A much wider front and rear track along with extra-beefy tires on all four corners are the first couple of giveaways that this Mustang is a mule for something more significant than the body might suggest. Look closer, and those wheels that are poking out reveal themselves to be carbon fiber wheels, but not the same as those just revealed on the Dark Horse. Instead, they look exactly the same as the available seven-spoke carbon wheels available on the previous-generation Shelby GT500.
That’s not flat-out confirmation that this mule is a GT500 in sheep’s clothing, but it does suggest that we may be dealing with a Shelby model. Ford hasn’t confirmed that follow-ups to either the previous Shelby GT350 or GT500 are coming with the next-gen Mustang, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t either.
As for this specific tester, the front and rear fascias are mildly massaged versus a Mustang Dark Horse, but things aren’t dramatically different, perhaps in an effort to keep this Mustang’s true status under wraps. The quad tips in the back aren’t necessarily an indication of one powertrain over another either, as while the previous GT500 features a quad-tipped exhaust, so does the 2024 Mustang GT and Dark Horse.
Jim Farley subtly teased out that Ford might make a road-going version of its GT3 racecar Mustang, but this mule’s convertible bodystyle suggests it isn’t any such thing. How much you read into it being a convertible is up in the air, too, as while Ford has a history of producing a GT500 Convertible, the latest Shelby GT500 was available as a coupe only. It’s probably best not to take this tester being a convertible as confirmation either way that a future Shelby model will be available with a soft top.
We’ll likely need additional spy photos to hit our inboxes that move past the mule stage before coming to any solid conclusions here. However, the good news is that Ford sure looks to be preparing a version of the next-gen Mustang with greater performance than the Dark Horse. Fingers crossed for a next-gen Shelby model.