Automakers want to keep the "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" trend alive.
Today is Nascar Next-Gen day, which means we get to see the new cars for the upcoming racing season. We've already checked out the new Camaro ZL1 Cup car and the Camry Cup car, now it's Ford's turn with the new Mustang GT500 Cup car. As we've said with the other two racers, these cars get shells that look like a street car, but are fully prepped and spec'd the same underneath.
The Next-Gen Mustang has been in development for two years, and the body has been redesigned from the ground up. Ford notes that the new model is built for the future, and is flexible enough for advances like racing-grade hybrid powertrains.
"A lot of work has been done behind the scenes to make sure this Next Gen Mustang remains relevant to our customers," said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. "As the automotive industry continues to change, we'll have the ability to keep up in the racing world without having to go through a complete overhaul or redesign of the car. This is something we've been waiting for and we're glad the time has finally arrived."
Like the Camaro and Camry race cars, the new Mustang now gets independent suspension, bigger wheels, a wider stance and a smaller greenhouse. Power from the company's pushrod V8 is rated at either 670 hp or 550 hp, depending on the track, with a five-speed sequential-shift transmission. It was developed at Ford's Dearborn design center and at the Ford Performance Technical Center in the Nascar bastion of North Carolina. Development is still going on, Ford says, with the aero teams and full-motion simulators.
"Mustang is an iconic brand for Ford and when I saw the Next Gen Mustang in person for the first time I was pumped," said Team Penske driver Joey Logano, the 2018 Nascar Cup Series champion. "The aggressive look of the nose and the changes to the greenhouse and tail make the car more authentic to the street Mustang than ever before. I can't wait to get it on the track."
Surprisingly, Mustang has only been in Nascar since 2019. It has won 10 races in its first year and 18 in 2020, which helped the Blue Oval win the Manufacturers' Championship. Before the Mustang, Ford used the Fusion, Taurus, Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar and a bunch more going all the way back to 1949.
All three Next-Gen cars will make their way to the 64th running of the Daytona 500 on February 20, 2022.