Ford Motor Company surprised all of us with the unexpected reveal of the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, after distracting us with the “Nite Pony” black package for the previous generation model. We now know that the trademark filing for Dark Horse had a use after all. And along with the road going model, the S650 Mustang Dark Horse will spawn a lineup of race cars under the same name. These new variants aren’t just a tougher street version of the Dark Horse, but dedicated race cars for customers to buy and take to the track. The first of the race car models is the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse S, which is purpose-built for customers to take to track days and explore the limits of performance. A second Mustang Dark Horse R model will also be available that will allow customers to enter their own vehicle in racing classes such as the SCCA, SRO, and an all-new Mustang spec-racing series.
“For decades, Mustang has competed against the most premium brands on the greatest world stages and won,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company. “We surprised everyone, and we’re going to surprise them again with a track-capable Mustang that puts a new level of performance, styling and American engineering in the hands of everyday customers who still want the thrill and excitement of a V8 sports car.”
Both the Ford Mustang Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R will be powered by a racing version of the new 5.0L Coyote V8 engine, and like the purpose-built Ford Bronco DR race truck, these vehicles will not be legal for road use.
Ford Mustang Dark Horse S: Details
The new Ford Mustang Dark Horse S is effectively a stripped-down version of the street-legal S650 Mustang Dark Horse. As such, ever non-essential part and trim piece was been removed, and replaced with a full FIA-certified safety cage, safety netting, a race seat with safety belts and a race steering wheel with quick disconnect. Other safety items include electrical disconnects and a fire suppression system.
The driver controls of the Ford Mustang Dark Horse S are found within a central panel, which houses switches and knobs for the headlamps, side indicators, windshield wipers, mirror adjusters and rain light. There’s even a pit speed limiter and a data and acquisition display system. A single passenger seat is optional.
The exterior design of the S650 Mustang Dark Horse S adds hood pins, front and rear tow hooks, an adjustable rear wing for added downforce and a full exhaust system. The Dark Horse S will be painted from the factory, and will be ready for liveries.
While Dark Horse S has the same wheels as the street-legal Dark Horse, the upgraded brake system provides even further robustness to meet track demands. Multimatic DSSV dampers support driver tunability in addition to the adjustable ride height and camber settings.
Ford Mustang Dark Horse R: Details
The new Ford Mustang Dark Horse R will feature all of the content as the Mustang Dark Horse S, plus a special serialization that approves it for sanctioned racing. It will come standard with strategic seam welding, a fuel cell for increased range, and Ford Performance Parts wheels.
Along with the S650 Mustang Dark Horse S and S650 Mustang Dark Horse R, Ford will race the Dark Horse nameplate under six different racing series, including IMSA and WEC GT3 and GT4 classes, Australian V8 Supercars, NASCAR, and NHRA Factory X racing.
The S650 Ford Mustang GT3 IMSA race car that will also be available for privateer customers, starting with 24 Hours of Daytona in 2024. The new Mustang GT3 will be built by Multimatic Motorsports in Ontario, and will be powered by a 5.4-liter Coyote-based V8 engine. Meanwhile, a new Ford Mustang GT4 will be available for customers will also debut in the 2023 season. It will be eligible for global GT4 classes in IMSA, SRO and FIA GT competition.
Finally, a new Ford Mustang will officially debut next season in the Australian Supercars series, and in coming years newly designed models will debut in the NASCAR Cup series and NHRA Factory X racing. All of these race cars appear to be teased in the photos above and below.