DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. will wave green flag for a year-long recognition of Mustang’s 50th anniversary this week with a special Aluminator XS-powered Ford Mustang GT pacing the field for Saturday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is the honorary pace car driver for the event and will start the race behind the wheel. Full-time NASCAR pace car driver Brett Bodine will pilot the Mustang GT Aluminator XS pace car for the remainder of the event.
“We can think of no better way to begin Mustang’s 50th anniversary celebration than by having one of our most technologically advanced Mustangs pace one of NASCAR’s most historically significant traditional races,” said Tim Duerr, Ford Racing marketing manager.
The Mustang GT pace car started its life as a 420-horsepower 2013 Mustang GT, but with the Aluminator XS crate engine and a mix of parts from the Ford Racing Boss 302S and the Cobra Jet programs, it makes 500 horsepower.
The Aluminator XS engine features a lightweight aluminum cylinder block with cross-bolted main bearing caps and thick main bearing bulkheads for bottom-end strength. It has four-valve-per-cylinder BOSS, fully CNC-machined aluminum heads. In addition, the 5-liter, 302 cubic-inch powerplant features forged pistons with low-friction coating.
A small sampling of the Ford Racing additions include: camshafts, Cobra Jet-tuned air intake, throttle body and 47-pound fuel injectors.
To handle the increase in power, it also has a complete Ford Racing handling package with adjustable shocks and struts, lowering springs and adjustable sway bar. The wheels have been updated to 19 x 9.5-inch SVT forged aluminum.
Mustang’s 50th anniversary celebrations will begin with concurrent events April 17-20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ford Motor Co. and its dealers will host other national and local anniversary events throughout 2014.