“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.

It’s the stuff dreams are made of. One lucky enthusiast will have the rare opportunity to own the new 2011 Ford Mustang GT that will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 52nd Daytona 500 prior to the race. (Image: Ford)

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.