The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was unveiled today alongside the new EcoBoost and GT models. Available with optional carbon fiber rims and Pirelli Trofeo RS tires, it’s pretty clear that this is a serious track tool that pickup up where the Mustang Mach 1 left off.
Ford has always been serious about selling Mustang track cars. However, their efforts have been quite intense in the S550 era, which witnessed the amazing GT350, the Bullitt and Mach 1. But the 2024 Mustang Dark Horse is the first of its name, and it must be amazing, considering Ford didn’t use any of those famous nameplates to sell more cars.
While the Dark Horse doesn’t have the Shelby name, it has one Shelby feature, and that’s the lightweight carbon-fiber wheels. And while the exotic 5.2-liter of the GT350 is impossible to match, what we have here is the most powerful Coyote V8 ever with 500 hp, which is at least 20-30 hp more than a standard GT.
The Dark Horse V8 is special. It keeps the dual air intakes and throttle bodies from the normal 2024 Coyote but adds forged internals and connecting rods from the beastly Shelby GT500. The 500 hp is just an early estimate, and Ford could revise these numbers (upwards) over the next year.
Paired to the Coyote is maybe the best gearbox you can put on an American car, a Tremec 6-speed, as opposed to the regular GT’s Getrag gearbox. However, you can still get a 10-speed automatic, and the power is shuffled between the wheels by a Torsen limited-slip diff (available on GT as an option).
Dark Horse, the subtle menace
For many years, “dark horse” was used as a metaphor for a car with surprisingly good performance in a race. The Mustang Dark Horse plays into that by being a true sleeper in the design department. Here is how to tell it apart from the GT:
- The upper grille has openings on the sides
- The grille frame is black all the way to the headlights
- Tinted head and taillights
- The lower grille is one long unit, similar to the Shelby models
- Blue Ember Metallic paint is specific to Dark Horse
- The badges show a literal horse’s head
There are also differences that are more nuanced. For example, the rear wing is similar to the GT, and most people won’t notice the diffuser. Every Dark Horse will have the GT’s optional MagneRide suspension and 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires, while the optional Handling pack will slap on some Pirelli P Zero Trofeo RS rubber, along with stiffer springs and thicker sway bars.
The interior is mostly the same as the regular Mustang GT with the exception of the Deep Indigo Blue upholstery that is specific to this model. That means you’ll still get dual screens and the electronic drift brake developed in collaboration with Vaughn Gittin Jr. Expect a base price of more than $60,000 when this Mach 1 successor goes on sale next year.