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Mustang Challenge Set for Series Kickoff at Mid-Ohio

Excitement building for first weekend of new-for-2024 Mustang Challenge series…

Photo: Ford

The latest IMSA-sanctioned single-make series is set for its kickoff event this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course, with more than two-dozen Ford Mustang Dark Horse R race cars ready to take part in the inaugural Mustang Challenge.

A total of 26 cars are on the pre-event entry list for Rounds 1 and 2 of the season, which will comprise of a pair of 45 minute single-driver races over five race weekends this year.

Among the drivers scheduled to race include Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley, who will be in a tribute livery to the first win for a Mustang at Mid-Ohio in 1967, piloting a car entered by MDK Motorsports.

The 500-horsepower Dark Horse Rs, taken off Ford’s Flat Rock, Mich. assembly line and adapted for competition by Watson Racing, have been prepped under the supervision of Ford Performance.

Ford Performance Racing School, meanwhile, manages the spec racing series.

Competitors are split between two classes — Dark Horse and Dark Horse Legends, the latter for Bronze-rated drivers over the age of 45.

Fifteen cars are entered in the top class, including the likes of Mazda MX-5 Cup graduates Max Opalski, Robert Noaker, Tyler Maxson and Nate Cicero, as well as Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America stalwarts Brandon Gdovic and Wesley Slimp.

While the series features several upstart operations such as Max Opalski Racing, Robert Noaker Racing and Southern Paley Motorsports, veteran sports car racing outfits MDK, Precision Performance Motorsports and longtime Ford entrants KohR Motorsports and McCumbee McAleer Racing, are present for the first season.

Eleven cars are set to do battle in Dark Horse Legends, including veterans Chloe Chambers, Rod Randall and D.J. Randall, the latter two which are running under the KohR banner, as they have previously in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition.

Track action kicks off on Friday with a pair of practice sessions, followed by qualifying on Saturday morning and Race 1 set for a 4:30 p.m. EDT start that afternoon. Race 2 takes the green flag on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. EDT with both races streamed live on the Ford Performance YouTube channel, Peacock and featuring the IMSA Radio broadcast team.

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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