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Let’s Compare Ford and Toyota’s New Cup Series Cars

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Joshua Lipowski

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Toyota and Ford will both have brand new car bodies on their 2024 Cup Series entrants. Despite the Next-Gen car being mainly a spec car, some subtle differences can be noted between the new Ford Mustang and the new Toyota Camry.

A Closer Look at the Toyota Camry XSE

This car mimics the road version of the 2024 Toyota Camry XSE. The Camry is the only car model that Toyota has used in the Cup Series since it entered the sport in 2007. The best way to describe this car is smooth.

In contrast to the Ford model, which we will look at in a bit, the Camry is generally very smooth all across the body. Yes, there are some subtle dimples, particularly around the right front and left front brake ducts and on the rear bumper. However, the car appears to be very sleek and smooth in design.

The philosophy seems to be simplicity with aerodynamics which has the benefit of being less dependent on clean air to work properly. It also means there is a less disturbed dirty air wake behind the car, which should theoretically make following the car a bit easier. This is the philosophy behind some of the recent rule changes in Formula One to mitigate the issues of dirty air. The Ford Mustang is a bit different.

A Closer Look at the Ford Mustang Dark Horse

The new Ford Mustang is meant to mimic the real-life Ford Mustang Dark Horse. The Mustang has been Ford’s Cup Series flagship since 2019, and it has a much different design philosophy.

Whereas the Toyota Camry XSE appears to be as silky smooth as can be, the Mustang has some subtle sharp edges. The most notable ones are on the right front and left front fenders just above the wheel, and the rear wheel-well paper protrudes further outward than before. It appears Ford is trying to channel the air to specific parts of the car.

This makes the aerodynamics of the car a bit more complex. This can create a slightly more turbulent wake behind the Ford, which makes the car harder to follow in dirty air. However, it also makes the car harder to drive in dirtier air because of the slightly more complex aerodynamics.

Which Will Be Better?

It is impossible to tell until the cars hit the track in 2024, but, these two cars do have different philosophies. It also could produce some separation between manufacturers with the Next-Gen car. The car has been mainly a spec car since it was introduced, but, the manufacturers are starting to get more creative with body styling.

The Ford may be slightly better in cleaner air, but it may struggle some when following other cars. The Toyota may struggle some in cleaner air, but, it may follow cars better than the Ford does.

To those who have been complaining the cars are too equal, there will be three very distinct cars on track in 2024. There is the new Ford, the new Toyota, and the old Chevrolet. The difference between the manufacturers will be something to watch for in 2024.

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Joshua Lipowski

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