2017 Ford Mustang GT4
The sixth-gen pony goes racing in the FIA GT4 classby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 08:21
Unveiled in late 2013, the sixth-generation Mustang arrived just in time for the nameplate’s 50th anniversary celebration. Redesigned inside and out, the new Mustang kept some of the retro cues of the previous model, but gained an overall sportier design and a more compact appearance. More importantly, it became the first ever Mustang to use an independent rear suspension and the first ’Stang in decades to have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Not only a legendary pony car, the Mustang is also an iconic racer. The legacy began with the Shelby GT350R built for the SCCA in the late 1960s and continued with the Trans-Am Boss 302 in the 1970s. The previous-generation brought the FR500 and Boss 302R, which have won several races and championships, while the sixth-gen model spawned the GT350R-C, a championship-winning car after only a few months on the race track. At the 2016 SEMA Show, Ford unveiled the second race car based on the current Mustang. It’s dubbed GT4 and was specifically developed for the FIA GT4 class.
Based on the Shelby GT350R-C that won its class this year in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Mustang GT4 is eligible for the Grand Sport class of IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Pirelli World Challenge GTS, and European GT4, among other racing series’. The race car will be made available for the 2017 season and will compete against GT4-spec version sof the Aston Martin Vantage, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro, KTM X-Bow, Porsche Cayman, and McLaren 570S.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Mustang GT4.
Although heavily based on the Shelby GT350R-C, the GT4 car comes with a few extra aerodynamic features and a slightly more aggressive appearance. Up front, the grille and bumper are identical to the IMSA vehicles in just about every detail, but the GT4 body kit includes additional aero fins at each corner. The hood is also different, sporting large vents and quick-release pins. The racing coupe also rides on different wheels compared to the IMSA car, using a set of Forgeline 18- by 11-inch rims wrapped in slick tires. Around back, there’s a revised diffuser but more importantly, a larger wing for improved aerodynamics and downforce. The presentation model is finished in dark-gray with white and blue accents, as well as "Ford" and "Performance Parts" logos.
Note: Standard Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang interior shown here.
Also based on the Shelby GT350, the interior was prepared for racing by means of a full FIA-compliant roll cage, a Sparco driver seat, a revised steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, a new digital display, and lightweight door panels. The car also features motorsports engine control, an antilock-braking controller, and a Motec dash logger.
Note: Standard Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang drivetrain shown here.
Much like the standard Shelby GT350 and the IMSA race car, the GT4-spec Mustang also uses the naturally aspirated, 5.2-liter V-8 engine. It is Ford’s first-ever production V-8 with a flat-plane crankshaft and the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the Blue Oval has built as of 2016. The latter statement is, of course, aapplicable for the road-going GT350, which comes with 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The GT4 car might get less than that, but it all depends on the unspecified curb weight of vehicle. The race car also received a six-speed Holinger transmission with paddle shifters and chassis modifications from Multimatic Motorsports. New gear includes dampers, lower rear control arms, and stabilizer bars.
Pricing information is not yet available, but expect the GT4 race car to fetch more than the standard Shelby GT350R. Look for a sticker in excess of $100,000.
|Ford Mustang V6||$23,800|
|Ford Mustang EcoBoost||$25,300|
|Ford Mustang GT||$32,300|
|Ford Mustang Shelby GT350||$49,995|
|Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R||$63,495|
|Ford Mustang GT4||$100,000+ est|
Depending on the series, the Mustang will face competition from numerous GT4-spec race cars wearing Aston Martin, BMW, Chevrolet, Mazda, and Nissan badges. In the European GT4 series, it will compete against the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Launched for the 2016 season, the Clubsport is relatively new to the series and much like other GT4 vehicles, it is heavily based on a road-going model, in this case the Cayman GT4. More importantly, it is Porsche’s first modern, factory-built race car below the 911. Although its exterior and engine are almost identical to the road car, the Clubsport comes with a race-spec cockpit and a bespoke dual-clutch transmission, as well as a suspension system borrowed from the popular and successful 911 GT3 Cup. U.S. pricing starts from $165,000, while European customers can buy it for €111,000 (not including VAT).
Learn more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport here.
Launched shortly after the previous-generation Z/28 arrived in dealerships, the Z/28.R has already completed three seasons in the Pirelli World Challenge and other series as of 2016, making it one of the Mustang’s most experienced competitor. The race-prepped coupe clinched the championship in 2014 ahead of the Porsche Cayman S and Kia Optima, but lost the 2015 title to the Mustang Boss 302 S, finishing fourth in the rankings. The 2016 season brought better results, but Chevy once again lost the championship, this time to KTM and its X-Bow GT4.
Find out more about the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R here.
The newest vehicle to join the GT4 class, the 570S ran its inaugural, testing season in 2016 and will be sold to customers for the 2017 season. A more aggressive and aerodynamic interpretation of the standard model, the 570S GT4 uses the same carbon-fiber tub and twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 as the road-going model (although output figures aren’t identical). It also has a race-spec suspension system with two-way adjustable dampers, coilover springs, and an on-board air jacking system. Pricing starts from £159,900, which converts to around $196,800 as of November 2016.
Read more about the McLaren 570S GT4 here.
Although the Boss 302 model based on the previous-generation Mustang was still competitive in 2016, it was getting a bit long in the tooth and a revised version was mandatory in order for Ford to keep its customers. The new GT4 not only comes with better aerodynamics and a lighter platform, but also enables the Blue Oval to expand its customer base with a more modern race car. It’s definitely too early to conclude whether it will score better results, but it should enable Ford to face the stiffer competition with so many new vehicles on the starting grid for 2017.