Why Getting The Dark Horse Might Be The Best Option

Oct 11, 2023 2 min read
Why Getting The Dark Horse Might Be The Best Option

The new Mustang needs a little upgrade to compete.

When it comes to iconic American muscle cars, the Mustang has been synonymous with raw power and aggressive performance. The all-new 2024 Ford Mustang GT, with its adrenaline-pumping straight-line speed, is no exception. But for those who live for the thrill of cornering and bending road courses to their will, the newest iteration might come with a twist.

See horrifying vintage crash test videos here.

The freshly minted S650-generation Ford Mustang GT boasts several upgrades from its predecessor, the S550-generation, most notably in the power department. But the devil is in the details, and some performance enhancements once part of the Mustang GT Performance Package 2 now find their home in the elite Dark Horse model. This has shifted the dynamics of the Mustang, with the latest GT variant falling behind its older sibling in track performance.

Recently, the Throttle House YouTube channel pit the 2024 Mustang GT against the Camaro SS 1LE in various trials. The new GT not only faltered against the Camaro on the racetrack but was also bested by its previous version. So, what's the scoop?

It's not all somber news for Mustang enthusiasts. The 2024 Mustang GT, boasting 486-hp (when equipped with the optional active exhaust), emerged triumphant against the Camaro SS 1LE in both drag and roll races. This makes the new Mustang an obvious choice for those who relish quick sprints between traffic lights. Yet, for aficionados who have a penchant for the track, a Dark Horse or a well-equipped older GT might be a smarter bet.

The crux of the issue is discernible in the lap times around the road course. The new GT clocked in at 1:14.17, while its older counterpart, equipped with the Performance Package Level 2 (PP2), breezed past at 1:12.77. The Camaro, playing spoiler, left them both in its wake with a blistering 1:11.83. The conundrum lies in how a supposedly upgraded Mustang GT, with more firepower, lags on the same track with identical driving conditions.

The plot thickens with the tires. The 2024 GT's Performance Package is equipped with Pirelli P Zeros, while the older S550 GT PP2 sported the notably grippier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. For those seeking optimum traction in the 2024 variant, the ultra-grippy Pirelli Trofeo RS is an option but only in the Dark Horse Handling Package. And tires, as any racer will affirm, can drastically influence lap times. Coupled with other enhancements like upgraded suspension, aerodynamics, and brakes, the Dark Horse package ensures a track beast, a feature the older PP2 offered at a more affordable rate.

In the world of high-speed thrills and roaring engines, the latest Mustang GT stands tall in linear races. However, when it comes to conquering those challenging bends and turns, it seems the Dark Horse or its older sibling might be the more prudent choice.

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