After countless hours of development, DJR Team Penske believe their newly unveiled Mustang will keep them at the top of Supercars in the 2019 season.
Series champion Scott McLaughlin and teammate Fabian Coulthard unveiled the new livery in Melbourne on Monday to decidedly mixed reviews.
Ahead of testing at Phillip Island on Thursday, McLaughlin endorsed Ford’s first new build in a decade, saying it even “looks fast standing still”.
The two-door coupe has largely unchanged colours and one major difference; the galloping horse badge on the grill.
But there’s been a decidedly mixed reaction to the Mustang’s homologation to meet Supercars standards.
The enormous wing is a particular sore point with many but not McLaughlin.
“I love it. The rear wing is a big talking point with a lot of people,” he said.
“Its nice to see it with the proper colours … those stickers on it it looks really cool. I reckon it looks tough.”
The Mustang reveal took place with the help of team legend Dick Johnson, replacing the soft launch last month when the Mustang was covered head-to-toe in a blue camouflage.
“From when everybody first saw it with the blue camo, it disguised the look of the car probably too good,” Coulthard said.
“Now you see the shape of the car, the lines, I think it looks awesome.
“Half the battle is looking good and I think we’ve ticked that box.”
The car will debut on a race track in three days time, in testing at Phillip Island, before the season-opening Adelaide 500 begins on February 28.
Team director Ryan Story cut a delighted, if fatigued, figure at the launch after overseeing a summer of labour.
“We’re ecstatic with how the car has come together and how it looks in our 2019 warpaint … and are hopeful of continuing the success we’ve enjoyed in recent years,” he said.
Story acknowledged the divisive reaction, agreeing there was always a trade-off between form and function – or aesthetics and performance.
“It was always going to be a little bit polarising in terms of the decisions we had to make to make sure we met the rules of Supercars and effectively fitting a Mustang into the controlled chassis,” he said.
“The primary player in the development of the car was Ford Performance so the hint is probably in the name.
“Brian Novak form Ford Performance put it best when he said ‘there are no ugly cars in victory lane’.”