Shelby’s new 2011 GT350 Mustang may have already been publicly unveiled, but the hopped-up ponycar will have its first race debut as the pace car at the Shelby American Sprint Cup NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on February 28.
“When we unveiled the new 2011 Shelby GT350 last month, fans clamored for the car to pace this NASCAR race,” said Amy Boylan, president of Shelby American. “Since so much of the GT350 was developed on the road course, drag strip and oval of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was appropriate to show off the Shelby’s handling there during the race. It will be exciting to watch a Shelby GT350 lead a race for the first time since 1970.”
Not only that, but it will be both the first time a Shelby GT350 has ever paced a NASCAR race and the first-ever opportunity for the public to see the modern interpretation at speed. Until now, the public has only seen it sitting on the stand at the Barrett-Jackson auction where it made a surprise debut last month.
“The Shelby GT350 was designed to be nimble and powerful,” said Gary Davis, vice president of production for Shelby American. “Beginning with the new 2011 ‘small block’ Ford Mustang GT, we created a car that is as fun to drive as the 1965-1970 model year Shelby GT350 but thoroughly modern. It’s a true driver’s car.”
Based on the 2011 Ford Mustang GT, the Shelby GT350 celebrates its 45th Anniversary with a radical new look, a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine believed to produce more than 500 horsepower, a hopped-up suspension, and big sticky tires. For the race, it will be outfitted with a light bar and a full compliment of logos and decals in true pace car fashion. NASCAR even went so far as to change the name of the race to the Shelby American Sprint Cup race in honor of both the GT350 and the Cobra 427’s 45th Anniversary.
If you have the wherewithal to get yourself to Vegas on short notice, the race weekend begins Friday, February 26 with qualifying, followed by the Sams Town 300 Nationwide race on Saturday and the main event on Sunday.
Source: Shelby American