Under the Hood: Tips and Tricks to Driving the Ford Mustang GT3

Assetto Corsa Competizione has a new car on its GT3 roster! Let’s learn more about how to master the 2024 Ford Mustang GT3.

Another exciting addition joins the already impressive roster of GT3 cars in Assetto Corsa Competizione: the 2024 Ford Mustang. Having been revealed to the public before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023, it made its racing debut during the 2024 24 Hours of Daytona before embarking on campaigns in IMSA, the WEC and GT World Challenge Europe, cementing itself as a GT3 class stalwart off the bat.

With the development efforts of Coach Dave Academy, the Mustang GT3 is now available in Assetto Corsa Competizione for free. Let’s look under the hood of the new Ford and learn how to get the most performance out of it.

Introducing the Ford Mustang GT3

Canadian firm Multimatic Motorsports, the long-standing partner of Ford known for its involvement in producing the Ford GT supercar, was responsible for developing the Mustang GT3.

Key design features include positioning the engine just behind the front axle and as low as possible to optimise weight distribution, aiming for a 50:50 balance, whilst the roaring 5.4-litre naturally-aspirated V8 itself ensures strong acceleration and straight-line speed. 

With each Mustang having its chassis assembled in Michigan and then transported to Multimatic in North Carolina for additional GT3 modifications, such as the roll cage and sub-frames, it is a truly pure portrayal of modern American sportscar racing in 2024.

The first customer team to order the Ford Mustang GT3 was the Proton Competition team, which races the car in the World Endurance Championship, including the iconic Le Mans endurance race, as well as the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup rounds. Ford also fields its factory team in the GTD class of the American IMSA series.

The Basic Car Characteristics

The new Ford Mustang GT3 is derived from the civilian Mustang Dark Horse model. Multimatic Motorsports has equipped the Mustang GT3 with a new carbon fibre body featuring advanced aerodynamic enhancements, including a sizable front splitter and rear diffuser. The standard five-litre atmospheric V8 was replaced with a specially tuned 5.4-litre Coyote V8.

The Mustang GT3 is designed to be versatile and suitable for sprint and endurance racing. The car is homologated at a dry weight of 1,289 kg and limited to approximately 550 horsepower according to the various balances of performance (BoP).

During the development of the Mustang for Assetto Corsa Competizione, the Coach Dave Academy team tested the BoP and physics to ensure they accurately reflect how the car should be balanced and driven. Our work included:

  • Baseline release BoP
  • Physics debugging and testing, including fuel consumption
  • Testing setup UI values
  • Testing baseline setups

The car was optimized to be fast in a straight line but also very thirsty, with up to 10% higher fuel consumption than other popular GT3s to ensure equal footing with other runners.

Steering and Cornering

The Mustang GT3 has typical handling traits of the front-engine GT3 car: it understeers on entry and has relatively poor mid-corner rotation,  but is good at attacking curbs. If you like to drive the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo or the BMW M4 GT3, the Mustang will be familiar. 

Interestingly, the BMW M4 GT3 and Ford Mustang GT3 have almost identical setup ranges, although the optimal setup values differ. Let’s see how you can mitigate some of the Mustang’s inherent handling weaknesses with the setup:

  • Soft front wheel rates and stiff rear wheel rates are required on most circuits to add a significant amount of front grip and reduce understeer on corner entry. The Mustang’s softest front wheel rate is 105,000 N/m and the stiffest rear wheel rate is 165,000 N/m. Generally, you should keep the setup close to these limits.
  • You can find a lot of performance with the right anti-roll bar (ARB) setup. For circuits with long, high-speed corners, such as the Nordschleife and Silverstone, this car likes stiffer ARBs to support the rear and add stability at the front. For circuits with slower chicanes, such as Monza and Imola, softer ARBs work better.

Power Delivery and Braking

The Coyote V8 engine is one of the standout features of the Mustang GT3. It sounds fantastic when you’re behind the wheel and it provides excellent acceleration in the medium range and top speed in the GT3 class.

However, its power delivery and gear ratios are unique, potentially causing issues with traction out of the corners if you are not acclimatised with the Ford Mustang’s idioms. The first gear has huge amounts of torque, but the second bogs down significantly, almost like there is a missing gear in between. And on some tracks, there is almost no need to shift to sixth gear.

To help you on your way, the car has a second level of traction control customisation (TC2) that determines how much to cut the engine power at the slipping threshold specified by the TC1. Although setting higher TC for stability during acceleration may be tempting, fast setups in ACC have both TCs between 0 and 2 in dry conditions. But you can add some stability to the rear by increasing the preload differential and raising the angle of attack of the rear wing.

Meanwhile, braking performance is a standout feature of the Mustang, allowing for late and aggressive manoeuvres as well as a confidence-inducing feel. Remember that with the high top speed in the Mustang, you may need to move the braking point by a few metres earlier compared to other GT3s nonetheless.

  • You can watch the hot laps set with the Coach Dave Academy meta setups for the Ford Mustang GT3 on Youtube and subscribe to the Delta App for access to all setups, the Never Lift coaching course and SimGrid Pro.

Aerodynamics and Bodywork

The Mustang is a real spaceship on the straights, capable of reaching the highest top speeds in the GT3 class. For example, even with the high wing, it will challenge the top speed of the BMW M4 GT3 or the McLaren 720s GT3 Evo with the lowest rear wing in Monza.

Because of this feature, the car benefits from a high wing on most circuits, even in Monza or Spa. With the high rear wing, the Mustang gets better stability at the rear at only the small loss of the top speed.

Final Thoughts

The Mustang is a fast but tricky GT3 to drive compared to popular front-engine cars, the BMW and Mercedes. It has the potential to be competitive on low-downforce circuits, although it will depend on the balance of performance by Kunos and large sim racing platforms.

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