Ford Introduces Dark Horse Mustang And New Family Of Track-Only Race Ponies, Setting A New Standard For Street And Track

August 28, 2023 Off By Glespynorson

Dark Horse Mustang

The all-new Dark Horse Mustang is the first new Mustang performance series in 21 years, with a dark yet luxury external and interior style hinting at the highest performance yet from its new 5.0-liter V8, with 500 horsepower projected.

Handling is available for Dark Horse Mustang. Thanks to better aerodynamics, upgraded hardware, new software, and tuning with an optional six-speed manual gearbox, this is the most track-capable 5.0-liter V8 street-legal Mustang ever.
Dark Horse in a new chapter in the renowned Mustang motorsports heritage, with the all-new Mustang Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R track-only variants joining six new racing Mustangs on the way.

DEARBORN, MI, September 14, 2022 — With ominous appearances and a specifically customized 5.0-liter V8 – the most powerful 5.0-liter V8 ever, with 500 horsepower – Dark Horse Mustang broadens the portfolio and establishes a new standard for American street and track performance that can only be found in a Mustang.

For more than three years, a special team of Ford engineers, designers, and experts worked to create Mustang Dark Horse, a street and track-capable performance Mustang with striking visual cues and all the capability sports car enthusiasts expect, right down to the available Carbon Revolution carbon fiber wheels (late availability). Mustang Dark Horse is the brand’s first new performance moniker since Mustang Bullitt debuted in 2001.

“For decades, Mustang has competed against the most premium brands on the world’s greatest stages, and won,” stated Jim Farley, CEO of Ford Motor Company. “We surprised everyone, and we’re going to surprise them all over again with a track-capable Mustang that puts a new level of performance, styling, and American engineering in the hands of everyday customers who still want the thrill and excitement of a V8 sports car.”

A 5.0-liter V8 with Extra Athletic Performance

The all-new 2024 Mustang serves as the base for Dark Horse Mustang, which has been changed with a digitally immersive cockpit, new engines, and aesthetics to make it the most exciting and fun-to-drive Mustang yet.

“We’ve taken the all-new Mustang, the best of our new 5.0-liter V8 performance, and added power, improved the aero, tires, steering, and provided an interactive cockpit to create a Mustang that goes beyond any 5.0-liter Mustang before it,” said Ford Mustang chief nameplate engineer Ed Krenz.

Dark Horse Mustang

The unique 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine in Mustang Dark Horse is particularly tuned with piston connecting rods originally debuted in the 760-horsepower Ford Performance Mustang Shelby GT500. Mustang Dark Horse will be the most powerful member of the all-new Mustang family.

The Dark Horse Mustang is visually distinct from any other 5.0-liter V8 before it, with a twin throttle-body intake configuration to assist engine ventilation, accented by wide nostrils in the front grille.

Mustang Dark Horse comes standard with a six-speed TREMEC manual gearbox linked to the driver through a standard 3D-printed titanium shift ball. A customized Mustang Dark Horse gearbox oil cooler is also included in the handbook. Drivers may also select Ford’s sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission with sport paddle shifters for quick and precise shifting – from the freeway to the race track.

Additional powertrain improvements were made for track performance. To boost endurance and recovery, Dark Horse Mustang adds brake cooling NACA ducts, an auxiliary engine oil cooler, a rear axle cooler, and a new and lighter-weight radiator with improved cooling capabilities and more powerful cooling fans.

The Mustang Dark Horse comes with custom chassis tuning, thicker rear sway bars, and heavy-duty front shocks. Brembo front 6 piston brakes with 13.9-inch rotors provide stopping power. A new lightweight Ford Performance-designed strut tower brace and K-brace improves steering responsiveness and grip for even greater handling and input from Dark Horse. The Torsen® rear differential and standard Pirelli P ZEROTM (PZ4) tires with staggered fitment wheels (19-inch-by-9.5-inch front and 19-inch-by-10-inch rear wheels) allow the Mustang Dark Horse to provide torque without sacrificing grip.

Mustang Dark Horse comes included with MagneRide® shocks, which can detect wheel and tire movement 1,000 times per second and optimize performance based on driving surface or mode.

The optional Handling Package boosts aerodynamics even further with the highest downforce of any all-new Mustang owing to a revolutionary rear wing that has an integrated Gurney Flap, identical to that of the Ford GT, for optimum street-legal and track performance. Stiffer springs, bigger front and rear sway bars, wider Pirelli Trofeo tires, and 19-inch-by-10.5-inch front and 19-inch-by-11-inch rear wheels are also included with the Handling Package.

Finally, buyers may outfit Dark Horse Mustang with lightweight carbon fiber wheels from Carbon Revolution (late availability) for no-compromise track performance. It’s the first time carbon fiber wheels have been offered on a Mustang other than the Shelby® GT350® and GT500®.

Immersive Digital Cockpit with Driver Focus

Dark Horse Mustang

The Dark Horse adds even more performance style and usefulness to the technologically enhanced, driver-centric cockpit of the all-new seventh-generation automobile.

On models ordered with the 10-speed automatic transmission, a thicker, flat-bottomed steering wheel wrapped in suede and finished with Bright Indigo Blue accent stitching incorporates anodized silver paddle shifters and a dedicated drive mode button, allowing drivers to quickly select the desired driving setup. This is displayed in front of a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster with customisable panels and a selection of drive modes.

This digital instrument cluster elegantly transitions into a 13.2-inch SYNC® 4 center stack behind the same piece of integrated glass that is tilted towards the driver. These screens work together to produce a totally realistic digital experience that mimics a fighter aircraft cockpit – but in a real-world racing automobile.

Contrasting blue stitching over the door panels and seats, gear shift gaiter, and center console accentuate the cabin’s atmosphere, which is further enhanced with distinctive blue seatbelts. The Dark Horse Mustang Appearance Pack includes Deep Indigo Blue seats with a special seat perforation that emits more blue hints beneath the surface.

Black Alley interior trim, bezels, and vents replace the traditional brilliant silver colors of previous Mustang trim levels with a black metallic sheen.

Mustang Dark Horse also includes the most recent B&O® Sound System, which delivers clean audio through 12 speakers and a subwoofer.

Elegant and sinister functional styling

Dark Horse has the most eye-catching design elements of any new road-going Mustang.

“This is more than just a new name. “Dark Horse Mustang a new design language to the Mustang that is refined while remaining perfectly suited to its dual purpose of street and track performance,” said Joel Piaskowski, worldwide director of Ford Design. “The visual changes, both inside and out, communicate that Dark Horse has a performance-oriented focus.” The mechanical modifications emphasize Dark Horse’s goal, giving the driver more confidence and skill.”

A striking, shadow design surrounds the darker LED headlights at the front, complementing a one-of-a-kind, gloss black grille with trapezoidal nostrils and a Mustang Dark Horse-exclusive lower front bumper with high gloss ‘fangs.’ Lower side skirts and a fixed rear wing, as well as a new race-inspired diffuser and darker quad exhaust tips, highlight the car’s track-focused aesthetic characteristics.

To visually distinguish this performance variant of the Mustang from other models, new Dark Horse Mustang emblems were produced. The emblems are positioned on the fenders, trunk, and door sills, while the front features a black, anodized rendition of the renowned pony. Inside, the instrument panel and digital display panels include unique Mustang Dark Horse badging, and each car has its own chassis number.

“This is the first time for Mustang that we’ve ever had a forward-facing horse,” Piaskowski explained. “It’s aggressive, a little sinister, and it’s coming out of the shadows to win.”

Dark Horse Mustang

Blue Ember metallic paint is exclusive to Dark Horse, a cool, dark tint that generates a warm glow when it catches the light, setting the tone for the car’s entire appearance. A selection of colors and designs are also available for applied or painted feature graphics around the roof and down the hood. Dark Notorious Blue Brembo brake calipers with a brighter Grabber Blue emblem are included in the optional Appearance Package.

Dark Horse Mustang and the Future of Ford Motorsports Worldwide

The Ford Mustang was built to race. Dark Horse is part of a larger launch of six new racing Mustangs that will participate in a number of events throughout the world, including GT3, GT4, NASCAR, and NHRA Factory X racing.

Two specialized Dark Horse with 5.0-liter V8 engines will be offered just for racers and non-street use. Mustang Dark Horse S is intended for weekend track day enthusiasts, whilst Mustang Dark Horse R is intended for racing.

“We’re taking this all-new Mustang to competition racing, and the very definition of a Dark Horse Mustang is the perfect fit to introduce this vehicle to the Mustang brand,” Mark Rushbrook, worldwide director, Ford Performance Motorsports, stated. “With the development of our race program underway, we’re confident we have the right car for success.”

Mustang Dark Horse S is a stripped-down variant of the street-legal Mustang Dark Horse production car designed specifically for racing. For Mustang Dark Horse S, all non-essential components and trim elements have been deleted. A comprehensive FIA-certified safety cage, safety netting, a racing seat with safety belts, and a race steering wheel with fast detach are all included on the inside. Electrical disconnects and a fire suppression system are also included as safety features.

A central panel holds the driver controls, including switches and knobs for the headlights, side indicators, windshield wipers, mirror adjustments, and rain light. A pit speed restriction and a data and acquisition display system are also incorporated with Dark Horse S. A single passenger seat is available as an option, allowing drivers to share their experience with others while also receiving feedback from ride-along instructors.

To help flesh out the basis for a distinctive and fun-to-drive track vehicle, the exterior of the Mustang Dark Horse S includes hood pins, front and rear tow hooks, an adjustable rear wing for extra downforce, and a full exhaust system. The Mustang Dark Horse S will be factory painted and ready for individual car liveries.

While the wheels on the Mustang Dark Horse S are the same as those on the street-legal Mustang Dark Horse, the enhanced braking system gives even more resilience to withstand track demands. In addition to changeable ride height and camber adjustments, Multimatic DSSV dampers offer driver tuning.

Dark Horse amps up the track-focused intensity by including all Mustang Dark Horse S material as well as unique serialization that allows it to race. It will have strategic seam welding, a fuel cell for greater range, and Ford Performance Parts wheels as standard.

“Both the Dark Horse S and R have been further enhanced for performance and stripped of almost every unneeded comfort, keeping only what is required to provide better performance,” Krenz stated.

Aside from the Mustang Dark Horse S and Dark Horse R, the brand will continue to participate worldwide in a variety of race series, which will be announced over the coming year.

Ford will return to factory-backed GT3 racing in 2024 with an all-new Mustang GT3 IMSA race vehicle that will also be offered to consumers, beginning with the 24 Hours of Daytona. The Ford Mustang GT3, designed by Ford Performance and Multimatic and powered by a 5.4-liter Coyote-based V8 engine, will provide consumers throughout the world with the full endurance racing capabilities of a Ford Mustang.

Customers will be able to purchase a new Mustang GT4 in the 2023 season, which will be accessible for worldwide GT4 classes in IMSA, SRO, and FIA GT.

A new Mustang will premiere in the Australian Supercars championship next season, while new models will debut in the NASCAR Cup series and NHRA Factory X racing in the future years.