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The Ford Mustang Pony is Galloping Back into Motorsport

If you’re a fan of American muscle cars and racing, then there’s one name that stands out above the rest: the Ford Mustang.

For over 50 years, the Mustang has been tearing up tracks around the world, with its distinctive design and powerful performance capturing the hearts and minds of enthusiasts everywhere.

From its early days in Trans-Am racing to its current success in NASCAR, the Mustang has become a true icon of motorsport, a symbol of speed and power.

ford mustang on a race track

With the Mustang again galloping back into the world of racing, fans and drivers alike eagerly anticipate the next chapter in this legendary car’s history.

So let’s take a deep dive into the history of the Mustang in motorsport, explore some of its most iconic racing cars and take a glimpse into what the future holds for this high-performance machine on the track.

 

What is the history of the Mustang?

The First Mustang

The first Ford Mustang was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964, at the New York World’s Fair. It was a two-door sports car with a long hood, short trunk, and a distinctive grille that featured a running horse emblem.

The Mustang was available with a range of engine options, including a 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine and a range of V8 engines and was offered in both coupe and convertible body styles. The Mustang’s combination of sporty styling and powerful performance made it an instant hit with consumers, and it quickly became one of the most popular cars of the 1960s.

the first ford mustang in the 1960s

The Ford Mustang has a long and storied history in the world of motorsport, dating all the way back to the 1960s.

In 1965, the Mustang made its mark in class B Production racing by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), quickly establishing itself as a serious contender. Ken Miles and Jerry Titus drove it to numerous race wins and the SCCA B-Production 1965, 1966 and 1967 championships.

But the Mustang’s success wasn’t limited to the US – it also made a name for itself on the international stage. In 1964, a Mustang entered the Tour de France Automobile – Touring Car category, competing against the five-time champion, Jaguar. And against all odds, the Mustang emerged victorious–taking home the first and second spot–solidifying its status as a true racing legend.

In Australia, the Mustang found success in the fiercely competitive Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), where it quickly became a fan favourite. With its powerful engine and sleek lines, the Mustang was a formidable opponent on the track, helping Norm Beechey secure his first ATCC championship in 1965.

norm beechey's ford mustang from the 1965 ATCC championship

The Mustang went on to win numerous races and championships, including NASCAR, solidifying its place in the history of motorsport. As we’ll see in the next section, some of the most iconic Mustang racing cars emerged from this period of dominance.

 

Most iconic Mustang Racing cars

When it comes to iconic Mustang racing cars, numerous models come to mind. However, we’ve narrowed it down to three of the most legendary and awe-inspiring machines that have left an indelible mark on the racing world.

Shelby GT350R Mustang

Few can match the legacy of the Shelby GT350R models. Developed by the celebrated race car driver and designer Carroll Shelby, the GT350R was a high-performance variant of the classic Mustang that quickly made a name for itself on the track.

It was not only the first ever Shelby R-Model competition car built but also a dominant force in the SCCA B-Production season for three years. In 1965, it claimed over ten first-place finishes and helped Ken Miles win the championship title.

Later that year, the car also helped Jerry Titus win the 1965 B-Production National Championship, cementing its place in racing history. The Mustang also went on to win five out of six regional SCCA championships.

The 1966 SCCA Southwest Division and 1967 B-Production class championships were also secured driving a Shelby GT350R Mustang.

Charlie Kemp’s 32 race wins from 1968 to 1970 are also attributed to the GT350R model.

early Shelby GT350R ford mustang model from 1960s

Moffat’s Coca-Cola Mustang

Instantly recognisable with its distinctive red and white livery, this Boss 302 car was modified to meet the specifications of the Australian Touring Car Championship. It was powered by a 351 cubic inch V8 engine that produced around 600 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful cars on the track at the time.

But it wasn’t just the car’s appearance that made it successful. Moffat was an incredibly talented driver, and he was able to extract every bit of performance from the Boss 302. Over the course of his career, he won an incredible 101 of his 151 races in this car, making it one of the most successful Mustangs in racing history.

moffat's coca cola mustang boss 302 car

1997 Trans Am Mustang

Meanwhile, back in the States, the 1997 Trans Am Mustang, also known as the Mustang Cobra, was nothing short of legendary. It not only dominated the series but also made history for Ford. With its sleek design and powerful engine, the Mustang Cobra was a true racing machine that left its competitors in the dust.

The car boasted a 310-cubic inch V8 pushrod motor in a cast-iron block with aluminium cylinder heads. It produced an impressive 650- horsepower at 8,200 rpm, making it one of the most powerful cars on the track.

The Mustang Cobra proved its dominance by sweeping the entire competition, with Tommy Kendall and Paul Borkowski piloting the pony to victory.

1997 trans am mustang on the race track

 

The High-Performance Future

Looking towards the future, the Blue Oval is showing no signs of slowing down in high-performance racing. This year, the brand will compete in the upcoming Australian Supercars series and NHRA drag racing events, showcasing the car’s incredible speed, power, and performance in various racing contexts.

But the Mustang’s racing ambitions don’t stop there. The company has announced plans to compete in several major racing events in 2024, including the 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans (after a 27-year absence) and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

There’s also another pony at the forefront of GT4 racing efforts. With the Mustang brand’s long and storied history of racing success, there’s no doubt that the GT4 and other upcoming Mustang racing cars will continue to push the limits of speed, power and performance for years to come.

new high performance gen3 ford mustang

 

Experience the thrill of Mustangs on the track first-hand

Take your chance to hit the track in one of these iconic racing machines and discover why these cars have become such an iconic part of the motorsports world.

Whether you’re a seasoned racing enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of motorsports, our Mustang drive experiences are designed to give you a first-hand taste of what these incredible cars are capable of. 

And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the car enthusiast in your life, consider purchasing a gift card. With a range of options and packages available, you can give the gift of speed, power, and performance and help someone special make memories that will last a lifetime.

drive a ford mustang at fastrack experiences
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