Remember When Ford Made A Four Cylinder Mustang Prototype Race Car
When you think of front engine prototype race cars Don Panoz and his wonderful Roadsters come to mind. Nissan tried a front engine prototype and subsequently failed with their GTR-LM. However, long before those two ford entered the prototype ranks with their very own Mustang GTP. If that concept wasn't radical enough the "Mustang" came equipped with a very un-mustanglink turbocharged four cylinder engine developed by Cosworth.
The Mustang GTP was launched midway through the 1983 IMSA season and was only a Mustang in name only. It shared next to nothing with the road car and was built solely to display Ford's engineering expertise. Bob Riley was tasked with the design of the car which featured a Roush/Profab carbon fiber chassis and a front engine design. Back then, as it is today the preferred layout for top prototypes was mid engine. The radical design was coupled with a 2.1 liter turbocharged four cylinder capable of 600 horsepower.
In the car's maiden outing the 2.1 liter power plants were not ready so in its place was a tiny 1.7 liter unit. Tim Coconis and Klaus Ludwig drove one of the Mustangs to overall victory while Bobby Rahal and Geoff Brabham took third overall. The future looked bright however Ford failed to repeat their success as a string reliability woes plagued the project.
Eventually Roush left the project over engine disputes (Roush wanted a V8, Ford did not) and after the 1984 the project was dead. A brief 30 minute documentary was made that not only featured some sweet Rocky tunes but also followed the team during their debut race at Road America. It may be a glorious testament to the 80's but it is well worth thirty minutes of your time!