The Ford Mustang has been a fixture of NASCAR racing in recent years, having successfully captured a driver’s championship with driver Joey Logano in 2022, as well as a manufacturers title for Ford back in 2020. With the new S650 now hitting dealers across the country, it's time for a new take on the Mustang racer. Ford on Wednesday unveiled the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Mustang Dark Horse, which will make its racing debut on February 4, 2024 at the Clash at the Coliseum.
While Ford hasn’t shared any specific details about this latest Mustang race car, it should largely remain the same as the outgoing S550 Next Gen car. That means a chassis structure provided by Technique Inc., as well as a 358 cubic-inch V-8 engine producing no more than 670 hp for unrestricted events. That engine comes mated to a five-speed transaxle from X-Trac, while a set of Öhlins dampers are responsible for keeping the rubber on the track. The only major change will come by way of the new carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body panels, which now more closely mirror the Dark Horse street car.
“If she gallops as fast as she looks, it’s going to be a good year,” said Brad Keselowski, driver and co-owner of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing. “Mustang is an iconic American car made famous around the world. I think of how Mustang has evolved over the years and how NASCAR has evolved along with it and they’re just two brands that go together. I’m proud to get to drive it and proud to be able to compete for the win in this car.”
The Dark Horse is one of the latest high-performance Mustang nameplates from Ford, slotted between the GT and GTD models. The track-focused model has already spawned a number of race cars across different series, including Formula Drift and Australia’s Repco Supercars Championship. The Dark Horse is also set to represent the Mustang in the FIA, with GT3 and GT4 variants slated to hit the grid in 2024. Ford has also created two racing variants of the car known as Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R, with the latter getting its own racing series known as Mustang Challenge. In fact, the Mustang Dark Horse is now slated to race on six continents next year.
A Next Gen Ford Mustang managed to capture the win at the Clash at the Coliseum back in 2022, and Ford hopes to relive that success in the coming months. Whether or not the Mustang is able to help provide Ford with another set of trophies will have to be seen. That said, the drivers are going to look better than ever in the fight.
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