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Ford Mustang Dark Horse R Is for New Mustang Challenge Series

Oct 07, 2023

Ford’s latest track-only pony is designed for a lower-budget Mustang race series.

Ford’s going all-in with its latest Mustang on the track. Following the GT3-spec and GT4-spec race cars, Ford is launching another track-only variant of its Mustang Dark Horse. Dubbed the Mustang Dark Horse R, this pony apparently bridges the gap between the GT3 and GT4 cars, while also opening the door for its own race series. This Mustang will be the leading force behind the new Mustang Challenge series and will help racers get track time without totally breaking the bank.

The Dark Horse R’s build sheet probably won’t be a surprise to those reading about the new Mustang GT4. Powering the Dark Horse R is basically the same 5.0-liter Coyote mill that’s mated to a Tremec six-speed transmission. Its 500 hp travels back to the limited-slip differential that packs 3.73 gears and transfers power to the Michelin slicks. As enhancements, Ford added cooling for the transmission and differential and upgraded the oil system in the Coyote. The 5.0-liter V8 now connects to a Borla exhaust system, too.

Those aren’t the only changes making their way to the Dark Horse R. Ford will also fill the cabin with a roll cage, a fire-suppression system, and a safety net for the window. The driver will sit in an FIA-approved Recaro racing seat and will be strapped in with a Recaro FIA harness. For the sake of entry and exit, Ford also equipped this Mustang with a quick-release steering wheel. Oh yeah, and drivers will get all their information from a MoTec data display and data logger.

Slowing the Dark Horse R is a set of Brembo racing calipers and rotors in the front, loaded with Brembo’s racing pads. Helping to keep those parts from getting too hot, Ford opted to use brake cooling ducts. Ford also loaded up what it calls a performance ABS system, to help you keep lockups at bay.

If you want one of these to race at your local track, add to your collection, or try your hand at the Mustang Challenge, it’ll set you back a cool $145,000. Of course, that just gets you the car. If you want to field a race team, you’ll need some folks to help you repair and maintain that car, and maybe some spare parts to throw at it along the way. Still, that’s not a terribly expensive way to try your hand at racing.

What do you think of Ford’s recent Mustang racing push? Tell us your thoughts below.

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Ford's latest race-ready Mustang is the Dark Horse R, which is designed for its new Mustang Challenge series.The Mustang Dark Horse R uses the same 5.0-liter Coyote found in the production car, with modifications to make it better handle wheel-to-wheel racing. Starting at $145,000, the Dark Horse R bridges the gap between the GT3 and GT4 cars.