RTR vs. Dark Horse: Exploring Why the 2024 Ford Mustang Takes the Lead

RTR Vehicles will let you turn any 2024 Mustang GT into a hopped-up RTR special with two option packages right from launch.

Why The 2024 Ford Mustang RTR Is Way More Ready To Rock Than A Dark Horse fb - DX If you thought the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was going to be the ultimate version of the seventh-gen Mustang with a factory-backed warranty, think again. Pro-drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr’s speed shop ᴀssociated with Ford, RTR Vehicles, has just taken the wraps off the S650 Mustang RTR Spec 2. And it looks as mean as you’d expect.

The 2024 Mustang RTR Spec 2 packs a very long list of aesthetic upgrades, as well as RTR-bespoke suspension components and tuning to up the appeal and handling of any 2024 Ford Mustang GT chᴀssis. Which means you could turn Ford’s new pony car into a certified, red-blooded muscle car. The best part? RTR says its Spec 1 and Spec 2 packages will be available as soon as the 2024 Mustang hits showrooms in summer 2023. For now, here’s everything you need to know about the new Mustang RTR.

If You Thought The Dark Horse Was Special, Wait Till You See The Mustang RTR

The new-gen Ford Mustang adds a healthy dose of modernity to the classic pony car formula, with its sharp lighting and smooth lines. The Mustang Dark Horse upped the aggression with its unique paint, muscular hood, and other styling and interior elements to make it stand out. And now, in keeping with RTR tradition, the Mustang RTR takes it even further.

The 2024 Mustang RTR looks even more race-ready somehow. Blame the even more pronounced gaping front grille, whose sole purpose is to feed more air into the engine bay. Even the signature LED daytime running lights are illuminated actually air intakes! The lower half of the front bumper also hides additional cooling intakes up front and at the sides, and works to help the aggressive front splitter create downforce at the front. The side skirts and rear diffuser balance out the downforce front-to-rear, along with the subtle duckbill spoiler.

The Mustang RTR’s hood has more aero trickery up its sleeve, with the hood vents helping evacuate H๏τ air from the engine bay, as well as tweak the flow of air over the hood and windshield to make the whole process as efficient as it can be.

As for the wheels and tires, the new Mustang RTR packs 20-inch lightweight RTR wheels all around, with sticky Nitto NT555 rubber in a square setup. No detail has been spared — even the lug nuts are RTR-specific, along with RTR shift knobs, floor mats and serialized badging! All these upgrades so far are listed as part of the RTR Spec 2 package, but we imagine the base Spec 1 package will include some, or all, of these components for a more affordable price. Where the S650 Mustang Spec 2 stands out is in offering a slew of performance upgrades as well.

RTR On A Mustang Means It’s Ready To Rock With A Factory Warranty

Why The 2024 Ford Mustang RTR Is Way More Ready To Rock Than A Dark Horse fb - DX RTR Vehicles began tweaking Fords a little over a decade ago and have since made quite the name for themselves. Of course, it helps that founder Vaugh Gittin Jr is one of the biggest names in pro-drifting. And that Gittin runs RTR-badged Mustangs. In case you were wondering, the RTR stands for Ready-To-Rock. Or Ready-To-Race, in the case of the Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD drift car that runs in the Formula Drift championship. It’s a beast with over 1,300 horsepower from the Mustang’s NA V8 thanks to generous helpings of nitrous!

Lucky for you, there’s plenty of inspiration on the new Mustang RTR from the pro-drift car in terms of styling and suspension. The 2024 Mustang RTR Spec 2 package includes RTR lowering springs, rear shock mounts, adjustable shocks, and adjustable sway bars that have been tested and tuned by Gittin Jr. And while the RTR cars won’t have Gittin Jr’s pro car’s handbrake, the new Mustang’s optional Performance Pack with its mechanically-actiavted e-brake has been tuned to help smoky drifts by the man himself.

We expect to see RTR Spec 3 packages for the road car soon, that also up power. Going by the previous-gen S550 Mustang RTR Spec 3 with a Whipple supercharger upping power to 700 hp, it’ll be one to look out for. Of course, the RTR Spec 5 will be the top dog when it arrives, again with a supercharged V8 and probably over the current-gen’s 750 hp.

The 2024 Mustang RTR Spec 2 package, which can be specified on any Mustang GT chᴀssis, comes with a factory 3-year/36,000 mile warranty for all the components. And the ᴀssurance that a two-time Formula Drift champ has given everything his seal of approval.

Mustang RTR Race Track Inspired CosmeticPackage

Why The 2024 Ford Mustang RTR Is Way More Ready To Rock Than A Dark Horse fb - DX Sure, for now the new Mustang RTR is just a visual update, and in the case of the RTR Spec 2, a handling upgrade as well. But, you know there’s more coming, including the all-mighty RTR Spec 5. And when it does, the modern underpinnings of the new Mustang will be able to out-handle the now-old chᴀssis of the Chevrolet Camaro, even if the Camaro in question has been blessed by Hennessey Performance.

The Exorcist Camaro is Hennessey’s take on the ultimate Camaro ZL1, with the supercharged LT4 V8 bumped up to 1,000 horsepower. It’s already the world’s fastest Gen6 Camaro, with a 0-60 mph time of 2.1 seconds — something the RTR Mustang will likely not beat. But RTR’s focus is more about turning the Mustang into a race car than a drag car. And the top-spec RTR Mustang will likely turn better, and run a road course quicker than the heavier Camaro.

The Mustang RTR Spec 2 Costs $12,495 Over Any 2024 Mustang GT

RTR has only released details on the 2024 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 2 package for now. The Spec 2 package can be ordered with any new Mustang GT chᴀssis, with the full list of visual and handling upgrades coming at $12,495. Of course, you could always do the modifications to your new S650 Mustang yourself, but you wouldn’t have the unique serial number of the RTR-build, or the fact that it’s built by Ford and RTR themselves. Which also means you won’t have the peace of mind of a factory-warranty to go with the looks and handling of a serious race-bred muscle car. Come on RTR, show us what the new S650 Mustang is capable of!

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