MIKE HARRISON: MUSTANG 5.0-LITER LEADER INSPIRED BY MOTORSPORTS
Mike Harrison, Engine Programs Manager
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- Mike Harrison is team leader for developing and delivering the 5.0-liter V-8 that powers the 2011 Ford Mustang GT
- A native of the U.K., Harrison was profoundly influenced by the rally success of the Mk. I Ford Escort, which swept the top three spots in the 1973 Rally of Great Britain
- Motorsports has provided inspiration and motivation for Harrison’s work in high-performance engine development
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.
“It was a wonderful rally car with great motorsports heritage,” reflected Harrison, V-8 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 RX7 – has given Harrison the on-track, behind-the-wheel perspective to lead the development of successful racing engines.
In addition to leading development of the 2011 Mustang GT 5.0-liter V-8, Harrison’s team delivered the all-new 6.2-liter V-8 for Super Duty ® and Raptor, including the 500-hp Baja 1000 Raptor R race truck engine. Working with Roush, they also developed a normally aspirated 7.0-liter 800-hp V-8 for the Don Bowles Mustang drag racing car.
“Knowing our most enthusiastic Mustang GT customers will be aggressively driving their cars in club track-day events, autocrosses and other grassroots motorsports opportunities really pushed the team to make the all-new 5.0-liter V-8 a durable powerhouse,” said Harrison proudly. “Oil drainback has been optimized to allow for sufficient lubrication, even under lateral, high-rpm conditions such as high-speed cornering at a closed track event.”
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 with the company has provided assignments in the U.K. and Germany as well as the United States, where he is now based.
“We’re really having fun at Ford these days,” he said. “For a performance and motorsports enthusiast, this is a wonderful place to be.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Mike, his wife Sharon and their four children – ages 8 to 16 – enjoy spending off-hours outdoors in Northern Michigan
- He is a golfer and is currently restoring a Harley-Davidson ™ motorcycle. For 20 years, Mike has owned a 1972 British Racing Green MGB
- He has been an active SCCA competitor and once campaigned a Mk. I Fiesta in the Improved Touring C class
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 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com .