700 amps—enough current to weld practically anything you could imagine. AEM-EV, which also had a hand in the Electraliner electric land speed racer, provides the overall tuning solution for the Cobra Jet 1400’s electric driveline. Having a motorsports-level ECU is critical for getting the prototype electric car off the line as cleanly as the well-dialed-in gasoline Cobra Jet, a quarter-mile tool that has been polished and perfected over several seasons of Factory Stock competition and runs well into the high 7s.
Watson Racing—a longtime drag racing partner for Ford Performance—will join MLeR in chassis tuning. Because of the brutal power that’s available from such a low rpm (thanks to the principals behind electric motors allowing for nearly full torque from the moment they begin to spin), AEM-EV had to work closely with MLeR to develop an ideal “tune.” The motors are set up to ramp in power aggressively enough to pull the front tires, but not too early in the run when the tires are under more stress trying to motivate two-and-a-half tons from a dead stop, resulting in tire spin and shake.
What are your bets, will the gas-powered Cobra Jet with its traditional Coyote-based V-8 hold the fort, or will the electrified newcomer, the Cobra Jet 1400, take the veteran’s lunch?
With two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon behind the wheel of that fuel-burning ol’ faithful, Tasca III and Cobra Jet 1400 have their work cut out for them.