When it comes to racing, the Ford Mustang has an impressive track record (no pun intended). Classic models like the original Shelby GT350R and Boss 302 became legends in the 1960s, and the current Shelby GT350R-C just pulled off a class championship in the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
To keep the momentum going, Ford unveiled a new Mustang race car at the 2016 SEMA show in Las Vegas. It’s called the Mustang GT4, and it’s designed for a relatively new category of entry-level professional racing that’s already popular in Europe, and is making waves in the United States too.
The GT4 is based on the championship-winning Shelby GT350R-C. Like the Shelby, it’s a modified version of a stock Mustang rather than a purpose-built car. GT4 rules don’t allow major changes to bodywork, so it even looks pretty much like a regular Mustang. The GT4 is powered by a version of the 5.2-liter V8 used in the Shelby GT350R road car, which won the Performance category at Digital Trends’ 2016 Car Awards.
Changes for racing include a six-speed Holinger paddle-shift transmission, upgraded suspension, slick tires mounted to special 18-inch wheels, and the addition of a large rear wing spoiler and diffuser, front splitter, and extra hood venting. The interior was gutted to save weight and make room for a roll cage. The GT4 also features a race-spec engine controller and anti-lock braking system.
The GT4 class this Mustang was built to race in is essentially a lower-level complement to the FIA-sanctioned GT3 class that’s attracted manufacturers from Cadillac to Lamborghini. GT4 cars aren’t as extensively modified, and are generally based on lower-performance models, like the KTM X-Bow, Lotus Evora, and Ginetta G55.
The Mustang GT4 will likely replace the Shelby GT350R-C in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge next year. It will also be eligible for the Pirelli World Challenge, where several teams currently race older versions of the Mustang alongside a smattering of GT4-class cars. Ford expects the GT4 classification to the door to some European race series as well.
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