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Ford’s Evolution in NASCAR: Unveiling the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse and Racing Legacy

Ford’s Evolution in NASCAR: Ford’s legacy in NASCAR and its commitment to high-performance vehicles is exemplified by the introduction of the seventh-generation Mustang at the North American International Auto Show on September 14, 2022. Ford’s continuous innovation and commitment to excellence in motorsports are reflected in the latest Mustang models and their integration into NASCAR. From the updated Mustang Dark Horse in the Cup Series to the versatile Mustang GT in the Xfinity Series and the robust F-150 in the Truck Series, Ford’s vehicles embody the spirit of American performance, driving forward the evolution of racing technology and maintaining their competitive edge on tracks worldwide.

Car Specifications

Ford unveiled the highly anticipated seventh-generation Mustang at the North American International Auto Show on September 14, 2022, in a grand event dubbed “The Stampede.” This latest replay of the iconic pony car not only showcased a stunning redesign but also introduced a range of track-only models, affirming the Mustang’s enduring legacy as a symbol of American performance and innovation.

The seventh-generation Mustang boasts a versatile lineup catering to various driving preferences, from the exhilarating power of the NASCAR Cup Series body to the precision engineering of the V8 Supercar version. Multiple GT racing changes further highlight Ford’s commitment to delivering high-performance vehicles made for diverse racing disciplines.

In terms of body and chassis, the Mustang maintains its distinctive 2-door coupe and convertible configurations, showing timeless style and athleticism. Its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout ensures a balanced and dynamic driving experience, while the Ford D2C platform provides a solid foundation for exceptional handling and agility on the track.

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Under the hood, drivers have a choice of potent gasoline engines, including the efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four, the iconic 5.0-liter Coyote V8, and the 5.2-liter Predator supercharged V8 featured in the GTD variant. Whether cruising on the highway or tearing up the racetrack, the Mustang offers performance matched by its iconic roar.

Transmission options include a smooth-shifting 10-speed 10R80 automatic for seamless power delivery, a responsive 6-speed Getrag MT82-D4 manual for enthusiasts seeking greater control (available in the GT), and a precision-engineered 6-speed TREMEC TR-3160 manual for the Dark Horse variant, emphasizing the Mustang’s commitment to driver engagement and performance.

In terms of dimensions, the Mustang’s wheelbase of 107.1 inches provides a stable foundation, while its length ranging from 189.4 to 189.7 inches, width spanning 75.4 to 75.5 inches, and height ranging from 54.8 to 55.2 inches ensure a sleek yet commanding presence on the road.

With a curb weight starting at 3,752 pounds, the Mustang strikes a balance between agility and robustness, embodying the spirit of American muscle and performance.

The seventh-generation Ford Mustang represents the peak of automotive engineering and performance, offering drivers an unparalleled combination of power, agility, and iconic design. From the racetrack to the open road, the Mustang continues to captivate enthusiasts worldwide with its legendary performance and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of automotive excellence.

Dark Horse Updated

In a significant update for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series, Ford has introduced the Mustang Dark Horse, an evolution of the seventh-generation Mustang that was originally unveiled in 2022. This new race car version is set to make its debut at the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on February 4, 2024

The Mustang Dark Horse boasts a refined aerodynamic profile, featuring a new nose design and character lines that run from the fender to the door. These updates are engineered to optimize downforce and reduce drag, crucial factors for maintaining competitive performance across various NASCAR tracks

The development process involved extensive wind tunnel testing and close collaboration between Ford Performance engineers and NASCAR race teams. This partnership aimed to fine-tune the car’s aerodynamic properties, ensuring that it meets the rigorous demands of professional racing.

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The Mustang Dark Horse retains the robust powertrain options that fans expect from a Mustang, including a track-capable 5.0-liter V8 engine. This engine, which is the most advanced and powerful street-legal V8 Mustang ever produced, provides the car with exceptional speed and acceleration capabilities.

In addition to its presence in NASCAR, the Mustang Dark Horse will compete in various global racing series. This includes eligibility for GT3 and GT4 classes, as well as participation in the Mustang Challenge Series and other grassroots racing events. 

The introduction of the Mustang Dark Horse for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series marks a significant milestone in Ford’s racing legacy. With its advanced aerodynamic design, powerful V8 engine, and development efforts, the Mustang Dark Horse is set to continue Ford’s tradition of excellence in motorsports.

Ford in NASCAR

On November 1, 2023, Ford Performance unveiled the new Dark Horse Next Gen body style for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, marking a significant update to their racing lineup. This new design replaces the previous sixth-generation Mustang GT, bringing a host of aerodynamic and performance enhancements tailored for competitive racing. The Dark Horse Next Gen body style features refined aerodynamics and improved handling, ensuring that the Mustang remains at the cutting edge of NASCAR technology.

Ford’s involvement in NASCAR spans across the three major series: the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Truck Series. In the Cup Series, the Mustang GT is fielded by prominent teams such as RFK Racing, Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Wood Brothers Racing. These teams have a storied history of success, with numerous victories and championships under their belts, highlighting Ford’s significant presence and influence in the sport. The updated Mustang GT, with its advanced design, is expected to continue this tradition of excellence.

In the Xfinity Series, Ford continues its representation with the Mustang GT, providing a platform for up-and-coming drivers to showcase their skills and for innovative technologies to be tested and refined. The series serves as a crucial development ground for both drivers and vehicles, ensuring that Ford maintains a competitive edge in motorsports. The consistent performance of the Mustang GT in this series underscores its versatility and reliability across different racing environments.

The Truck Series features the Ford F-150, a model known for its rugged durability and powerful performance. The F-150’s participation in this series demonstrates Ford’s engineering prowess and its commitment to competing at the highest levels of motorsport. The combination of the F-150’s robust capabilities and the strategic expertise of Ford’s racing teams ensures that they remain a formidable force on the track. Through continuous innovation and collaboration, Ford aims to push the boundaries of what is possible in NASCAR, driving forward the evolution of racing technology.

List of Drivers and Teams

Front Row Motorsports Michael McDowell
Todd Gilliland
RFK Racing Brad Keselowski
Chris Buescher
Rick Ware Racing Riley Herbst
Kaz Grala (R)
Cody Ware
Justin Haley
Stewart-Haas Racing Josh Berry (R)
Noah Gragson
Chase Briscoe
Ryan Preece
Team Penske Austin Cindric
Ryan Blaney[
Joey Logano
Wood Brothers Racing Harrison Burton
AM Racing Hailie Deegan (R)
RSS Racing Kyle Sieg
Blaine Perkins
Ryan Sieg
Stewart-Haas Racing Cole Custer
Riley Herbst
Front Row Motorsports Layne Riggs (R)
Reaume Brothers Racing TBA
Lawless Alan
ThorSport Racing Jake Garcia
Matt Crafton
Ty Majeski
Ben Rhodes


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News in Brief: Ford’s Evolution in NASCAR

Ford’s unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in NASCAR is clearly illustrated by the introduction of the seventh-generation Mustang and the new Mustang Dark Horse Next Gen body style for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. These advancements reflect Ford’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of automotive performance and design, ensuring that their vehicles remain at the forefront of competitive racing. With the Mustang GT dominating the Cup and Xfinity Series and the robust F-150 making its mark in the Truck Series, Ford’s strategic involvement across NASCAR’s major series highlights their engineering skills and strategic expertise.

ALSO READ: Ford Dominates Goodyear 400: Richard Petty’s Bold Stance on Dark Horse

Ayush Rawat
Ayush Rawat
Ayush Rawat is a seasoned motorsports journalist specializing in covering NASCAR car manufacturer news for Slicksandsticks.com. With a keen eye for detail, Ayush explores the world of NASCAR car manufacturing, providing insightful coverage of developments from various manufacturers within the sport. His dedication to delivering comprehensive and up-to-date information on NASCAR's manufacturing landscape makes him a trusted authority for racing enthusiasts


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