While most people think more of Nissans and Toyotas than Ford Mustangs when it comes to drift cars, the original pony car has racked up some serious competition victories since 2005. After several years behind the wheel of a sixth-generation Mustangs, Ford tuner and Formula D team RTR Vehicles has pulled the wraps off its 2024 Ford Mustang Spec 5-FD pro drift cars, and they seem properly epic.
Formula D cars feature huge power, and these Mustangs get more than 1,300 horsepower from an old-fashioned V8 with a nitrous oxide system. There’s no turbocharging here, which should translate to great response out on the track. Of course, Formula Drift cars are very different from street cars, so the RTR drift car is rocking a very different suspension setup than its roadgoing base. Wider front track, big negative camber up front, a little bit of positive camber out back so the rear tires level out in squat, and huge steering angle are all guaranteed from the pro car. Expect significantly different Ackermann angle from a stock car too. Oh, and much of the cooling system is out back, out of harm’s way.
On the outside, the RTR Spec 5-FD looks rowdy as ever. Massive overfenders cover equally-massive rubber, while an aggressive skirt package does a fantastic job of visually anchoring the car to the track. Add in RTR’s trademark illuminated grille, a wicked set of aero discs on the rear wheels, and Y-spoke wheels up front, and you have an excellent base for some wicked liveries. Vaughn Gittin Jr. is going with a wicked black, blue, and highlighter yellow color scheme, James Deane is going with a silver-and-black livery, and Chelsea DeNofa is rocking Pennzoil yellow.
Of more importance to your typical Mustang owner, the upcoming 2024 RTR Mustang road cars will draw inspiration from the Formula Drift pro-spec cars. While only a single rendering of the next road car has been released, it’s easy to see a few carryover items. The grille on the pro car is identical to what appears on the rendering, while the chin spoiler looks pretty close to what we’ll see on the road. Otherwise, the road car should get chunky side skirts, a unique spoiler, some stripes, and a gorgeous set of Y-spoke alloy wheels that should all be pretty much identical to the parts on the pro car. In terms of performance modifications, RTR Mustangs have typically benefited from a wide variety of upgraded suspension components, so don’t be surprised if the upcoming 2024 model satisfies a craving for a more hardcore Mustang without having to splash the cash on a Dark Horse model.
What’s really interesting is that RTR has historically rolled out several packages for a given generation of Mustang, with those at the top of the pecking order enjoying some extra power. The current RTR Spec 3 and Spec 5 Mustangs get Whipple superchargers that boost output to an eyeball-scrambling 750 horsepower and 615 lb.-ft. of torque. However, Ford is clamping down on power-focused tuning with new encryption for the 2024 Mustang’s electronics.
Back in October, Ford Mustang Chief Engineer Ed Krenz told Ford Authority that tuning the new Mustang will be “much more difficult” as the entire vehicle network is encrypted. This will be a big problem for independent tuners, but RTR has a special relationship with Ford, so it’s possible that the first mega-power 2024 Mustang might come rocking an RTR badge. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Expect to see the new RTR Spec 5-FD Mustang pro cars on track starting April 7 at the Formula Drift Long Beach season opener. Both YouTuber Adam LZ and RTR Founder and two-time Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. will be splitting driver duties for a condensed season, while Chelsea DeNofa will run the full season. New to the RTR stable is three-time consecutive Formula D champion James Deane, who piloted a sweet S15 Nissan Silvia to victory in 2017, 2018, and 2019. I can’t wait to see this new Mustang banging doors with Toyota Supras and Nissan Silvias. Hopefully it three-wheels like the old car did, because that was just flat-out awesome.
[Editor’s Note: It’s old-ish news, but it’s worth mentioning that hte 2024 Mustang gets a “drift brake” as an option.
It works by actuating an electronic park brake in a specific way based when the driver pulls the handle. -DT].
(Photo credits: RTR Vehicles)
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Why do companies try to stop people who want more power??
From my perspective, as an OEM engine designer, I know that the powertrain is durable at the power levels we validated it at. Ask for more power and you are potentially making it less durable. Given that almost any mechanical failure a cranktrain part can cause a hole in the block, thus oil mist in the engine bay, hence vehicle fire, and surely you can understand why we have a legal duty to avoid making that easy.
There are some engines where a calibration change that makes no increase to engine power can reduce the working life of the engine from well over 100,000 miles to less than 1,000. This stuff is complex and the risks are high.
You’re free to change what you like, but if we make it non-trivial to make changes you’re responsible, not us.
This is the first I’m hearing about Vaughn’s return to the series, I guess one year away was too much haha. Overall, the new setup is pretty cool.