Ford threw a helluva party last night in Charlotte, North Carolina. It marked the launch of the company’s 2024 racing season through Ford Performance, beginning next week with the big endurance race at Daytona. The new Mustang GT3 will be there in force, and company CEO Jim Farley wants the world to know it has a V8 engine under the hood.

Actually, he wants the world to know there are lots of V8 Mustangs out there right now, both for the street and the track. And it’s not just an American thing either. Speaking to a raucous Blue Oval crowd at a special venue in Charlotte – the heart of NASCAR country – he pulled no punches about Mustang being a global car for enthusiasts and race teams alike. And he firmly tied the Coyote V8 to its success.

“What other car in the world races on six continents on any given weekend? And that’s because we have a V8 engine,” said Farley.

There’s no denying Ford’s ambitions to go racing with its enduring pony car. The seventh-generation Mustang will compete in multiple genres for 2024, including NASCAR, the Australian Supercar Series, NHRA drag racing, and several endurance classes with the Mustang GT3 and GT4. All of those race cars have V8 power, and street-going Mustangs will have that power for the foreseeable future partly because of these racing efforts. Farley has an vision of a self-sustaining racing program at Ford that drives innovations for production cars.

“This is old school tech transfer,” he told journalists during a tour of Multimatic, Ford’s long-time partner for building cool Mustangs just outside of Charlotte. “Our R&D is on the race track, and you’ll be able to buy them at Ford.”

The Mustang’s V8 power will also endure thanks in part to the Mach-E, which joins the F-150 Lightning as Ford’s initial steps into full electrification. These vehicles help balance the proverbial scales, offsetting the emissions and consumption of a V8 with zero-emission power.

“Mach-E lets us sell ICE vehicles for a long time to come,” stated Farley.

We suspect the timing of this Ford V8 push is no accident. The Chevrolet Camaro is dead. We haven’t heard much about the next Challenger. And the next-generation Dodge Charger won’t have a Hemi under the hood when it debuts later this year. The Chevrolet Corvette is still a thing, but the starting price for a 6.2-liter-equipped Stingray is approximately $26,000 more than a 5.0-liter GT.

“Mustang is going to celebrate its 60th anniversary coming up here,” said Farley. “A lot of our competitors have left. They’ve come and gone. We never did that. We’ve always been there with Mustang. 60 years, and it’s changed over time. We have EcoBoost, we have the Dark Horse now, and we’re going to continue to invest. And if we’re the only one on the planet making a V8 affordable sports car for everyone in the world, so be it.”

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