Ford Performance has revealed the all-new Mustang Dark Horse R, offering the most demanding track enthusiasts a turn-key race car ready to compete in the all-new Mustang Challenge, just for Mustang Dark Horse R and sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
Powered by a new, fourth-generation 5.0-litre Coyote V8, Mustang Dark Horse R is the third Dark Horse-based racing derivative to be unveiled this northern summer, joining its place alongside the Mustang GT3 and Mustang GT4.
“Mustang Dark Horse R bridges the gap between Dark Horse and Mustang GT3 and GT4,” said, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports, Mark Rushbrook. “Production-based Mustang vehicles have raced from the very beginning, all the way back to winning the 1964 Tour de France, even. Dark Horse R offers our passionate customers not just an attainable, factory-built race car, but also a racing series to compete with other Mustang enthusiasts.”
With the Mustang Dark Horse as the most track-capable 5.0-litre V8 street-legal Mustang ever, Ford said Dark Horse R is a natural extension of the capabilities found in every Dark Horse.
“Mustang Dark Horse R has been developed with Mustang racing enthusiasts top of mind,” said Jim Owens, Ford Mustang Marketing Manager. “Ford Performance leaned into countless areas of expertise developed through years of racing the Mustang and homed in on an aggressive yet approachable package for customers to pick up and play with.”
Dark Horse R is designed for track use only but shares several components with the road-going version. These include a Flat Rock Assembly Plant-provided body, 500-plus horsepower 5.0-litre V8 engine, Tremec 3160 manual transmission, Torsen limited slip differential with 3.73 final drive ratio, aero and Brembo rear brake calipers/rotors. It’s also upgraded with a wide array of track-focused equipment.
Front and rear tow hooks
Reinforced jacking points
Underbody tie down hoops
Recaro FIA racing seat
Sparco quick-release steering wheel
Sparco FIA racing harness
Sparco FIA fire suppression system
Safecraft FIA safety nets
Driver keypad and button controls
MoTeC data display and logging system
Upgraded oil system
Upgraded transmission cooling
Upgraded differential cooling
Borla racing exhaust system
Ford Performance oil pan
Multimatic DSSV dampers
Adjustable front camber plates
Adjustable anti-roll bars
Select seam welding
Brembo race calipers – front
Brembo race rotors – front
Brembo race pads
Race brake cooling ducts
Ford Performance Parts R1 Flow-Formed Wheels (19” x 10.5” front, 19” x 11” rear)
Bespoke Michelin 19” slick race tyre for Mustang Challenge, sold separately
MSI wheel studs and open lug nuts
The Mustang Challenge series will start in 2024, running a 10 to 12-race calendar in conjunction with a mix of five to six yet-to-be-announced North American sports car race weekends. All cars will compete on racing slicks developed specifically for Mustang Challenge by series partners, Michelin.
“Mustang Dark Horse R owners will have the opportunity to race and test their driving skills with other Mustang enthusiasts at some of the world’s most incredible tracks,” said Rushbrook.
Each round of the IMSA-sanctioned series, which will be managed by the Ford Performance Racing School, consists of two practice sessions, one qualifying session and two sprint races. To reward the most skilled drivers, there will be contingency payouts to top finishers in each race, as well as an overall series champion at the end of the season.
“The new Mustang Challenge series is a perfect addition to our IMSA family and we are grateful to our longtime partners at Ford for trusting us to be the sanctioning body for this spectacular new platform,” said IMSA President, John Doonan. “When I was a little boy going to the race track, I vividly remember the rumble of the Mustang race cars and their V8 power, so imagining a full field of Dark Horse Rs charging into Turn 1 for the first time on an IMSA race weekend will bring back a flood of memories and be awe-inspiring.”
Pricing for Mustang Dark Horse R starts at US$145,000. Deliveries will begin in preparation for the start of the Mustang Challenge season in 2024.