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A blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is shown from the front at an angle.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R

The new 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse has arrived at your local car dealerships, but you might not know that there is another Mustang model that you likely won’t see unless you head to your nearest race track. The Mustang Dark Horse R is a state-of-the-art, turn-key race car built in collaboration between Ford and Multimatic. It isn’t street-legal and fills a gap in the Mustang lineup between the road-going Dark Horse and the GT4 and GT3 race cars meant for professional motorsports teams.

The Dark Horse R isn’t just a high-performance Mustang variant; it’s outfitted with kit to win races at any level of competition. While it shares its basic design with the road-going Dark Horse, it has been thoroughly worked over by the experts at Multimatic, adding a free-flowing exhaust, upgraded brakes, a fully adjustable suspension, and more. It even has NASCAR-style webbing in the side windows and a full roll cage to protect drivers in the event of an accident on the track. In short, the Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is a sight to behold for racing enthusiasts. Read on for a closer look at the Ford Mustang Dark Horse R, and we can all drool over it together.

Dark Horse vs Dark Horse R

The Ford Mustang Dark Horse is aimed at drivers looking for a practical but high-performing Mustang. While it’s certainly capable of putting down laps at the track, it is just as comfortable adding some spice to your daily commute. The Dark Horse R, on the other hand, is marketed toward serious track enthusiasts looking to win some races. It’s massively capable but at the expense of all the features that make the traditional Dark Horse (or really any Mustang) a good day-to-day car. But who wants a practical race car anyway? These are built for speed!

The Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is a new addition to the Ford Mustang lineup. Ford first announced it in September 2022 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan—also known as the Detroit Auto Show—and we’ve been eagerly awaiting its advent on the market ever since. The Dark Horse R is being marketed as an intense, track-only car seamlessly blended with Ford Mustang’s rich history of producing performance vehicles. It builds on the legacy of performance and is setting a new benchmark for agility and power among its peers.

A blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is shown from the side near a car dealership.


If you’re looking for a striking exterior that will leave you in little doubt about the performance of this race car, look no further than the Dark Horse R. Its uncompromising styling includes the Dark Horse front fascia with a bold grille and sharp headlights. In profile, you’ll notice sculpted lines and aerodynamic features—like a rear spoiler and side skirts—that serve to push the Dark Horse R even faster down the track.

As we mentioned, the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse R isn’t meant to be an everyday driving vehicle for families; this powerhouse emphasizes performance and speed and has a focus on driver engagement. The interior has been fully gutted to reduce weight, although you won’t find the custom carbon fiber components of the more expensive Mustang GT4 and GT3. The driver’s seat is a Recaro FIA racing seat with a full halo and racing harness to keep the driver safe and supported while tearing along a track. Overall, the interior of the Dark Horse R is geared entirely toward speed.

Ford characterizes this new Mustang’s overall styling as “aggressive,” but it’s “aggressive” in the way a top MMA fighter is still able to move through the air effortlessly like a dancer. You’ll notice unique elements on this model that serve to make it stand out from its compatriots: things like exclusive badging, a more pronounced front splitter, and larger, flow-formed wheels. Distinctive carbon fiber accents further elevate its curb appeal.


Like the road-going Dark Horse, the Dark Horse R is powered by a new, fourth-generation 5.0-liter Coyote V8 that produces over 500 hp. The only change from the street car is that the race car gets a Borla racing exhaust to help get more power out of the engine. The Dark Horse R will also feature a Flat Rock Assembly Plant-provided body, Tremec 3160 manual transmission, and Torsen limited-slip differential with a 3.73 final drive ratio, just like the normal Dark Horse. However, there is also a wide variety of track-specific equipment that comes standard with the Dark Horse R.

For instance, the chassis has additional seam welding for greater stiffness, brake cooling ducts have been added to stave off brake fade on longer races, and the gas tank has been replaced by a fuel cell for safety. The suspension has also been fully reworked with adjustable camber plates and adjustable roll bars to help dial in the car’s performance in ways that your typical driver would never think of. Even the wheel hubs have been rebuilt with reinforced studs and open lug nuts to withstand the abuse of wheel to wheel racing.

A blue 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R is shown from the rear at an angle near a car dealership.

The Mustang Challenge Series

Up until this point, there haven’t been enough opportunities for a medley of professional and amateur drivers to come together on even footing for a race. To fill this need, Ford announced the Mustang Challenge series, which will start in 2024. It will be a run of ten to twelve races per calendar year across five to six different North American locations. All competitors will compete in the Dark Horse R on racing slicks that have been specifically developed for the Mustang Challenge by Michelin.

This motorsport racing series will pit drivers up against each other to test their driving skills without the significant variation in car ability, limiting “pay-to-win” scenarios and keeping the playing field even. This accessibility and affordability will likely see a wider range of drivers competing. Although the Ford Mustang Dark Horse R starts at a pricey $145,000, it’s still a lot more attainable than something like a GT3 car, which can run over half a million dollars. And who knows, someone might get discovered at the Mustang Challenge and go on to race in the big leagues!

According to IMSA President John Doonan, “When I was a little boy going to the race track, I vividly remember the rumble of the Mustang race cars and their V8 power, so imagining a full field of Dark Horse Rs charging into Turn One for the first time on an IMSA race weekend will bring back a flood of memories and be awe-inspiring.” Without a doubt, the rumble of all these new Mustang Dark Horse Rs is going to be incredible.

Building Excitement for the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse R

Ford has committed to its buyers to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible for its vehicles. The brand hasn’t forgotten about the avid race car enthusiasts who are looking not for a peppy vehicle to haul the kids around in but for something to test their skills as drivers with. Ford has blended many traditional elements of the Mustang with the raw racing performance of purpose-built race cars, encapsulating power, agility, maneuverability, and speed in a way that a non-Ford vehicle cannot.

This next generation of drivers is lucky to have competitions like the Mustang Challenge to test their skills and even luckier to have cutting-edge race cars like the Dark Horse R within a feasible price range, enabling their goals. If you are a fan of the new Dark Horse, make sure you tune in to the Mustang Challenge and see what the race car version of this exciting Ford can do!

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