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Ford Unveils ‘Champion’s Spirit’ Mustang GT3 Livery

Ford takes wraps off part art car, part heritage livery for factory Mustang GT3s…

Ford Performance has taken the wraps off its ‘Champion’s Spirit’ livery that will be carried on both factory Mustangs GT3s in the upcoming IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Detroit, as a celebration of Mustang’s 60th anniversary.

Unveiled on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a special fan and owner event commemorating the pony car’s birthday, the design — part art car, part heritage livery — pays tribute to the champions of Mustang sports car racing over the past six decades.

Designed by Ford Performance design manager Anthony Colard, the livery takes elements from eight iconic Mustang race cars through the generations while incorporating ‘battle worn’ features such as wheel marks and paint tears.

“We thought of it a few different ways,” Ford Performance global sports car marketing manager Scott Bartlett told Sportscar365. “The first iteration we had was that each panel was the exact replica of that car.

“It was Anthony that came up with the idea and said, ‘Why don’t we make this look like it’s one and it’s layers and it’s been sitting on the car for 60 years, 50 years, 40 years, each layer, and it’s battle-worn and torn up and has gone through the race.’

“That’s the whole idea. It’s the spirit of those champions are under the skin of the Mustang GT3. That was the approach we took with this.

“It feels like an art car but it also pays tribute to the Mustang’s heritage as well.”

Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Mike Rockenfeller will be among the drivers in the pair of GTD Pro class Ford Multimatic Motorsports entries carrying the livery at Laguna Seca, with the livery set to also be featured on the Nos. 64 and 65 Mustang GT3s at the following round on the streets of Detroit.

Below is an overview of the Mustang race cars that inspired the design of the ‘Champion’s Spirit’ livery, courtesy of Ford:

1964 Tour de France:
Only five months after its debut, Mustangs prepared by Alan Mann Racing were able to snap Jaguar’s five-year run of victories in touring-class races by finishing first and second in the grueling Tour de France championship series—a ten-day, 3,500 mile, eight-race, eight-hill climb event.

The two Mustangs that finished were part of only 19 entrants to finish out of the 56 entries to start. The Mustangs captured nine trophies at some of the most famous European tracks—Le Mans, Reims, Rouen, and Monza. The winning Mustang was driven by Peter Proctor and Andrew Gowan.

Photo: Marc Urbano/Ford

1965 SCCA B Production GT350:
In 1964, Ford was beginning an all-out assault on its Total Performance campaign while ramping up its racing presence. It became clear quickly that the SCCA was not willing to bend to Ford Motor Company’s will and allow Mustang to simply drop into the series. So, Ford turned to one of its racing partners and asked Shelby American to work with the SCCA and figure out how to homologate the Mustang.

With several upgrades to the Mustang fastback, including suspension, brakes, a rear seat delete, and the use of the K-Code 289 HI-PO V8, the GT350 was born. Jerry Titus took the GT350 and swept the 1965 SCCA B-Production championship and won three championships in a row.

1966 Shelby American Mustang:
1966 was the inaugural SCCA Trans-Am Series season. Tom Yeager and Bob Johnson won the second race of the season at the Mid-America 300 for Mustang’s first Trans-Am victory as well as the fourth race in Virginia.

Mustang went on to win four of the seven races that season, with victories for John McComb and Brad Booker at Texas and Jerry Titus at the Riverside 4-hour race, to win the championship in the inaugural season.

Photo: Marc Urbano/Ford

1970 Mustang Boss 302:
For the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am season, the Bud Moore team with drivers Parnelli Jones and George Follmer dominated the over 2-liter sedan series by winning six races for the manufacturer’s title, as Jones took the driver’s championship in the Boss 302 Mustang.

1981 IMSA GTX Mustang:
1981 saw Ford Motor Company’s resurgent racing program and in sports car that was seen with the Zakspeed No. 6 turbocharged Miller Mustang driven by Klaus Ludwig. With a strong finish in its first race, falling a 10th of a second short, the Mustang finally broke through at Brainerd International Speedway and again at Sears Point in the GTX class. With that, Ford’s new sports car racing program was off and running.

1985 Roush IMSA Mustang:
The Roush Mustang GTO finished the 1984 IMSA season finally at Daytona with a win by Willie T. Ribbs and Wally Dallenbach Jr., which telegraphed the season to come in 1985.

That season Mustang went on to win nine IMSA races and John Jones took home the driver’s championship, while Lynn St. James took three of those victories to become the first woman to win in the series and helped Ford take the manufacturer’s championship.

Photo: Marc Urbano/Ford

1987 Roush IMSA Mustang:
At the 1987 Daytona 24 hours race, the No. 11 Roush Mustang driven by Tom Gloy, Bill Elliot, Lynn St. James, and Scott Pruett drove to 1st place in the GTO class.

Photo: Marc Urbano/Ford

1997 Mustang Cobra Trans-Am:
The 1997 SCCA Trans-Am season was a clean sweep for Ford Mustang. Tommy Kendall drove his Roush All Sport Mustang Cobra to 11 consecutive victories, while Mike Borkowski claimed victory in the final two races of the season. Kendall finished as the driver’s champion in the third straight season and Mustang as the clear champion.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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