The seventh-generation Ford Mustang reaches dealerships this summer, and with it comes a slate of new Mustang-based race cars. That includes a sideways-dancing pony called the Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD, where FD stands for Formula Drift.
Built by Ford and RTR Vehicles, this is the new competition Mustang that will compete in the 2023 Formula Drift season. As the photos clearly show, it's not simply a street-going Mustang with a racing livery. There's more than 1,300 horsepower under the hood, which is more than enough to generate a prolific smoke show from the rear tires. The suspension is upgraded for the rigors of drifting, and the steering is significantly modified to help drivers keep control at extreme sideways angles.
Gallery: 2024 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD
Speaking of drivers, long-time Ford driver and two-time Formula Drift champ Vaughn Gittin Jr. returns to the series after taking a year off. He's part of the RTR Vehicles' Drift Team that will field three cars in the championship.
"I’m excited to announce not only that I will be back behind the wheel of a competition Mustang RTR with our signature aggressive styling and serious performance updates, but I’m also thrilled that Ford and RTR have worked tirelessly to make something special with the new electronic drift brake," said Gittin. "Chelsea [DeNofa] and I had the honor of working with the passionate engineering team at Ford to develop. Our goal was putting larger smiles on the faces of soon-to-be fellow seventh-generation Mustang owners."
The brake Gittin refers to isn't the one on his new competition Mustang, but rather, the new electronic drift brake that's available as an option on street-going models. Offered with either the 2.3-liter EcoBoost or the 486-hp 5.0-liter GT running auto or manual transmissions, it's an electronic parking brake that Ford says functions much like that of a traditional mechanical handbrake, but with over three times the braking force. System settings can control the brake function, giving novice users a chance to learn the finer points of drifting while offering advanced features for those with experience. On a closed course, that is.
"Mustang has always stood for on-road freedom and track performance," said Jim Owens, Ford Mustang brand manager. "Mustang’s first-ever electronic drift brake adds a whole new dimension of on-track fun and capability that will enable almost anyone to drift like they’re a soon-to-be-Vaughn Gittin Jr."