The Mustang Dark Horse, a brand-new body style based on the seventh-generation Mustang, is set to make its debut on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit next season, officials from Ford Performance announced on Wednesday.
In a year that has been packed with Mustang-related news in racing, the addition of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Mustang is the icing on the cake, meaning that Mustang will now be eligible to race on six different continents.
"What a crazy year it has been revealing our new global Mustangs for racing," said Mark Rushbrook of Ford Performance. "The positive response from our fans around the world has been amazing, and we're confident that this Mustang Dark Horse Cup car will be no different, and that NASCAR fans will be excited to cheer us on next year."
What started as a difficult 2023 campaign at NASCAR's top level for the manufacturer, has since flourished into one of success across multiple different organizations, with eight wins on the season between Team Penske, RFK Racing, and Front Row Motorsports.
"Our Ford Performance staff, together with our NASCAR race teams, have worked tirelessly in the wind tunnel developing this car, and I can't wait to finally see it race on the track next season," added Rushbrook.
Just over a year ago, Ford unveiled the Mustang Dark Horse, marking the first new performance nameplate for the Mustang since 2001. It is the most track-capable 5.0-liter V8 street-legal Mustang ever and has inspired the current roster of Mustang cars that started racing Supercars and Formula Drift Series.
In the coming months, Mustang Dark Horse racing variants will be eligible to compete in GT3 and GT4 classes globally, and the Dark Horse R will compete in the Mustang Challenge Series and many grassroots racing events.
"If she gallops as fast as she looks, it’s going to be a good year," said Brad Keselowski, driver and co-owner of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing after seeing the new NASCAR Cup model. "Mustang is an iconic American car made famous around the world. I think of how Mustang has evolved over the years and how NASCAR has evolved along with it and they’re just two brands that go together. I’m proud to get to drive it and proud to be able to compete for the win in this car."
Mustang has been a fixture in NASCAR since joining the second-tier Xfinity Series in 2012, where it immediately won back-to-back championships with Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Since then, Mustang has won a driver's or owner's championship in nine of the last 12 seasons in the second-tier series and captured manufacturer's titles in 2011 and 2013.
“We’re excited to debut this new Mustang Dark Horse next year. I’m pumped because Ford did an amazing job with it,” said Ryan Blaney of Team Penske. “I can’t wait for this to debut and drive it next year at the Coliseum and, hopefully, I can be the one to get the first win. That would be a cool accomplishment.”
Since coming to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2019, Mustang has won a manufacturer's championship and series-high 18 races in 2020, as well as last season's driver's championship with Joey Logano and Team Penske.
“I feel like we already have the best-looking Cup car out of the three manufacturers, but I’m definitely excited for the new body," said Chase Briscoe. "I feel like the Ford Performance team does a great job of making our car to where it can still perform on the racetrack, but also tie into that look of the street car.”
Additionally, Mustang has won several marquee events, including the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Southern 500, and Brickyard 400, and also scored the victory in the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
The NASCAR Cup Series Mustang Dark Horse will debut on Feb. 4, 2024, as part of the Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Image Credit: Ford Performance