Ford Performance Debuts Track-Only Mustang Dark Horse R

Ford Performance has revealed the all-new Mustang Dark Horse R, a turnkey race car that will compete in the all-new Mustang Challenge spec racing series for the Mustang Dark Horse R and sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).

The Mustang Dark Horse R is powered by a new, fourth-generation 5.0-liter Coyote V8 and is the third Dark Horse-based racing derivative to be unveiled this summer, along with 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.”

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-plus 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 hook
  • 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-inch x 10.5-inch front, 19-inch x 11-inch rear)
  • Bespoke Michelin 19-inch slick race tire for Mustang Challenge, sold separately
  • MSI wheel studs and open lug nuts

The Mustang Dark Horse R will 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 Michelin, Ford said.

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. Ford will also make contingency payouts to top finishers in each race, as well as an overall series champion at the end of the season.

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at ahecht@cahabamedia.com.

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