The all-new Ford Mustang GT3 was originally announced more than a year ago, and for months, we were treated to numerous teasers – even from Blue Oval CEO Jim Farley himself – prior to the new race car’s debut earlier this month. A road-going version of the new Ford Mustang GT3 – which is designated for IMSA competition – remains a possibility, but in the meantime, there’s a lot of information to digest when it comes to the track-focused version, including the fact that it utilizes a fortified and enlarged version of the naturally-aspirated Ford 5.0L V8 Coyote, in this guise displacing 5.4 liters, which is mated to a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox. However, there’s a very good reason for this deviance from the street-legal pony car.
“[W]e wanted to use a production engine, so we started with a 5.0L Coyote, and we wanted to maximize the displacement so we had more headroom for meeting the power requirements,” Mark Rushbrook, head of Ford Performance, told Road & Track in a recent interview. “Within what’s capable with a production block and heads is a 5.4.”
In other words, Ford wanted to increase the displacement of its Coyote powerplant for the Mustang GT3 in order to hit its desired power figures while putting less strain on the engine, which is particularly critical in the world of endurance racing, where vehicles run all-out for hours at a time. In GT3 racing, participants are also bound by Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations, which are intended to even the playing field by adjusting things like output, weight, and aerodynamics.
Increasing displacement is a popular strategy in GT3 racing already, one that several brands – including Porsche and Lexus – already employ. In addition to this little tweak over its road-going brethren, the Ford Mustang GT3 also utilizes the aforementioned rear-mounted gearbox as a way to even out weight distribution, which is another tweak designed to maximize on-track performance.