Ford Performance unveiled its newest pony car, the Mustang GT4 race car, at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show November 1. The new GT4 car is based on the Shelby GT350R-C, which won the 2016 championship in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s GS class with drivers Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell at the wheel. The new Mustang GT4 will feature a six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shifters for the first time paired with the dual-overhead cam (DOHC) 5.2-liter V8 from the GT350R-C.
The new Mustang will be eligible for competition in classes that use GT4 homologation, as outlined by the FIA and Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO). In the United States, that will include two series for 2017: IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in the GS class and Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS class. It also opens up the potential for the Mustang GT4 to compete internationally in series that include the GT4 European Championship, VLN races at the Nurburgring, the Hankook 24H Series, British GT Championship, and more.
Ford told Roadkill that the Mustang GT4 is not homologated as of its reveal, but that it will be soon. “We’re not worried,” the Ford rep said. The FIA/SRO GT4 tests (see below for more) will be held in February 2017 to homologate the Mustang GT4 for international competition.
The 2017 Ford Mustang GT4 has received a number of updates from Multimatic Motorsports, who built the Shelby GT350R-C and the Ford GTs that won the 24 Hours of Le mans. These new parts include more aggressive aerodynamic design and upgraded suspension components that include dampers, lower rear control arms, and stabilizer bars.
This isn’t the first Mustang to receive GT4 homologation; Dutch racing team Racing Team Holland homologated a version of the Mustang FR500C for GT4 competition in 2009. However, Team Holland only had two of the original FR500C’s modified to meet the requirements of GT4.
So does the Mustang GT4 look fun? Billy Johnson, the current Conti SportsCar Challenge co-champion, says it’s “crazy fast.” That’s good enough for us.
The “GT4” specification denotes a competition specification for sports cars, as noted by the Stephane Ratel Organization (SRO). Rather than meeting specific performance targets like horsepower or weight, parity in GT4 is measured in a testing environment by a control driver with a target lap time. Based on the outcomes, adjustments are made with regard to power, weight, and other items. These cars include race versions based on mass-produced sports cars like the Mustang and Porsche Cayman as well as niche sports cars like the KTM X-Bow.
Generally speaking, GT4 is a specification used by some other sports car sanctioning bodies. In the United States, that includes the GS class of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and GTS class of Pirelli World Challenge. The Nurburgring endurance series VLN also uses GT4-spec cars in its SP10 class and the Hankook 24H Series includes GT4-spec cars in its SP3 class. To confuse things further, GT4 is also a class name in some places (British GT Championship) and its own series (GT4 European Series).