The new Ford Mustang GTD is a carbonfibre-bodied, aerodynamically optimised, track-ready “technological tour de force” that takes the crown as the firm's most powerful road car yet.
On show at the Los Angeles motor show ahead of production beginning in the coming months, it will be built in limited numbers from late next year and priced from around $300,000 (£234,000) in the US.
Autocar understands the UK will receive an allocation, but numbers and pricing remain to be confirmed at this stage.
The GTD is said to have been conceived “after hours” by “a handful” of engineers in an anonymous storage garage at Ford’s Michigan headquarters, with the aim of creating “a Mustang to take on the best of European sports cars”.
Ford is targeting a sub-seven-minute lap time at the Nürburgring, a feat that would put the GTD on a par with European supercars including the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said: “[The] Mustang GTD shatters every preconceived notion of a supercar. This is a new approach for us. We didn’t engineer a road car for the track, we created a race car for the road.
“This is our company. We’re throwing down the gauntlet and saying ‘come and get it’. We’re comfortable putting everybody else on notice. I’ll take track time in a Mustang GTD against any other auto boss in their best road car.”
Designed and engineered in partnership with motorsport outfit Multimatic, which built the Ford GT supercar, the new arrival is effectively a road-legal reworking of the Mustang GT3 that will race at Le Mans next year.
It has been named for the IMSA Sportscar Championship's GTD classification, for cars built to the FIA's GT3 specifications.
A targeted output of more than 800bhp from the supercharged V8 makes the GTD the most powerful Mustang yet created, outpunching even 2019’s snarling 700bhp Shelby GT500. It's even more powerful than the £1.4 million, track-only Ford GT MK IV revealed last year.
The bespoke 5.2-litre engine is larger than that fitted to the standard road-going Mustang and packs a suite of motorsport-derived modifications – including dry sump lubrication, dual air inlets and a titanium active-valve exhaust system (which generates “exceptional notes”) – in pursuit of Lamborghini-aping performance figures.
Drive is taken directly from the back of the engine to a rear transaxle gearbox by a carbonfibre propshaft. The material reduces weight overall, but also reflects the fact that because it’s taking the drive directly from the engine rather than a gearbox, it spins at engine speeds of over 7500rpm.
So too is the chassis radically different to that of the standard Mustang. Up front, the GTD's suspension set-up is a sophisticated take on the classic unequal-length double-wishbone design, with a single triangular wishbone at the top and two individual links at the bottom. The two front coilover suspension units also incorporate Multimatic’s Adaptive Spool Valve (ASV) damper technology, which can select from an array of damper settings on the fly in milliseconds under software control.
The coilovers have two coil springs each rather than the usual single spring. One is softer than the other, and for track mode, completely compressing it with a hydraulic mechanism increases the spring rate by leaving only the single, stiffer spring in play. Doing so also reduces the ride height by 40mm compared with the road setting.
The steering is rack and pinion and a hefty anti-roll bar runs across the front of the V8.
The eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and rear suspension are mounted on a tubular steel frame in an altogether more race-like set-up, with horizontal in-board coilover units hooked up to the rear, integral-link double-wishbone suspension by pushrods and rocker arms. Like the front coilover units, the rears are based on ASV technology and are linked to the front. They are also fitted with two coil springs each.
Thanks to the rear-mounted transaxle, weight distribution is 50% front, 50% rear and there’s a variable traction control system the driver can adjust without moving their hands from the wheel.
The GTD has a track that's nearly 100mm wider than that of the standard Mustang, which together with massive 325mm-wide front tyres (wider than the rear tyres of the GT) boosts grip and cornering stability substantially.
Stopping power is from Brembo brakes with carbon-ceramic discs all round – engineered to resist fade under repeated loads – and the rears are cooled by ducted air.
Buyers are offered a choice of 20in forged aluminium wheels or optional magnesium items modelled on those worn by the GT3 racer.
The aero package is obviously lifted nearly wholesale from the GT3 racer, with a massive hydraulically adjustable rear wing, a vented bonnet, chunky air scoops, a beefy front splitter and a wind-cheating rear diffuser boosting downforce at speed and stability through bends.
Inside, the GTD is closer to the standard Mustang than the race car, retaining digital displays and the standard infotainment system with over-the-air software-update functionality.
Notably, though, the rear seats have been removed in the name of weight-shaving, the front seats are swapped for track-ready Recaro buckets and the rotary dial, build plaque and paddle shifters are all 3D-printed using titanium recovered from retired F22 fighter jets.
Ford hasn't given a weight figure for the GTD, but the carbon body panels and stringent lightweight methods mean it's likely to tip the scales at substantially less than the 1768kg Mustang Dark Horse.
Additional reporting by Jesse Crosse