In making the transition from digital development to the real world, Ford engineers Jonathan Gesek and Mike Del Zio improved the aerodynamics, economy, and performance of the 2018 Mustang with nothing more than a strip of duct tape.

We know that the 2018 Mustang features a redesigned visage. Like most modern vehicles, much of that design was created inside a computer. However, as advanced as the software is today, old-fashioned, real-world engineering can improve upon the virtual design.

That little strip of tape made all the difference. — Mike Del Zio, Ford

Such was definitely the case for the latest Mustang. After the track testing didn’t support the wind-tunnel data, Ford’s Jonathan Gesek (aerodynamics engineer) and Mike Del Zio (vehicle dynamics engineer), who have dedicated hundreds of hours to improving the car’s aero performance, discovered the car wasn’t handling they way they had projected. It needed more downforce. That’s when big brains improved upon big data. The duo started the solution the way many of us perform a hasty repair — with a strip of duct tape.

Computers have really expedited and improved the development of vehicles, but sometimes, the real-world testing can improve upon that development.

“That little strip of tape made all the difference,” Mike said. “The key to the subjective is confidence. At the end of a straightaway, what confidence do you have in being able to brake and make a turn? Things start to come up fast at 155 miles an hour.”

With that discovery, the Mustang team redesigned the front grille to improve the car’s high-speed handling. As a result the new Mustang has up to 3 percent less drag (on the EcoBoost version) and up to 5.6 percent better fuel economy (on the automatic GT) than its 2017 Mustang predecessor.

The results of computerized and human engineering has significantly improved the fuel economy of most of the 2018 Mustang lineup.