Even before Roush Fenway Racing unveiled their entry into the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, buzz was building about Ford’s official release of the deets and specs on the 2011 Mustang GT. When the presser was held for the No. 16 Con-way Freight Mustang this past October, it was clear that Ford’s marketing team was working overtime with its FRPP division and racing partners, such as Roush Fenway, to breathe new life into the Mustang brand. There was a potential Catch-22 though: would the CIA-level secretive work of Ford’s design and engineering teams match the enthusiasm of the PR effort? Muscle car junkies around the world waited for the word. Think of it this way:
Cue up your favorite road warrior music, and close your eyes for a moment. Take a deep, dual-exhaust cleansing breath. You’re standing in line at a world-class amusement park, waiting for your turn to board the newest and most awesome roller coaster ride on the property. Remove those earrings, eyeglasses, and loose jewelry. Anticipation, anticipation. You’re itching to be shot out of the barrel of a cannon. Now, open your eyes. It’s 2010.
Your ride has arrived — and it’s pacing the kickoff of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season this Sunday in Daytona…
The 2011 Mustang GT’s newly designed 5.0L V8 power plant is truly a hoss. Sporting an impressive 412 horsepower and 390 ft-lb torque right off of the showroom floor, the 32 valve DOHC engine, coupled with a 6 speed manual transmission, was built to deliver amusement park G’s (and turn heads) when the green light flashes. And turn heads it will, especially at NASCAR’s inaugural race of the 2010 season. When drivers roar past the starting line at the Daytona 500 on February 14th, they’ll be led by a 2011 Mustang GT pace car.
It’s hard to believe that it has been 40 years since a Ford muscle car (a Torino GT) led the pack at Daytona, especially with the Mustang’s racing tradition. After previewing the new Mustang GT, it’s easy to believe that it won’t be another 40.
“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, Ford Motor Company.
Indeed. And Ford took the pace car honor one step further. On January 23rd, the actual pace car and a sweet swag package, including a first class trip to Daytona, were auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Az. The actual Daytona pace car fetched a final bid of $330,000 — in fact, four of the top ten cars in the auction were Mustangs. (Click here for a great slide show of the event at Barrett-Jackson.) And adding to the excitement at Barrett-Jackson, Carroll Shelby rolled out the new, limited edition build of the GT350. Shelby American plans to cap production at around 2,200 GT350′s, with 100 units already on order.
Prior to the auction, Ford announced that it was donating all proceeds over MSRP to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help find a cure for childhood 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.
The 2011 Mustang GT will be available in dealer showrooms this coming spring. While an actual sticker price hasn’t yet been officially released, Left Lane News reports that a bump over 2010 pricing is expected. The base model GT will come with an MSRP of around $30,000, and a tricked out convertible GT (with premium electronics package) will clock in about $40,000.
Ford is also building an additional 50 replicas of the Mustang GT 2010 Daytona pace car. If you want one of those ponies, get in line quickly – and be prepared to open your wallet.
(Football is soooo last week. The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season kicks off with the 2011 Mustang GT pacing the Daytona 500 field this Sunday on Fox at 1PM EST! Check your local listings for the Fox station in your area.)