For the past few months, the rumor in the sports car racing world was that the next iteration of Corvette C8.R would be getting a high-profile cross-town rival in 2024. Today, Ford has confirmed it: The Mustang is joining both GT3 racing and IMSA's GTD Pro class in two years.
Ford will partner with Multimatic to both build and race the cars. If that name sounds familiar, you may recognize it from its part in building both the current Ford GT road car and the GTE-class race car that ran from 2016 to 2019. Multimatic is most famous as a constructor of racing cars, like the upcoming Porsche and Audi LMDh racers that will fight for overall wins at Le Mans, but it has also run full racing programs like the European Ford GT and American Mazda DPi operations. Its latest venture will be a two-car factory GT program for Ford, something like the Mustang's answer to the famous yellow-and-black factory cars of Corvette Racing.
Starting with tomorrow's Rolex 24, IMSA has replaced its long-time GTLM category with a GT3-based class called GTD Pro. Any team hoping to compete in it has to conform to a global GT3 ruleset, one that traditionally requires companies to build at least 30 total cars and offer many of those for sale to private customers. Ford will be no exception, with customer Mustang GT3s available when the car debuts with its factory operation in 2024.
Joey Hand, a Le Mans class winner as a Ford factory driver during its 2016-2019 GT program, has been signed to the program as a test driver. In addition to that role, he will continue on as an internal development driver for Ford's entire racing program. That side of the job will see him run the road course races in the NASCAR Cup Series this year.
The new Mustang racers will be powered by a variant of the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 built by M-Sport, the company that builds and races the Ford Puma in the World Rally Championship. In addition to the GT3 version, Ford also plans to build and sell a successor to its current Mustang GT4 racer, also built with Multimatic and available to customers since 2016.
While no mention was made of what Mustang this new racing car would actually represent, the two-year window before the program rolls out leaves plenty of time for Ford to debut the newest generation of a car that has been in production since 2015.
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