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Dark Horse S and R: New Mustang brand for racing cars

With the Dark Horse models, Ford is launching particularly sporty versions of the new Mustang. Now the manufacturer has announced the price.

Ford presented the seventh generation of the Mustang in a big show in Detroit - right outside the gates of the GM headquarters there. When many guests had already believed that the show was over, a dark car drove onto the stage. A very dark one - the interior could not be fathomed from the outside. That car was the Mustang Dark Horse. Its V8 Coyote engine delivers 507 hp, which corresponds to the 500 hp desired by US fans. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with a 3D-printed titanium button on the gear selector. This titanium ball is hollow so it doesn't heat up as much on hot days. A ten-speed automatic is optional. Ford is launching an S and an R variant of the vehicle.

The interior of the Mustang Dark Horse is kept dark, the designers have placed a few indigo colored accents here and there. The titanium gear knob also shimmers in deep blue. If the Dark Horse is equipped with a ten-speed automatic, there are silver-colored anodized shift paddles on the steering wheel. The valance is flattened at the bottom and covered with suede specially reserved for the Dark Horse variants. This suede also covers the handle of the electronic parking brake, which also serves as a drift lever. The seats and all panels are stitched with indigo thread.

Dashboard badge with chassis number

An optional appearance package is available for the Dark Horse models. This includes, among other things, Recaro performance seats with microfiber covers in a suede look. The seats and seat belts are then also colored indigo blue. The designers have replaced the standard silver-colored applications of the other Mustang models with black metallic elements on the Dark Horse versions. There are covers with a carbon fiber look for the instrument panel and the door panels. In addition, a Dark Horse lettering and the respective chassis number are attached to the passenger side of the dashboard.

Blue Ember Metallic can come on the Dark Horse Mustang as a special paint color. Ember means embers and so the color is a mixture of dark blue and amber tones. Ford also offers two stripe finishes as an option. There are also vinyl graphics for the hood—one standard and one included with the add-on Appearance Package. Coming to the starting line with a clear track focus, the Dark Horse is equipped with an FIA-certified safety cage, safety nets, racing seats, a detachable racing wheel, electrical isolators and a fire suppression system.

Many additional coolers

The high performance of the Dark Horse requires a whole range of additional coolers. There is an additional engine oil cooler, with the automatic variant a transmission oil cooler, a particularly light additional cooler with high heat dissipation and a rear axle cooler. For better acceleration and equally better cornering balance, Ford equips the Dark Horse models with a Torsen limited-slip differential as standard.

Street legal and street legal

The Mustang Dark Horse S is street legal and is intended for track days, while the Dark Horse R is supposed to shine in drag races and doesn't have to be street legal. Accordingly, both Dark Horse models are designed for good racetrack handling, with the respective magnetic chassis being individually adjustable. Compared to the GT, larger dampers work at the front, and stronger stabilizers are mounted at the rear. A spring strut brace at the front and a K-shaped brace at the rear provide additional rigidity. The standard Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires are mounted on rims measuring 19 x 9 inches and 19 x 9.5 inches at the rear.

Race track aerodynamics

The dark performance models also differ visually from their model siblings. They have a conspicuous splitter at the bottom of the front and their headlights are darkened. Dark Horse logos are emblazoned on the front fenders, depicting a forward-facing horse. At the rear, the most striking feature is the large rear wing, which is significantly larger than the wing included in the optional performance package. At the bottom at the rear, a model-specific diffuser reduces air turbulence. For further differentiation, the Blue Ember paint job is only available for the Dark Horse. The designers set accents, for example, with individual lettering: Dark Horse is written in black letters on the right-hand side of the bonnet on the model shown at the premiere in Detroit.


Most expensive Mustang variant to date

In the USA, the base price is 57,970 dollars (currently the equivalent of around 54,700 euros). For comparison: The basic coupé with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbo starts at $30,920 (almost 29,200 euros), the Mustang GT with a slightly weaker V8 has a value of at least $41,495 (a good 39,000 euros) on the price tag. The Dark Horse's 700A trim package costs $2,595. For carbon rims, 8,495 dollars (a good 8,000 euros) have to be paid extra. Other options include the Appearance Package ($1,250/€1,180), Handling Package ($4,500/€4,250), Recaro seats ($1,650/€1,560) and the 10-speed automatic ($1,595/€1,505).

The Mustang Dark Horse R and S are not limited in terms of quantities - anyone who wants one gets one.Ford builds the 2024 model year Mustang at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, USA. The models will go on sale in the USA from summer 2023 – a date for the market launch in Europe and a price for Germany are not yet known. On the German market, however, the equipment is often different and the models and surcharges are more expensive, which is why the US prices serve as a guide at best.


Inspired by its GT3 models, Ford is launching the new Mustang as a variant for track days (Dark Horse S) and drag races (Dark Horse R). The performance of the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 increases to 507 hp in these racers, which requires a large number of additional coolers. In addition, the chassis and steering are tailored to the requirements of the racetrack and the interior is designed for safety with a roll cage and fire extinguisher system.

With Dark Horse, Ford is introducing a new performance brand. The Dark Horse models should establish themselves in popular motorsport. They should not remain the most powerful and agile Mustang models - after all, there is certainly a successor to the Mach 1 and also new Shelby models. There are already first indications that Ford will introduce a new Shelby GT500 in 2025, which will then be launched in 2026.


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