Courtesy of Ford
April 9, 2004
Photos By: Jeff Bartlett, Brendan Lopez

The muscular Ford Mustang GT-R rekindles the legend's road racing glory and the magic of 5.0-liter Mustangs in a racing concept making its world debut April 7, 2004. The Mustang GT-R signals a potential future race car, while honoring four decades of performance glory just days before Mustang's 40th anniversary.

"The Mustang GT-R blends today's breathtaking design, Ford Racing's unmatched history and the most advanced racing technology into the ultimate Mustang," says J Mays, Ford group vice president, design. "Mustang's iconic image grew with every checkered flag so we think the Mustang GT-R is an appropriate tribute to the car's 40th anniversary, and a hint at what's to come."

The bright Valencia Orange car - inspired by the famous Grabber Orange 1970 Mustang Boss 302 Trans-Am race cars (the Yellow Mustangs) piloted by race legends, including Parnelli Jones - is a technological showcase that, when peeled back, reveals a number of existing or production-feasible racing parts.

"The Mustang GT-R shows that Ford is back in road racing in a serious way," says Jim O'Connor, Ford group vice president, North America marketing, sales and service.

The Mustang GT-R features Ford Racing's 440-horsepower "Cammer" crate engine that already is affordably available to grassroots racers, and can be tuned to produce more than 500 horsepower under certain race series rules. Last year, a tuned 505-horsepower version of the "Cammer" notched world-class performance and endurance credentials by powering a Focus Daytona Prototype to victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona race.

The racecar is engineered to tackle the world's toughest road and street courses with a stiff structure - based on the all-new 2005 Mustang scheduled for sale this fall - a collection of the most sophisticated racing parts from many racing series and a Formula One-inspired steering wheel. However, the Mustang GT-R could be easily transformed into an affordable, competitive option for grassroots teams because it uses 85 percent of the 2005 Mustang's body components along with the same suspension setups and the already-attainable "Cammer" powerplant.

"The GT-R is the Mustang racers would build if they weren't bound by various road racing rules," says Dan Davis. "We were fortunate to start with a rigid, well-balanced production Mustang that was proven on the track by some of the same people who, in previous jobs, helped Ford Racing win on Sundays.