2011 Ford Mustang to Pace Daytona 500

For the first time in more than 40 years, a Ford product will serve as the pace car at the Daytona 500. Ford has provided a specially prepared version of its new 2011 Mustang GT -- equipped with the new 5.0-liter V-8 -- to help set the pace at the Daytona International Speedway.

Apart from the requisite strobe lighting, the pace car is essentially a stock 2011 Mustang GT. Ford's equipped it with a suspension kit and mufflers sourced from its Ford Racing operations, and the car will be painted in a special paint scheme. Unlike prior pace cars, there will be no replicas available to the general public, but the actual pace car will ultimately be auctioned for charity.

Although a 2010 Camaro will pace the 2010 Indianapolis 500, Ford's placement of its refreshed pony car may yield a marketing trump card. Viewership for the Daytona 500 is fairly close to the Super Bowl -- a reported 20 million viewers worldwide tuned in for the 2006 race.

The Mustang will kick off the first race of the 2010 NASCAR season on February 14. The upcoming event marks the 52nd running of the famed race and will be the first chance for Jimmy Johnson to defend his title.

Source: Mustang Heaven

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