Ford Performance Unveils the Dark Horse
Jul 28, 2023 - 4 minute read
CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 27, 2023 Ford Performance today reveals 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 spec racing series, just for Mustang Dark Horse R and sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
The Mustang Dark Horse R powered by a new, fourth-generation 5.0-liter Coyote V8 is the third Dark Horse-based racing derivative to be unveiled this 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," stated Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “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.”
Mustang Dark Horse R Ready for the Track
With the Ford Mustang Dark Horse joining the herd as the most track-capable 5.0-liter V8 street-legal Mustang ever, 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 honed 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 also shares several components with the road-going version. These include a Flat Rock Assembly Plant-provided body, 500+ horsepower 5.0-liter 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
· Fuel cell
· Upgraded oil system
· Upgraded transmission cooling
· Upgraded differential cooling
· Borla racing exhaust system
· Ford Performance oil pan
· Roll cage
· Multimatic DSSV dampers
· Adjustable front camber plates
· Adjustable anti-roll bars
· Select seam welding
· Performance ABS
· 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 tire for Mustang Challenge, sold separately
· MSI wheel studs and open lug nuts
Mustang Challenge Provides Mustang Enthusiasts A Place to Race
Mustang Dark Horse R was born to compete in the new, single-make Mustang Challenge series.
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 our series partners at 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 $145,000. Deliveries will begin in preparation for the start of the Mustang Challenge season in 2024.
Contact J.C. Lewis Ford Savannah to test drive a Mustang and check out our Mustang inventory today, 912.226.0360.