We’re at the cusp of a new Ford Mustang generation, and that means we can expect to see some very exciting pony cars in the near future. Ford’s not wasting any bit of that time, having already primed a new batch of race cars ready to sprint out of the gate.
This week, Ford debuted the Mustang GT4 at the 24 Hours of Spa, an endurance race that takes place on one of motorsport’s oldest and beloved tracks.
The GT4 is based off of the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse, the meanest version of the muscle car in the upcoming lineup, which houses a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood that’s capable of generating 500 horsepower. Along with the extra power over the standard Mustang GT, which gins up around 480 horsepower, the Dark Horse has more race-ready components and beefier brakes.
Based on the Mustangs that have come before it like the Boss 302 and Shelby GT350, the Dark Horse is likely to be the darling of weekend track days when customers finally get behind the wheel. When it comes to the GT4, much of the civilian-friendly parts make way for gear that can stand up to the challenges of a 24 hour endurance race.
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Starting with the same 5.0-liter V8, the Mustang GT4 swaps out its standard 6-speed manual transmission for a dog-ring gearbox by racing component manufacturer Holinger. This unit shifts faster in a race setting but lacks the ease of use and resistance to wear that a common synchromesh box provides. To make the most out of it, the Mustang is fitted with pneumatically actuated paddle shifters for quick and punchy gear changes.
Multimatic dampers are fitted onto the suspension while the shell is wrapped in natural fiber body panels paired with an aero package unique to the Mustang while still conforming to GT4 category standards.
The GT4 Mustang announcement follows the recent reveal of the Mustang GT3 at this year’s 20 Hours of Le Mans. While the GT4 is more of a stripped-down version of the Dark Horse, the GT3 is much more removed from any road-going model. This racer gets its own unique version of the V8, expanded to 5.4 liters over the standard 5.0, something that might make its way into a future Mustang if we’re lucky. It also gets a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox and a carbon fiber body with a very aggressive aerodynamic configuration.
“The Mustang GT4 is a key member of our motorsports lineup,” says Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Its placement between the Mustang GT3 and soon-to-be-unveiled Mustang Dark Horse R keeps the brand in competition at all levels of on-track performance and is an important part of our customer racing program.”
Ford isn’t fielding the Mustang GT4 itself, but customer teams can purchase them in time for next year’s season at an undisclosed price. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a Ford Mustang fan, with so many ponies stampeding across multiple motorsport disciplines next year.
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