Ford knows it has a formidably high bar to step over with the Mach-E, the all-electric CUV that co-opts the Mustang’s branding and styling. It’s a bar that, to be frank, Ford will never reach—since, to diehard enthusiasts, a Mustang is strictly defined as a two-door pony car—but that hasn’t stopped Ford from trying to prove the haters wrong with the rowdy Mach-E 1400 Prototype.
The Mach-E 1400 adds five additional motors to the Mach-E GT’s twin-unit setup. Packaging aside, the thought of flirting with 2000 lb-ft of torque is tempting, especially for Vaughn Gittin, Jr., the Formula D champ and owner of RTR Vehicles who hoons around the Mach-E 1400 in the video below.
“Now is the perfect time to leverage electric technology, learn from it, and apply it to our lineup,” said Ron Heiser, chief program engineer for the Mustang Mach-E. “Mustang Mach-E is going to be fun to drive, just like every other Mustang before it, but Mustang Mach-E 1400 is completely insane, thanks to the efforts of Ford Performance and RTR.”
Ford worked with RTR to build the Mach-E 1400 out of a body-in-white and prep it for exhibition runs all over the U.S., starting with a yet-to-be-announced NASCAR event. The 10,000-hour build was a unique challenge for the drift shop, which typically prepares S550 Mustangs for war in professional drifting.
Keen-eyed readers will notice the spread of vehicles in Ford’s debut video, reflecting the motorsport niches Ford specifically wants to impress, with road racing, drifting, and NASCAR being the prime targets. The goal here isn’t to convince the racers and teams; most are on-board with the performance advantages of an EV race car (ironically, the delay comes chiefly from regulating bodies, which haven’t written the necessary rule books). Instead, this hype video is aimed at the public—specifically, the public that’s hesitant to buy an EV to use as a daily driver.
The Mach-E 1400, however, is no street cruiser. The driveline brings monumental advantages to a typical race car and a level of flexibility unseen in conventional engine and transmission configurations. An EV can torque-vector front and back on demand, but not by sharing the total amount of power split between two axles from a single-engine; instead, it simply throttles a single axle’s motors independently so that one can over-power the other on the driver’s whim. This is what allows the Mach-E 1400 to tackle diverse motorsports exhibitions; it can tailor its power output to the intended surface and driving style, totally free of the mechanical limitations of typical AWD systems.
The fight for racing shops and home-gamers will be, as it has been for decades now, getting the electrical system to comply—and it’s notable that the factory dash and UI are still present in Vaughn’s chariot, as it shows that they’ve managed to free the car of most of its production sensibilities without the computer system losing its mind, but we wonder how much of the 10,000 man-hours were spent in this specific area. Already, modern CAN-Bus integrated cars will throw hissy fits over even a swapped steering wheel losing the radio buttons, which can have a major butterfly effect on systems like the traction and stability controls by tripping accidental safeguards.
The challenge is this: No one questioned whether EVs would be capable of blistering performance—just glance at VW’s ID.R or Genovation’s GXE or Rimac’s C_Two. If Ford wants to talk mass-produced, street-legal EV performance, however, I want that silent, tire-shredding power in the S550—an honest, light-weight Mustang.