Images Courtesey of Mike Literas

We are only a few days away from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, where the auto industry really shines every year. Ford has invited us to some big events, and we’re hopeful the main focus of their show this year is performance vehicles. One of the cars we’re hoping to see is the GT350R, in both street and race trim.

This weekend also happens to be the kickoff for racing season in Florida, including the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The last two years Mustangs have struggled, but we’ve heard rumors since last September that the GT350R is coming to IMSA to go toe to toe with the Porsches, BMWs, and Z/28.R that have been dominating the series.

StangTV and IMSA fan Mike Literas, happened to be walking the pits at the Dayton Roar Before the 24 this afternoon when he came across a camouflaged S550 bodied Mustang being moved by the Multimatic racing team from the tech area back to the hauler. Given that Multimatic typically tests the latest Ford innovations before they go to full scale production, and the slip last year that they were working on the GT350R project, we can only assume this is that car. It’s also obvious, the more you look at the car, the more standard GT350 cues you can spot.

The car, which appears to be decked out for racing with roll cage, external hood fasteners, and what we assume is a full stripping of anything not intended to make it go faster, only made a brief appearance, and idled its way through the pit area. Literas said the Mutlimatic guys were quick to get the car back out of the open.

The other key feature that sticks out, is the large rear wing on this car. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, which the car is likely competing in has very rigid rules for each competitor. With engines often wearing restrictor plates, and the cars bearing a strong resemblance to their street going siblings, since their built on production chassis.

Seeing the GT350R at Daytona gives us hope for the Mustang in multiple racing classes this year. We can’t wait to see, and hear it in action, and we’re hopeful a street going version will be revealed by Ford at the NAIAS in Detroit next week. We’ll keep you posted as more develops, until then, feel free to comment below on the differences you spot between this car and the GT350 that debuted in LA a few weeks ago.