Ford Mustang Dark Horse R Revealed Introducing a New Era in Mustang Motorsport

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Ford Performance has introduced the latest addition to its motorsport-focused S650 lineup: the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R. This special vehicle holds significance as it will be competing in a new racing series called the Mustang Challenge, affirming Ford’s commitment to bringing the Mustang into the racing world at every opportunity. The Mustang Challenge is a single-make, IMSA-sanctioned series designed exclusively for Mustang enthusiasts and is set to kick off in 2024.

Mark Rushbrook, the global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, explained where the Mustang Dark Horse R fits within the extensive range of 11 different racing variants. He stated, “Mustang Dark Horse R bridges the gap between Dark Horse and Mustang GT3 and GT4. Production-based Mustang vehicles have a longstanding racing history, dating all the way back to their victory in the 1964 Tour de France. The Dark Horse R offers passionate customers not only an attainable, factory-built race car but also a dedicated racing series to compete with fellow Mustang enthusiasts.”

Similar to the street-legal Dark Horse, the Dark Horse R utilizes a body sourced from the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Under the hood, it features a powerful 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine generating “500+ horsepower,” mated to an uprated Tremec 3160 manual six-speed transmission. To improve handling, the Dark Horse R is equipped with a Torsen limited-slip differential boasting a 3.73 final drive ratio and shares some aero elements and Brembo rear brakes with its street counterpart.

However, the Dark Horse R comes with several upgrades to enhance its performance on the track. The oil system, transmission coolers, and differential cooling system have all been improved, and it boasts a Borla racing exhaust and a Ford Performance oil pan. The ABS has been reprogrammed, and the front brakes now feature Brembo race calipers, rotors, and pads, complemented by new cooling ducts to further improve braking performance.

In addition to performance enhancements, the Mustang Dark Horse R features various racing-focused components, including front and rear tow hooks, reinforced jacking points, and underbody tie-down hoops for easy transportation. Inside the cockpit, there’s a Recaro FIA-approved race seat, a Sparco quick-release steering wheel, a Sparco FIA racing harness, and a Sparco FIA fire-suppression system. Safety provisions include FIA safety nets supplied by Safecraft, a data display, and logging system by MoTeC, and a fuel cell.

To ensure structural rigidity, Ford has incorporated a roll cage, Multimatic DSSV dampers, adjustable front camber plates, adjustable anti-roll bars, and additional seam welding. The Mustang Dark Horse R rides on Ford Performance Parts R1 flow-formed 19×10.5-inch front wheels and 19×11-inch rear wheels, wrapped in bespoke Michelin slick tires specially developed for the Mustang Challenge (sold separately). The wheels are secured using MSI wheel studs and open lug nuts.

As for the price, the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R comes with a starting price of $145,000, and deliveries are scheduled to begin later in the year. With its purpose-built racing features and the opportunity to participate in the Mustang Challenge, the Dark Horse R is poised to offer a thrilling and competitive experience for Mustang enthusiasts seeking a factory-built race car.


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