WATCH: Ford Mustang GT3 unveiled at Le Mans

The S650 Ford Mustang GT3 has been unveiled

The 2024 Ford Mustang GT3 has been unveiled at Le Mans ahead of this weekend’s 100th anniversary 24-hour race, with Ford confirming the first customers of its latest race car.

The GT3 version of the S650 Mustang, which is yet to go on sale in Australia as a road car but did make its global racing debut at the 2023 Newcastle 500 Supercars event, will be on the grid at next year’s Le Mans event as Ford expands its global racing portfolio as Ford enters the FIA GT3 category.

“Ford and Le Mans are bound together by history. And now we’re coming back to the most dramatic, most rewarding and most important race in the world,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley.

“It is not Ford versus Ferrari anymore. It is Ford versus everyone. Going back to Le Mans is the beginning of building a global motorsports business with Mustang, just like we are doing with Bronco and Raptor off-road.”

Ford confirmed that the first customer will be German team Proton Competition, which will campaign a pair of Mustangs in the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

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The Mustang GT3 is based on the Dark Horse version of the production model, which effectively replaces the S550 Mach 1 as the halo model of the line-up and is scheduled to go on sale in Australia during the second half of 2023.

Unique suspension is needed to house a rear transaxle that teams with the M-Sport assembled 5.4-litre Coyote V8, with the GT3 Mustang wrapped in a unique aerodynamic package employing carbonfibre panels by Multimatic, who also built Ford’s Le Mans-winning GT.

“For a project like the Mustang GT3, we turned to two of our most trusted partners in the motorsports world to help bring this vehicle and program together,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “I know we’ll all be as thrilled as Ford fans when Mustang begins racing at the highest levels of GT racing in 2024.”

Teased over social media after the company confirmed a GT3 model the Daytona 24 Hour in early 2022, Farley toyed with fans on social media by asking whether Ford should offer a road-going GT3. The Ford CEO told media last year, “To go to Le Mans you need a road car”.

The reveal also brings new branding for Ford Performance with a Troy Lee Designs livery that will now set the theme for the motorsport and enthusiast arm of Ford.

Ford comes off the back of a class win at Le Mans in 2016 on the anniversary of its famous 1966 1-2-3 outright win in the GT40, of which has most recently been the subject of the James Mangold film Ford v Ferrari (titled as Le Mans ’66 in some markets).

The Mustang GT3 will also be joined by a GT4 version, like the previous S550, as Ford uses the nameplate to spearhead its track motorsport underneath its 2026 return to Formula 1 with Red Bull, supplanting Honda, which will switch to Aston Martin.

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