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1986 Mustang Probe

The second-generation Mustang GTP (GTPrototype) was called the Mustang Probe and appeared on the racing scene in 1985. The earlier GTP program, started in 1981, produced very lightweight and sophisticated race cars, but the Probe was a completely redesigned car, the only similarity being a modified version of the engine. In the Probe, the 4-cylinder, DOHC, turbocharged 128 cubic-inch (2.1 liter) engine produced 650 horsepower @ 8800 rpm. With a curb weight of 1985 pounds, the car was predicted to be fast. The Porsche 962s, however, with their 6-cylinder boxer engines and more development time, proved very hard to beat. But piloted by 1979 Le Mans overall winner Klaus Ludwig, the Probe won GTP at Laguna Seca, won poles at Road America and Columbus, and finished in the top five in six other starts. Said Ludwig at the time, “With the Probe, we have the best-handling car in the world right now, and the safest.” Its safety was proven in dramatic fashion in front of a national television audience when driver Lyn St. James survived a horrific crash in a Probe at Riverside. After only a handful of Probes were built, and having been unable to successfully challenge the Porsches or offer a customer version of the car, Ford allowed the Probe program to end the following year.