Not only is the 2011 Ford Mustang bringing back the heritage behind the 5.0-liter V-8 engine, but it will also give Ford Motor Company some prestigious face time as the official pace car for one of the world's most popular automotive racing events: NASCAR's Daytona 500. Despite the Mustang's lengthy history in motorsports, this will mark the first time the storied pony car has ever paced the 'Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing.'? Even as an automaker, Ford Motor Company hasn't paced the great race since the 1970 Ford Torino GT led the field around the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
As is the case with any showcase pace car, the 2011 Ford Mustang GT will be done up in a unique paint scheme with a distinctive coloring and body kit. All cars will be glass roof models with a Race Red coloring, unique wheels and multiple Daytona 500 logos. Even more eye-catching than the exterior color is the red, white and blue stripes that match the iconic Mustang logo and run the length of the car (except along the glass roof). Other changes include a sport-tuned suspension by Ford Racing, a strut tower brace, sport mufflers and an interior treatment exclusive to the pace car.
This will be the first non-GM car to pace 'The Great American Race'? since 1972 with a long list of Pontiacs and Chevrolets leading the field since then. During that time, Pontiac fielded a car for 31 straight years including a Pontiac Aztek in 2001! To commemorate the 2010 Daytona 500 pace car, Ford will build 50 special edition Mustangs that will be sold to the public. No pricing has been announced for the pace car replicas, but with such a limited number going into production, it will surely become an instant collectable.
Ford will be auctioning off the very first pace car at this weekend's Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. with the proceeds of the car going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). According to Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson, the 2011 Ford Mustang Daytona 500 pace car will be the first time that the auction house has sold a pace car before it even paced its first race.
'Over the past three years, Ford is proud to have raised more than $2 million for JDRF through the sales of vehicles at Barrett-Jackson,'? said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. 'This year, one lucky bidder will not only experience the thrill of seeing his or her 2011 Mustang pacing the Daytona 500 in front of 43 of the world's greatest race car drivers, but will contribute toward finding a cure for juvenile diabetes at the same time.'?
Whoever wins the auction won't just be getting the official pace car, her or she will also be purchasing one of the first 2011 Mustang GTs to be available for sale including the return of the 5.0-liter V-8. This all-new DOHC V-8 produces 412 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, and it utilizes twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to give it an estimated 25 miles per gallon on the highway.