NASCAR has never been short on cool pace cars. The Chevy Corvette comes to mind, as does the Toyota Cam... Supra. I meant Supra. The latest is a 2024 Ford Mustang GT in Grabber Blue, which puts the S650 generation car front and center for America to see. It debuts this weekend at Martinsville where it'll lead the Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series fields around the half-mile track.
Since it's the new model, this Mustang GT features an upgraded 5.0-liter Coyote V8 that makes 486 horsepower—assuming it has the active valve exhaust. If it doesn't, the naturally aspirated lump still produces no fewer than 480 ponies. That's a mighty number, even if it's not quite as much as the Mustang Cup Car's 670 (or so) hp.
Ford notes the pace car is stock aside from the special graphics and lighting, which you tragically can't buy at your local Blue Oval dealer. Sad, I know. Still, it fully represents the newly unveiled Mustang with its sharpened, more serious front fascia and angular rear end that sports a sharply creased trunk. There's no fancy, unobtainable aero or body kit here. Just the same hood scoop, wide fenders, and shallow decklid spoiler you'll spot on normal production models.
NASCAR's Cup Series enters the Martinsville race weekend with Christopher Bell leading the championship hunt by 13 points over Ross Chastain. Bell actually won the last time they raced there, but his spotlight was stolen by Chastain, who rode the wall for a video game pass on the last lap for fifth place. Don't expect him to recreate that move this time around—he already said he won't, and NASCAR banned it.
You'll see the Mustang GT pop up at other NASCAR race weekends this year, too, like Talladega (April 21-23), Dover (April 29-30), Darlington (May 12-14), Nashville (June 23-25), Chicago (June 30-July 2), and Darlington (Sept. 1-3).
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