For the first time ever, a Ford Mustang will compete in stock car racing’s top series: the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series.
“We’re combining America’s favorite sports car with America’s top stock car racing series,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “Mustang always has been about affordable performance, which can be traced to innovations we’ve made competing in racing, like NASCAR. Mustang is a perfect fit for our racing heritage today and tomorrow.”
Taking over from the Fusion (not a great sign for the Fusion, it must be said), the Mustang will start racing in the series next February at the Daytona 500.
Although the Mustang has never raced in the series, Ford has long been represented in NASCAR’s top league. Since 1972, the brand raced the Thunderbird, the Taurus, and the Fusion.
The Mustang meanwhile has been racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series since 2011. There, it’s had great success, winning championships in all but one season.
Although it’s still going through initial testing, the Mustang will be submitting to NASCAR for approval this summer.
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“This announcement makes me very happy,” said Edsel B. Ford II. “Mustang is a car that is woven into the fabric of our country, and it’s only right that we put it on the track in NASCAR’s most visible series. I can’t wait.”
The announcement follows more good news for Mustang fans, as the car became the best-selling sports coupe in the world for the third year in a row.
With sales of more than 125,000 around the world last year, the Mustang remains most popular in America, though a third of sales came from around the world in 2017. China has proven it has a particularly strong thirst for Mustangs with more than 7,000 sold there.
“The world loves Ford Mustang,” says Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. “For years, Mustang was unobtainable for customers on most parts of the planet. It could only be found on TV or the internet, and now it rolls down streets from Beijing to São Paulo.”
A version of this story originally appeared on All Ford Mustangs.