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Ford's most extreme Mustang ever throws carbon gauntlet at Europe

Jul 17, 2023

A GT3 race car ready to break off the circuit and onto the street, the all-new Mustang GTD is the "most advanced, audacious Mustang ever," according to the folks that built it. The absolutely hellacious new coupe features a full carbon fiber makeover, active aerodynamics bumper to bumper, a first-of-its-kind adaptive street/track suspension, and a supercharged V8 that powers the rear wheels via a carbon fiber driveshaft. If you think it looks furious standing still, just wait until it's angling in on a sub-7 spin around the Nürburgring.

Started in 2021 as something of an after-hours skunkworks project deep inside a Ford storage garage, the Mustang GTD found life as a simply stated but not so simply accomplished objective: Create a Mustang to rival the best European sports cars.

From there, the small group of hand-selected moonlighters teamed with Canadian supplier Multimatic in breaking the street-legal Mustang down to a basic silhouette, redesigning virtually every major panel and component, and building it back up alongside the Mustang GT3 car with which it shares inspiration and hardware. The GT3 will go on to race Le Mans next year, while the GTD will "go faster around a track with more technology than the race cars it’s based on."

The GTD's body tells a large piece of the story without needing as much as a word – headlamps with the sharp focus of a laser, aero body bits bulging out from every corner, and a rear wing that looks revived from an aircraft graveyard. Down below that high-flying trailing edge, what would usually be a trunk is now the semi-active suspension system, hydraulic rear wing control components and transaxle cooling hardware, covered by a race-inspired lid with functional air scoops that funnel wind coming off the rear glass.

Other standard and available aerodynamic components include a front splitter, vented fenders, rear diffuser, underbody aero tray, and side sills all crafted from carbon fiber to save weight. Ford even adds in some active components that would be illegal in racing, including the hydraulically controlled front flaps.

The scooped hood and roof are also made from carbon fiber, helping to keep overall weight low and centered near the ground. A carbon fiber driveshaft ensures that weight is evened out around a 50:50 front/rear distribution while sending power from the front-mounted 5.2-liter supercharged V8 to the rear wheels through an eight-speed double-clutch rear transaxle. When fueled up with premium, that V8 puts out up to 800 hp and has Ford targeting the type of sub-7-second Nürburgring time usually reserved for specially tuned performers from well-known European badges like Mercedes, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Ford does some special tuning of its own to ensure the Mustang can finesse through the Nordschleife's unforgiving bends, adding the first-ever dry-sump engine oil system for a road-going Mustang to keep things lubricated through demanding corners. The semi-active suspension system that Ford calls a first of its kind switches between two spring rates and ride heights (road and track) using Multimatic's adaptive spool valve damping system. Track mode enables a height drop of nearly 1.6 in (40 mm).

The driver can manage traction control via Ford's first Variable Traction Control system, available in track mode. The system lets the pilot modulate engine output and traction control input via steering wheel-mounted controls, matching settings to their driving ability and track conditions.

All fun needs to end at some point, and the GTD's gets put to a stop via Brembo carbon-ceramic discs grinding the 20-in forged magnesium wheels to standstill. Specially developed ducts below the rear suspension help to cool the rear discs.

"Mustang GTD shatters every preconceived notion of a supercar," promises Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. "We didn’t engineer a road car for the track; we created a race car for the road. Mustang GTD takes racing technology from our Mustang GT3 race car, wraps it in a carbon fiber Mustang body and unleashes it for the street."

Really feeling the new reveal, Farley added: "We’re throwing down the gauntlet. I’ll take track time in a Mustang GTD against any other auto boss in their best road car."

Farley will be taking the wheel inside a driver-optimized interior with a hand-selected grouping of high-performance parts. The two track-ready front seats come from Recaro, while the available titanium paddle shifters, rotary dial and serial plate are 3D printed from titanium recycled from retired Lockheed Martin F-22 parts. The rear seats have been pulled out to cut weight and make up for the lack of a trunk.

Ford plans to launch the 2025 Mustang GTD in late 2024/early 2025. Each model will start around US$300,000, and we'll bet the average price will push well north of there given the number of options that seem like must-haves, including the body kit, hydraulic controlled wing and front flaps, and titanium exhaust. Each model will be built at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant before being shipped over to Multimatic's Markham, Canada facility, where it will be completed and hand-tuned for race-inspired performance by a team of Ford Performance and Multimatic pros.

Watch some dramatized Mustang GTD action below.

Source: Ford