Australian Ford Mustang Track Day

The Ford Mustang has been very popular in Australia since they were first released in the 60’s. But the Mustang was never officially sold by Ford Australia, there was a limited import between 2001-2002 when Ford Australia contracted Tickford Vehicle Engineering to convert 250 fourth generation Mustangs to RHD.
That all changed recently when Ford Australia announced that they would be officially importing and releasing for sale, through their dealer network, the new S550 sixth generation Mustang.

Pre-orders for the Mustang went through the roof, with close to 4000 orders placed before the first car even landed down under, there is currently about 6000+ cars that have now been sold.  The wait list is still around 12-18 months if you were to walk into a dealership and place an order tomorrow.
In Australia we have the option of either the Eco Boost or GT model, in manual or automatic transmission and in Coupe or Convertible body shapes. The culture that has been created around the new car is amazing with Mustang communities springing up all around the country, all to support the new Mustang owners.

The other market that has grown with these new cars is the modification market. One of those in the modification market is the team at Mustang Motorsport, who are based in Melbourne, they are the Australian agents for Shelby American and Roush Performance.
Recently they held a track day for their customers at Sandown Racetrack, the same track where the Australian Supercar series host the Sandown 500 race, the day was held in association with the team at Evolve Driver Training. Helping the participants out with driving advice on the day was the fantastic line up of Tony D’Alberto, Karl Reindler, Dominic Storey and Steve Courtis.
A great site first thing in the morning was pitlane full of 30+ Mustangs.

The first time race track participants got a chance to go out first thing to get a guided tour of the track by the instructors.

The cars and drivers hit the track for 20 minutes sessions

There was great variety of Mustang’s from all across the model’s history, including everything from some 60’s classics..

To some recent Supersnakes..

There was even a Laguna Sega edition.

The interesting thing to note about the three cars mentioned above, as they were never sold here the cars were imported into the country as LHD drive and then converted by the team at Mustang Motorsport to Australian standards.
The majority of cars on track were the current model Mustang’s, even then there was a good variety of models at different stages of modifications, including some of the recent Roush and Shelby creations.

Another interesting car on track was a rare Ford Racing FR500C, built by Ford in the USA and was still in LHD configuration.
The team from Mustang Motorsport had a couple of their cars on track.

Including their S197 Shelby GT500 which has been used by the team in Australian Tarmac Rally events.

Also on track was the team’s current Ford Mustang GT tarmac car which has been very successful in recent tarmac rallying events.
During the lunch break the drivers were entertained by Australian racing legend John Bowe.

Also during the lunch break I took a couple of the cars out on track to do some feature moving photography and video.

In the afternoon the drivers continued their lapping with further instructions from the Evolve team. In the end it was a very successful day with lots of happy faces and no bent cars. At the completion of the day, we set up a photo shoot of a collection of cars from the event.

I an looking to attending another one of these track days again soon. There are plans to hopefully head to Phillip Island for a future event.
Also check out the full video from the event below

All photos Credit Joel Strickland
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7 responses to “Australian Ford Mustang Track Day”

  1. JayP Avatar

    Awesome. Surprised to see the S197s converted to RHD. Can’t imagine the work it takes to keep the dash from becoming a rattle trap.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      The good converters manufacture complete new dashboards, mirror-imaging as much as they can. The tricky part comes with the transmission tunnel (& engine) being offset in the Mustang.
      Ford Australia converted around 200 1965-66 Mustangs as a promotional exercise; even then they found that the car was not exactly symmetrical as they had been told. Working with stamped metal dash panels made things a bit simpler to reproduce!

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    What a great piece – thanks Joel. It’s sad that Australia’s losing their domestic manufacturing, but good to see that Ford is picking up a little of the slack, with the Mustang. What about Chevrolet and the Camaro?

    1. Joel Strickland Avatar

      Thanks DukeisDuke

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      It doesn’t seem the Camaro is on the cards for Australia, I don’t think they do any RHD production. There are cars imported & converted, but they are AUD$100k plus!

  3. Coast Broker Avatar
    Coast Broker

    What a great Story with the photos and video. Wish something like this could be organised up here in NSW

  4. spotarama Avatar

    I see at least one of the new mustangs every day and sometimes a few (usually on weekends, I live in the hills just on the outskirts of suburbia in melbourne and there are some great roads to be had,
    though usually they’re full of deadshit 40kmh tourists too scared to go round corners, whenever I see one of these in front of me at the bottom of the mountain, I take a quick right and head up the 13% gradient single lane gravel track. they’re easy to spot, locals have generally dirty cars, especially back windows and tourist cars are clean (and seem more willing to obey the speed limit, the locals know where the speed cameras will be and drive accordingly)