UPDATE - 05.02.2019
With barely three weeks to go until the opening round of the Aussie Supercars Championship, Ford has released the first official video footage of its new Mustang racer being driven at full pelt. The car's been out testing all summer (this is Down Under, remember), following Team Penske's commanding title win in the 2018 season with its predecessor, the long-serving Falcon.
While the V8 racer looks as fast as any in the footage - and slightly less ungainly at pace - we'll have to wait until the 2019 championship opener, the Adelaide 500, to know if Scott McLaughlin still has the machinery to win a driver's title. Judging by the excitement on his face and within the team, we'd guess that the defending champ is in with a rather good shout...
ORIGINAL STORY - 07.11.2018
The wheels of Ford's Mustang Supercar are very much in motion, as testing for the new racer has begun. Ahead of its competition debut in Australia's top racing category (and probably the world's most entertaining touring car series), the Mustang has taken to the asphalt at Queensland Raceway with Team Penske's Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard sharing driving duties.
Although Supercars are silhouette racers that are based on the same spaceframe chassis and front-engined, rear drive technical layout, aerodynamicists have some freedom to craft the body shape that'll be banging doors with the opposition. It's still early days, but the feedback from the drivers and circuit-side team has been good; so much so that 2018 championship leader McLaughlin reckons his shiny new Mustang is almost as good as the car it'll replace, the Falcon, despite not yet having been fine-tuned.
In truth, part of that is probably down to the fact that at least half of the Mustang Supercar looks near identical to the Falcon. There's no getting away from that soft curving nose and saloon-like rear, which contrast the flat bonnet and sleek coupe roofline of the road going model and leaves the racer looking a little soft (especially compared to the 2019 Mustang NASCAR). At least there's a bloody great rear wing out back, to emphasise this car's underlying Aussie muscle.
On that subject, powering the new Supercar racer will be - rejoice - a V8 engine. Ford Performance has chosen to stick with its existing championship motor, rather than switch to a twin-turbocharged V6, which is allowed under the latest Gen2 regulations, probably because it's proved to be so effective. So much so, in fact, that McLaughlin leads the current championship in his V8 Falcon with one round to go, while Team Penkse sits second in the team standings.
Also running Mustangs next year will be Tickford Racing and 23Red Racing. The fleet of new racers will line-up for their first event, the Adelaide 500, in March, where they'll face - or, more than likely, bang door handles with - the well known Holden Commodore and Nissan Altima rivals. Despite the Mustang's comparable lack of mileage, don't expect them to be running around at the back. As Tickford Racing principle Tim Edwards puts it, "Mustang has to be gunning for race wins, championships. and of course Bathurst". We can't wait to see it get stuck in.