Enthusiast Spotlight: James Ray
James Ray is an avid automotive enthusiast with a keen eye for performance. A commercial airline pilot with US Airways for the past 24 years – James is the type of individual that has a unique perceptual sense as well as knowledge of mechanics and performance – both in the air and on the ground. He is a member of the Carolina Regional Mustang Club and is actively involved with the Mustang Club of America and NASA-South East as a certified instructor with open track events from February thru October every year.
James’ love of automotive performance lust began with his ’68 Shelby GT350, and over the years has included other great cars including a 2001 Bullitt Mustang, a 2003 SVT Cobra Mustang, a Roush Stage III Mustang, and his current ride, a 2007 Steeda Q-400.
James acquired his Steeda mount in November 2006 and uses it as his daily driver as well as his track car. “I went to my local Ford Dealer, ordered the color, interior and options that I wanted, and had the car drop-shipped to Steeda’s Florida location. After Steeda worked their magic and transformed this ordinary GT into a Q-400, my wife and I flew down and made a mini-vacation out of driving it home. James adds: “…one of the things that I really like is the ability to drive to the track with my Steeda, change from street tires to track tires, tighten-up the Tokiko Struts, pull down on my 5-way harnesses, don my helmet, pull onto the track and run against full race prepared cars – and beating most of them! When the weekend is over, I can drive my track car home in the comfort of a/c while listening to my favorite CD. This past weekend, I finished 2nd in class at the opening NASA-SE event at Carolina Motorsports Park, a 14-turn, 2.3 mile road course. The only car faster was a fully prepared racecar that finished 5th overall in last years One Lap of America. I had the fastest lap-time by more than a second over every other Mustang in the field, including the American Iron Race Cars! My son Taylor finished 3rd in his class with his 2001 Steeda GT behind a pair of BMW Race cars.
We have a growing stable. One of my Students, and now good friend Jim Edwards caught the fever last year. After a few High Performance Driving School weekends, he started adding Steeda parts to his ’03 Cobra. Every time he added a part, it handled better! Well before you know it, he drove 11 hours to Pompano Beach and had them add the full Stage-IV suspension to his Cobra! Our Steeda Mustangs really turn heads in the paddock with their performance and good looks.”
James added: “At Roebling Road last year, a gentleman driving a Turbo Porsche Race Car commented that “he has seen it all – he had a Mustang pass him in a corner, A MUSTANG!” When he found out it was my daily driver he almost fell off of his chair! It is a true testament to the quality of product that comes out of Pompano Beach.”
James’ Q-400 includes the famous Steeda G-Trac Suspension System that delivers a unique ride that does not rattle your teeth – yet it deliver uncompromising performance and grip on the racetrack. “I am not only happy with the performance of the Q-400, but I am also very proud of how my car looks too! Some other cars out there are a little over-done for my taste. I’m not a Boy-Racer.” I’m not into Bling. I appreciate the tasteful, yet functional body pieces that Steeda adds to their cars. They’re real head-turners!”
A car that pushes the performance envelope needs a competent tire. James’ tire of choice? The Nitto NT01. “I have tried many different tires over the years. The NT01 offers an outstanding balance between everyday use and part-time track star. I am surprised with the grip, and pleased with the durability that this tire has to offer.”
James Ray comments “…..of all the cars I have owned, the Steeda Q-Series of Mustangs are simply the best Bang-for-the-Buck that you will find at any price.”
“One thing that I want your readers to know is that I am very pleased with the personalized service that I get from all of the folks at Steeda. After a track weekend, I will usually follow-up with the Steeda Team. They are very knowledgeable, and always take a genuine interest in how our cars have performed, as well as how we can make them better. From Dario on down, the Steeda team is a family that I am pleased to be a part of.”
From the cockpit of the Airbus, to the cockpit of his current Steeda Q-400, James has driven or flown them all – and it is obvious his Steeda has found a sweet spot in his heart.
Congratulations to James for enjoying life and for his candid comments about his Steeda Mustang!
Steeda – Passion for Performance