The Making of the Mustang Mach-E Rally: A Journey from Concept to Dirt Track

A Mustang Mach-E doing early testing on a rally course for the Mach-E Rally.

It all began with a simple question in an engineering breakroom that sparked a significant project for Ford. “Can we make a rally-inspired version of the Mustang Mach-E?” This question set the stage for an innovative undertaking that would blend passion, design, and rigorous engineering into the creation of the Mustang Mach-E Rally. 

Early Experiments and Initial Tests

In the early hours of 2022, Ford product planners Peter Schultz and Craig Migliori decided to test this concept. They took an existing Mach-E GT, equipped it with new wheels and off-road tires, and tested it on the demanding terrain of Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds. The result was a clear yes—the vehicle not only performed but showed potential for something greater. 

Ford engineers around a Mustang Mach-E doing early tests for the Mach-E Rally.

Enhancing Performance and Aesthetics

The vision for the Mach-E Rally was not just about performance but also an appearance that lived up to the Mustang name. The team implemented several modifications to enhance its rallycross capability. This included a 1-inch lift from the standard Mach-E GT suspension, RallyCross-tuned shocks, and springs to handle rough terrains. The aesthetic was equally important, featuring gloss-white 19-inch wheels, Michelin CrossClimate2 tires, and strategic underbody shielding to protect against dirt and debris. 

A professional driver doing early testing for the Mustang Mach-E Rally.

Advanced Testing and Validation

To ensure the Mustang Mach-E Rally was up to the challenge of rallycross, Ford’s team, led by off-road attributes engineer Chris Berchin and vehicle engineering supervisor Jay Kistler, conducted extensive testing. This included a rigorous 500-mile torture test simulating 10 years of rallycross racing. The test conditions varied from muddy to dry, mimicking the diverse environments rallycross drivers face. 

A Mustang Mach-E doing early testing on a rally course for the Mach-E Rally.

Developing a Dedicated Rallycross Course

Recognizing the need for a tailored testing environment, the team transformed a grassy field at the Proving Grounds into a state-of-the-art rallycross course. This involved attending real rallycross events, gathering insights from drivers, and then reflecting these learnings in the course design. The use of computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis helped map out the course details, ensuring it met the exact standards of real-world rallycross tracks. 

In-House Innovation and Recognition

The in-house development approach not only saved costs and reduced development time but also maintained project secrecy. The success of this endeavor earned the team a Vehicle Engineering Validation award from Ford, celebrating the project’s success, which was conceived and executed entirely internally. 

2024 Mustang Mach-E in a beautiful forest.

A New Chapter for Mustang

The Mustang Mach-E Rally, starting from a single question, soon transformed into a reality that’s ready for customer hands and, more importantly, for the dirt tracks. This journey from a mere idea to a fully-realized rally-inspired vehicle illustrates what’s possible when innovation meets dedication in the automotive industry. 

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