Debuting alongside the new Mustang GT is the Mustang Dark Horse, the ultimate expression of track capability and the foundation for the brand’s motorsport efforts.

Building on the athleticism, edgier design and digital experiences of the seventh-generation Mustang, the Mustang Dark Horse series delivers the most track-focussed precision of any Mustang to date.

“We’ve taken the all-new Mustang, the best of our new 5.0-litre V8 performance, and added power, improved the aero, tyres, steering and provided an interactive cockpit to create a Mustang that goes beyond any 5.0-litre Mustang before it,” Krenz said.

At the heart of this new Mustang is a higher output version of the all-new Gen IV V8 engine with new camshafts and unique Mustang Dark Horse tuning, with a dual throttle-body intake design for twice as much fresh air into the engine for maximum performance. Mustang Dark Horse comes as standard with a unique six-speed TREMEC manual transmission with 3D-printed titanium shift ball, available exclusively for this model, or Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Mustang Dark Horse comes as standard with the Performance Package enabling the brand’s “Track Sprint” capability requirements. A key enabler of this added capability includes an auxiliary engine oil cooler, transmission oil cooler (with automatic transmission) a unique and lighter weight radiator with greater heat soak rejection, plus more powerful cooling fans to improve endurance and recovery, and rear axle cooler. A standard Torsen limited-slip differential maximises the available traction for improved acceleration and cornering balance.

This package also includes unique chassis tuning, larger rear anti-roll bars and heavy-duty front dampers, 19-inch Brembo front fixed-piston brakes with larger rotors, strut tower brace, rear K?brace, staggered fitting wheels (19 x 9-inch front and 19 x 9.5-inch rear wheels), plus Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires. MagneRide® 3 active suspension comes as standard for optimised performance in road and track conditions.

An electronic drift brake 2 brings new technology to the racetrack, unlocking the rear-wheel drive drifting capability of Mustang with the visual appeal and functionality of a traditional, mechanical handbrake. The Performance Electronic Parking Brake is engineered for both novice drivers to learn and improve their drift skills and providing expert drivers with a competition-ready system.

Mustang Dark Horse also features visual upgrades designed to reflect its position as the pinnacle of the seventh-generation and increase track capability.

“It’s more than a new name. Mustang Dark Horse brings a new design language to Mustang that is refined yet perfectly suited to its dual purpose of street and track performance,” said Joel Piaskowski, global director, Ford Design. “The visual changes, both inside and out, message that Mustang Dark Horse has a directed performance focus. The mechanical changes reinforce the purpose of Mustang Dark Horse, providing the driver with increased confidence and competence.”

At the front, a bold shadow graphic surrounds the darkened LED headlamps, which compliments a unique gloss black grille with trapezoidal nostrils and redesigned lower front bumper with high gloss “fangs”. Lower side skirts and a fixed rear wing, unique race-inspired diffuser and darkened quad exhaust tips demonstrate the car’s track-focused design cues.

Traditional Mustang badges are replaced with a new Mustang Dark Horse logo on the front wheel arches, tailgate and door sills, while a Dark Tarnish anodised version of the famous pony stays on the front. Inside, unique Mustang Dark Horse badging replaces the standard Mustang pony logo on the instrument panel and digital display screens, and each car features an individual chassis number.

“This is the first time for Mustang that we’ve ever had a forward-facing horse,” Piaskowski said. “It’s aggressive, a bit sinister and it’s coming from the shadows head-on to win.”

Unique to Mustang Dark Horse is Blue Ember metallic paint – a cool, dark shade that emits a warm glow when it catches the light, setting the tone for the car’s overall purposeful look. A choice of applied or painted feature graphics along the roof and down the hood are also available in a variety of colours and styles. The optional Appearance Package includes dark Notorious Blue Brembo brake callipers with a brighter Grabber Blue logo.

Inside a thicker, flat-bottomed steering wheel incorporates anodised silver paddle shifters and a dedicated drive mode button at thumb’s reach, finished with unique Indigo Blue accent stitching against a performance suede inner lining. This sits in front of a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster with customisable screens and Drive Mode-dependent clusters.

Contrasting blue stitching across the door panels and seats, gear shift gaiter and centre console lifts the ambience of the cabin, enhanced further by unique blue seatbelts. The Mustang Dark Horse Appearance Pack adds Deep Indigo Blue seats with a unique seat perforation, emitting further hints of blue below the surface.

Interior trim, bezels and vents are finished in Black Alley – a dark metallic gloss replacing the familiar bright silver shades of other Mustang trim levels. At the centre of the Mustang Dark Horse cockpit on cars fitted with the six-speed TREMEC manual transmission is an anodised blue titanium gear shifter, cored out to prevent it from retaining heat.

Mustang Dark Horse also comes with the latest B&O 7 sound system, providing crisp audio through 12 speakers and a subwoofer.