Ford Motor Company surprised and delighted enthusiasts with the revelation that its homologation effort for the Mustang GT3 road racing program would yield a street-going stallion too radical for racing rulebooks — the Ford Mustang GTD. Part of what pushes the car’s performance over that edge is an aggressive aerodynamics package that includes a Drag Reduction System, which adjusts to driving conditions to improve airflow over the vehicle surface.
“Every surface, body opening, and vent on and under Mustang GTD’s body is functional,” says Greg Goodall, Mustang GTD chief program engineer. “Some air is directed for cooling, other for aerodynamics and downforce. All of it to help GTD go faster or stick to the pavement no matter what the conditions are.”
Balancing slippery lines with sufficient downforce for traction is an age-old struggle in the road racing ranks, but this forthcoming super stallion benefits from computer simulations that carved its sleek shape and onboard computing power that adjusts the angle of its rear wing and actuates underhood flaps to move air where it is needed to deliver slip through the air or grip to the pavement.
To lap the famed Nurburgring track in under 7 seconds, the Mustang GTD’s wing utilizes a flap to create a downforce-enhancing airfoil, while its keel-shaped underbody panels vent air through the fender louvers in the front wheel wheels to lower pressure and suck the car to the road surface in a turn.
“We actively manage where the center of air pressure is on the vehicle, so the front and rear can remain balanced,” says Goodall. “The ability to do this isn’t allowed in racing, where the rules don’t allow actively managing airflow.”
Further maximizing its aerodynamics is an adjustable suspension that can lower the body by as much as 40mm on the track, but return to real-world heights to overcome street obstacles, such as speed bumps.
Mustang GTD is still undergoing testing inside Ford’s powerful computing simulators and on tracks across the globe, ranging from Road Atlanta to Spa in Belgium. When it arrives in 2025, the performance of this all-new halo Mustang should rival some of Europe’s finest corner-carving machines.