Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is a one-make muscle car racer

28th July 2023
Ethan Jupp

The new Ford Mustang has spawned a family of racing cars, with a third now joining the GT3 and GT4. Meet the Mustang Dark Horse R, a track-only version of the most hardcore Mustang of 2023.


So what is the Dark Horse R? Well, if you compare Ford to Ferrari for a moment, if the GT3 and GT4 are the homologated racers, the Dark Horse R is like a 488 Challenge – built for track days and one-make racing.

Upgrades for consistent track work include an upgraded oiling system, more cooling for the transmission and differential, a race-spec fuel cell and an unhinged Borla exhaust. The Dark Horse R is claimed to put out ‘500-plus horsepower’, so it’s not a giant bump from the road car. Adding some race car-style adjustability in terms of handling are camber plates, anti-roll bars and Multimatic dampers. 

Obviously the Dark Horse R sits on slicks and the cabin is completely racing car style. Gone is the giant dual-screen infotainment and driver’s display, in its place a proper race-spec panel. The Sparco wheel is removable, there’s a giant full FIA-spec cage and of course, giant Sparco harness-clad Recaro buckets.

So what can you get up to with your Mustang Dark Horse R? Well, beyond being the envy of most track days you attend, the Ford Performance Racing School is putting on a one-maker, called the Mustang Challenge. 

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Sanctioned by IMSA, a calendar with a minimum of ten races is set to get underway in 2024 in the US. You’ll be learning on the go too, given Dark Horse R examples will be arriving with buyers (after the princely sum of $145,000 has been exchanged) just before the series begins. 

Your thoughts on the Dark Horse R? You know us – more racing is always a good thing.

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  • Mustang Dark Horse R

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