Late last month Ford Performance revealed its latest turn-key race car based on the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse. Dubbed the Dark Horse R, it is not just a $145,000 factory racer, but its specifications are engineered for a dedicated racing series sanctioned by IMSA, and Ford Performance revealed the schedule for its inaugural five-round, 10-race season of the Mustang Challenge, which is managed by the Ford Performance Racing School.
This is our new entry-level race car, and the thing we’re doing that’s really special is introducing this new Mustang Challenge series. -Dave Born, Ford Performance
“The new Mustang Challenge series is a perfect addition to our IMSA family and we are grateful to our longtime partners at Ford for trusting us to be the sanctioning body for this spectacular new platform,” IMSA President John Doonan said when the car was revealed. “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 1 for the first time on an IMSA race weekend will bring back a flood of memories and be awe-inspiring.”
The 2024 Mustang Challenge season launches June 7-9 at Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio, and continues from June 27-30 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. In August the action picks up from August 2-4 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and closes out the month from August 31-September 1 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The series finale takes place at the home of the Ford Performance Racing School at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina, on a to-be-announced date.
“This is our new entry-level race car, and the thing we’re doing that’s really special is introducing this new Mustang Challenge series,” Dave Born, Engine and Performance Supervisor at Ford Performance, said. “So we’re gonna have a place specifically for this car to run. That’s not to say that there aren’t gonna be customers that buy it and take it to SCCA or other places, but it is specifically designed for our series.”
During every round of the IMSA-sanctioned series, participants receive two practice sessions and one qualifying session before heading into competition with two sprint races.
“Mustang Dark Horse R owners will have the opportunity to race and test their driving skills with other Mustang enthusiasts at some of the world’s most incredible tracks,” Doonan adds.