NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Ford’s Super Cobra Jet 1800 Mustang targets new NHRA EV records in Pomona

Innovation is exciting, frustrating, and unpredictable, but when it goes well, it can be life-changing.
21 Mar 2024
David Kennedy

The first thing you notice as the electric Ford Mustang Super Cobra Jet 1800 pulls into the water box is the intimacy of the starting line. You can hear everything. The gear whine from the car’s new Liberty five-speed transmission and Mark Williams 9 ½-inch rear-end, the grip and release of the Mickey Thompson tires on the track’s surface, even the chatter of the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series starter communicating with his team through his headset. The crew and crowd on hand don’t speak, because if they did, everyone would hear them. For drag racers who are used to roaring V-8 engines in this arena, it’s unnerving.

And that’s even before the SCJ1800 EV takes the green and launches with the front wheels off the ground.

The Ford Super Cobra Jet Mustang returns to the In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip at the 2024 Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in its 1800 trim. While still based on the Watson Engineering-built Cobra Jet Mustang, it features all-new batteries that are more powerful and lighter, along with a new pneumatically shifted five-speed transmission and a new rear wing. Behind the wheel is the car's original driver, Pat McCue.

Ford Performance has unveiled the latest evolution of its electric-powered motorsports efforts with the Mustang Super Cobra Jet 1800, a significant update to the NHRA world record-holding Mustang Cobra Jet 1400. In June 2021, Bob Tasca III drove the Cobra Jet 1400 version of this car to its current record time in Norwalk, Ohio, 8.128s @ 171.97mph.

Originally developed through a collaboration between Ford Performance, MLe Racecars, AEM-EV, Cascadia Motion, and Watson Engineering, the vehicle was poised for its next challenge.

The Ford Performance-led team returned to the drawing board, focusing on revisions and upgrades to the chassis, powertrain, and control systems. To mark this evolution, Ford Performance resurrected the famed Super Cobra Jet name, first introduced in the 1969 model year Mustang as an enhancement to the standard Cobra Jet package.

The Super Cobra Jet 1800 maintains the same four PN-250DZR inverters coupled to two double-stacked DS-250-115 motor pairings as before but now with a new Liberty transmission and a revamped, 40-percent-lighter battery system developed by Ford Performance and MLe Racecars. Power is transferred to a revised rear-end from MLe Racecars, featuring improved suspension geometry from PMR and larger 32x14.0R15 Mickey Thompson drag radials for optimized launches. Ford Performance's proprietary control software, running on AEM-EV hardware, manages the entire operation alongside a new data acquisition system, dash, and power distribution system designed in-house.

Weight reduction has been a key focus for this version of the car. The dash is spartan, and the cluster shows the vehicle's low and high voltage (approximately 800) battery status. 

The rear suspension is essentially a back-halved Cobra Jet with a PMR housing and Mark Williams 9 1/2-inch rear-end. The car also features dual wheelie bars to handle the aggressive wheels-up launches possible with the tremendous torque on tap. 


The SCJ1800 runs 32x14.0R15 Mickey Thompson Pro Bracket Radial tires on Sander Engineering beadlock wheels. 


As part of the safety practices developed by Ford and MLe, the car features a green light indicator that tells the crew and safety personnel that no high voltage has been detected on the chassis and the car is safe to handle. If this status were to change, the light would turn red, and the car would emit an audible safety alarm. 

Pat McCue has been developing electric drag cars for years with MLe and was the original driver of the CJ1400 version of the car. His passion for drag racing and this program is clear, and he is happy to talk about all aspects of the program. 

The Super Cobra Jet 1800 is scheduled to run all four days of the 2024 Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.