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Up there with apple pie, barrel-aged bourbon and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, the Ford Mustang is about as American as it gets.
But the iconic muscle car also now has ties Down Under thanks to Ford Australia and racing squad DJR Team Penske taking the reins off a new Mustang Supercar prototype which will start to compete in Australia’s Supercars Championship series early next year.
Unveiled this week in a blue-and-white wrap, the super ‘Stang will replace the Falcon supercar which has represented Ford in the Aussie motorsport series for decades.
Built as a joint effort from Ford Performance, Ford Australia and the Ford Asia-Pacific Design Studio, the prototype model hit the track for the first time at Queensland Raceway and ran through a comprehensive testing program on the Willowbank circuit.
Inlines (3 images)
Longer than a standard Mustang in order to fit the chassis which is required of all supercar contenders in the series, the new model also differs from cars you’ll see stateside thanks to a set of undersized wheels and an over-the-top (literally) rear wing.
Despite those differences, power for the muscular Mustang comes from the same five-liter V8 that Ford used in generations of its Falcon race cars. However, unlike the four-door Falcon, the new Mustang is a two-door model, the first of its kind to race in the Supercars series.
With drivers Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard taking turns behind the wheel, the Mustang “ran faultlessly” during its trial run and DJR Team Penske “could not have been happier” with how the car looked following seven months of work.
“It’s always a special moment when a project such as this one finally comes to fruition and rolls out onto the racetrack for the first time,” said Ford Performance lead Sriram Pakkam. “This is a significant car for Ford, and this is demonstrated in the resources we’ve put into the project to ensure that we build the best race car possible, within Supercars’ regulations. First signs are positive, and we will continue the testing program over the next few weeks.”
Regardless of how it races when the 2019 Australia Supercars kicks off at the Adelaide 500 on February 29, the new model is good to see as it’s further proof the Detroit automaker is still committed to improving on the ‘Stang after that it would be putting its entire fleet of compact cars out to pasture.
Sure, that announcement only pertained to consumer models and the new Mustang Supercar certainly isn’t one – but maybe it will be at some point in the future.
Fingers — and hooves — crossed.
All images via Ford Australia and DJR Team Penske.