Ford’s new Mustang Dark Horse R track car comes with its very own racing series
The Mustang Challenge kicks off in 2024
Man, don’t you hate it when you buy a turn-key race car but then don’t have a dedicated one-make series in which to race? It’s the worst. Thankfully, Ford understands, which is why the company isn’t just unveiling the new Mustang Dark Horse R race car this week, it’s launching the Mustang Challenge series that’ll kick off in 2024.
Despite being "designed for track use only" (a casual way of saying “it's not street-legal”), the Mustang Dark Horse R shares a whole bunch of components with the standard Dark Horse coupe. The 500hp 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine carries over with a few small upgrades, as does the Tremec 6-speed manual transmission, Torsen limited-slip differential, and 3.73 final drive ratio.
From there, the Dark Horse R gets all race-ready with upgraded oil and cooling systems, an absolutely bangin' Borla exhaust, Multimatic dampers, adjustable anti-roll bars, and more. The very cool-looking 19-inch flow-form wheels are specifically made for the Dark Horse R, as are the Michelin racing slicks that wrap ‘em.
Inside, the Dark Horse R is a proper motorsports machine, with a Recaro FIA racing seat, Sparco harness, quick-release wheel, safety nets, data logging system, fuel cell – all the big-league stuff. This isn't your weekend track car.
But the Dark Horse R isn’t for casual weekend track days, either. People who plunk down the – deep breath – $145,000 for one of these Mustangs will surely be in it to win it, so it’s good there’s a brand-new racing series developed specifically for this car. Called Mustang Challenge, Ford says the series will consist of 10 to 12 races in conjunction with 5 or 6 motorsport event weekends in North America. It's unclear exactly what these are – or how high-profile they'll be – but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Don’t worry, the whole series is backed by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), so it’s totally legit.
Expect to see the first Dark Horse R race cars on track sometime in 2024. In the meantime, the road-legal Mustang Dark Horse goes on sale this summer, which sure looks like it’ll be a hoot – you know, for the rest of us who can’t afford to enter a race series.
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