While Chevrolet’s Camaro SS has served as the iconic Indianapolis 500 pace car for ages, the blue oval hopes to shake things up a bit after a 40 year absence from the Daytona 500 when a 2011 Ford Mustang GT is used to lead the grid around the oval on February 14th, this is quite a move considering that the 412 HP 21st century 5.0 will be the first Ford to serve as the pace car for NASCAR’s biggest race since a Torino GT convertible guided the pack back in 1970.
The Mustang GT Daytona 500 Pace Car will feature a special Daytona 500 Race Red livery with American inspired racing stripes in white and blue. Underneath the new sheet metal, the new GT will have a the all new 32 valve 5.0 Liter V8 that makes over 400 HP on low octane gasoline and 390 lb-ft of torque while returning 25 MPG. In order to handle repeated trips around the high banking, the Mustang will be equipped with a Ford Racing suspension and strut tower brace to keep the car tracking straight while unique color matching wheels wrapped in high performance rubber and a set of loud pipes so that the fans will hear it coming.
After the big race, the Mustang pace car will roll across the auction block on January 23rd at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with its special interior adornments, lit sill plates and all. Not to mention that this will be one of the first 5.0s to have a VIN stamped on it which will only increase the pony car’s collectibility.
Updated 01/19/10: Official details revealed. Check them out after the jump.
Press release after the jump.
Ford’s new 2011 Mustang GT will serve as the Official Pace Car at this year’s 52nd Daytona 500, the first time in 40 years a Ford vehicle has paced NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race.
Under the hood of the Mustang GT Glass Roof Coupe will be Ford’s all-new 5.0-liter V-8, which will be available to customers in dealer showrooms this spring.
“This is the resurgence of Ford, and pacing the field at the Daytona 500 is a great opportunity to showcase all of the technology that the new 2011 Mustang 5.0 brings to deliver 412 horsepower and projected unsurpassed highway mileage of 25 mpg,” said Mark Fields, president, The Americas.
Before the new Ford Mustang takes to the track, one lucky enthusiast will have the rare opportunity to own the pace car pony and help a deserving charity at the same time.
The Race Red Mustang, which carries a special Daytona 500 striped paint scheme, will be auctioned at the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction on Jan. 23 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, in Scottsdale, Ariz. The event will be televised live on the SPEED
channel. All proceeds from the car over MSRP will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a leader in research leading to a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
“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.”
According to Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson, while many collectors have experienced the thrill of buying pace vehicles and historic racers on the Barrett-Jackson auction block, buying a pace car before it hits the track has never happened before at the famed auction house.
“It would be a thrill to own this early VIN, one-of-one 2011 Mustang GT Glass Roof Coupe Daytona 500 Pace Car and watch it lead the famous race in February,” he said. “And knowing that you helped an amazing organization like JDRF would make it even better.”
This is the first time in four decades that a Ford Motor Company vehicle will pace the Daytona 500. The last time was in 1970 when the Ford Torino GT convertible had the honors.
In addition to the special paint, the Mustang pace car features a Brembo brake package, Ford Racing suspension, strut tower brace and mufflers, unique 19-inch painted wheels, summer-only tires and a special interior treatment, including lit sill plates. It also carries an early VIN and will be among the first 2011 Mustang GT 5.0-liter V-8s made available for sale to the public.
2011 Ford Mustang GT: Heritage, high technology and horsepower
The all-new 5.0-liter V-8 engine is the next chapter in the development of the world-class Mustang powertrain portfolio, delivering the performance and fun-to-drive factor that enthusiasts want, while improving fuel economy.
The modern 5.0-liter four-valve Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing V-8 engine in the new Mustang GT will deliver 412 horsepower and 390 ft.-lb of torque. At the same time, fuel economy is projected to be better than the previous model and unsurpassed in the segment. For 2011, the new Mustang GT adds specially tuned Electric Power Assist Steering, 11.5-inch front and 11.8-inch rear vented disc brakes, and an enhanced suspension featuring an improved rear lower control arm and stiffened rear stabilizer bushings.
A Brembo brake package upgrade – featuring larger rotors and calipers from the Ford Shelby GT500® Mustang – will be available for serious enthusiasts. Unique 19-inch wheels and summer performance tires also will be offered.
The new Mustang GT also offers drivers new convenience technologies, including:
Standard message center
Integrated blind spot mirrors
MyKey™ programmable vehicle key
From the signature 5.0 fender badges to the new engine cover, Mustang GT honors and continues the proud heritage of its predecessors. The speedometer increases to 160 mph, and the tachometer redline advances from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm.
Three vibrant new colors are being added for 2011; along with Race Red, these include Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat and Ingot Silver.