Ford is returning to production-based racing in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GT3 class as a full-factory entry with an all-new Mustang GT3 race car from the 2024 season onwards, beginning with the 24 Hours of Daytona that year, the American manufacturer has announced.

This upcoming race car will also be available to customer racing entries, and will be jointly created by Ford and Multimatic Motorsports. This will be for the factory-backed IMSA GTD Pro works race team which will be a two-car effort managed by Multimatic, while also supporting customer teams entering the GTD class.

The heart of the GT3-class Mustang will be the 5.0 litre “Coyote”-based V8 engine, which is being developed by Ford Performance and will be built by English motorsport outfit M-Sport, which has most recently collaborated with Ford in the FIA World Rally Championship, with its new Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 finishing first, third and fifth in the Monte Carlo Rally.

For now, Ford has revealed that the 2024 Mustang GT3 racer will feature bespoke short-long arm suspension at both front and rear axles, a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox, carbon-fibre body panels, as well as a GT3-specific aerodynamics package.

The S550-generation Mustang’s sucessor will debut at the NASCAR Cup series on February 6

The testing programme for the 2024 Ford Mustang GT3 will be joined by 2016 Le Mans GTE Pro class race-winning driver Joey Hand, who will also continue in his role as development driver and coach at Ford Performance in addition to his test driver role for the upcoming Mustang GT3.

“Multimatic Motorsports is the perfect partner on this project for us. Not only have they worked with us to develop numerous customer Mustang programmes in the past, but its work on the Ford GT programme and the new Bronco customer race programmes has shown together we can provide championship-level race programmes for Ford and its customers,” said Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook.

Alongside development work for the upcoming factory Mustang GT3 programme, Ford and Multimatic will continue running the Mustang GT4 customer racing programme, which is expected to see a new Mustang GT4 debut for the 2023 season; this should mean that the GT4 could offer an earlier look at the new competition Mustang ahead of the debut of its factory-backed GT3 effort.

Meanwhile, the 2022 next-generation Ford Mustang has been slated for debut on February 6 at the NASCAR Cup Series. For the production Mustang that will be replaced this year, some suppliers for the new car have reportedly been told that the Mustang’s lifecycle has been expanded to eight years, which means that a debut this year will see the coming generation stay in production until 2030.