Posted: Jan 09, 2018
Mike Maier's 2017 Ford Mustang
Mike Maier is a long-time competitor in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car series, but in 2017, he set his sights on a new target with a new ride- a 2017 Ford Mustang
Mike Maier's 1966 Ford Mustang probably represents the Pro-Touring pinnacle of the first generation of Mustangs. In his first trip to the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) in 2014, he posted a 13th place finish. He subsequently improved on that finish in each year following, making it to 12th place in 2015 and leaping up to fifth in 2016. These incredible performances among the world's very best all-around street cars aren't just about personal pride or making sponsors happy. Maier has a business stake in making sure his Mustangs run well, as their performances are a direct reflection on his business, Mike Maier Inc, which focuses on Mustang suspension upgrades.
Once Maier proved his '66 Mustang has no equal in the Pro-Touring world, he decided to shift his focus to the newest Mustangs being produced by Ford. For the 2017 season of OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, Maier set about taking a 2017 Ford Mustang as a platform and modifying & upgrading it in similar fashion to what he did with his '66, with his eyes set on the top of the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class and Bryan Johnson's 2013 Chevrolet Camaro. Mike knows the journey to the top won't be quick, because in addition to Johnson, the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class is packed with well-sorted out competitors and he wants to build out the Mustang in stages, to document the progress made.
Maier's 2017 campaign started off on a very positive note, as right out off the box, his Mustang managed to win the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which punched his ticket for the OUSCI, but perhaps more importantly, he was able to top two of the very best competitors in the class- Cliff Elliott's 2016 Mustang and Jordan Priestley's 2016 Camaro SS. The competition stepped up at his next event at Pike's Peak International Raceway, where the top-five in the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class varied in final scores from 388 to 378. Maier finished in second with 385 points, edged out by Jonathan Blevins' Mustang, but poised well in the overall points chase.
Falken Tires helped Maier transport his Mustang to Road America for the regular season finale, but Maier found himself squaring off another stacked field, that included Ken Thwaits' 2014 Camaro, which he brought out of semi-retirement just for that event. Mike's Mustang was able to edge out Thwaits' Camaro by a single point for his second class win of the season and move into third place overall in the Franklin Road Apparel GT Class point standings. Not a bad start for a first-year vehicle, campaigned by a guy who is about as far removed from rookie status as there is in the series, but there was more work to be done in Las Vegas.
In Maier's first foray in the OUSCI in his new ride, he placed 27th overall. While that is well behind where he might've finished in his fully-developed '66 Mustang, It's already on pace or ahead of many of his contemporaries, who have several seasons worth of development into their own rides. We can't wait to see what Maier has in store for 2018 and beyond and expect him to make a similar ascension in the ranks. You can see all the action unfold every weekend on MAVTV, starting Friday nights at 8PM Eastern or see them in person!