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2021 Mustang Mach 1 Will Reportedly Hang With Shelby GT500 On The Track (Updated)

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When Ford unveiled the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 back in June, it confidently stated that the reborn model would represent “the epitome” of naturally-aspirated, 5.0L Coyote V8 performance. And since it’s effectively replacing the Shelby GT350 in the Ford Mustang lineup, we’d certainly hope so. But it seems that the new Mach 1 might be an even better performer on the track than those lofty words initially indicated.

“Mach 1 has always fit in between GT and whatever the performance derivative was at the time,” Mustang brand manager, Jim Owens, told Ford Authority executive editor, Alex Luft, in a recent interview. “Now, the Mach 1 is positioned between the GT and GT500, but it drives much closer to the GT500 from a handling standpoint. It’s above the PPL2… like, an entire step above it. We’re not going to offer PPL 2 because of it.”

This explains why Ford decided to discontinue the Mustang Performance Package 2, which we reported last week. But the Mach 1 also utilizes quite a bit of the PP2’s equipment as well. “In the Mach 1, we’ve incorporated all of PPL2, plus the MagneRide, plus Pilot Sport Cup 2s, plus the calibration, and it’s just unbelievable,” Owens said.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

The 2021 Mustang Mach 1 is so good on the track, in fact, that it can even hang with the mighty 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, apparently. “On a short road course, the Mach 1 will be very, very close to the GT500,” Owens said. “Now, once you get to the longer stuff, that’s different – you have the supercharged 5.2L that will gain an advantage. But on a short course, within spitting distance of the GT500.”

As far as how Ford managed to work that kind of magic with the Mach 1, well, you can just say that it has learned a lot about the Mustang platform over the last few years, as is the case with every generation. “So you have to follow the lineage and learnings,” Owens said. “We don’t just do a Mach 1. In 2003-2004, we had the knowledge on the Gen 4 platform, it was the year before the 2005 S197 came out, so we had a lot of learnings on the Gen 4 platform that allowed Ford to do the Mach 1.”

Regardless, this is encouraging news for anyone looking to score a serious track Mustang for a reasonable price. While the GT500 can crest $100k depending on how it’s optioned, the Mach 1 will start out at less than $53k. And at that price, it’s shaping up to be a real performance bargain.

Update: Ford has reached out to say that Jim “mistakenly said GT500 when he actually meant to say GT350.” So take that into account as you read this story.

We’ll have much more on the 2021 Mach 1 soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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    • 1. The name is “Mustang Shelby GT350” and “Mustang Shelby GT350R.” The Cobra name is not used on these models. Its important to call these products by their correct name so as to avoid confusion.
      2. Ford is simply saying that the Mach 1 is a very capable machine on a road course. Comparing Mach 1 to Shelby GT350, the only significant difference is the engine… but the power variation isn’t all that much between the Voodoo and the tuned Coyote in the Mach 1.

      • I don’t think , I know that it’s very important U get the name right. So let me “ SCHOOL U“ there’s A Cobra on the grill, rear panel and Steering wheel. That makes it “ A Cobra”. To all the lazy know it alls it’s called GT350/GT350R to Ford and Real Enthusiast it’s Shelby 🐍GT350 / Shelby 🐍GT350R, Shelby 🐍GT500 / Shelby 🐍GT500KR, Shelby 🐍GT500CF. Am sure U didn’t learn nothing your EXCUSED anyway

          • Roy I worked on the Mustang for years and you are factually incorrect here.

            The current batch of Shelbys are not called Cobras. The Cobra name was last used years ago by Ford under license from Shelby American. The S550 generation Mustang Shelby models produced by Ford today including GT350, GT350R and GT500 never used the Cobra name because Ford never licensed it to begin with.

            It takes a big man to accept when he’s wrong. Are you man enough?

            • Yes I am you never worked for Ford and your wrong. Me not agreeing with you or anyone else is your opinion doesn’t mean am wrong.

          • 1st of all it’s a Emblem not a word, little do you know.Ford did it that way to shorten up the name of the car. Any Mustang with a Cobra Emblem on it is a Cobra I know it’s hard for you to understand but it that simple

            • The official name of the car is Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, Roy.

              The cobra a badge represents the Shelby models, but the word Cobra is not part of the name. No matter how you spin it, you’re wrong Roy.

              But hey, what did you guys expect from a guy who doesn’t even know that his last name does not contain an apostrophe.

              • The Cobra emblem does not Represent Shelby at all it Represents Cobra period. Ford was using Cobra emblem and word without Shelby, My cousin has a 78 King Cobra, I have a 04 Cobra same emblems either car don’t represent Shelby You might not like it your wrong

                • Roy, you are at this point a troll, for all intents and purposes. The day you admit you’re wrong is the day you jump from your ego down to your IQ. That’s not something you’d survive.
                  Feel free to point out a source that backs you up that’s NOT a domain you own. I’ll wait. In vain, but I’ll wait.

  1. Ford is offering the Mach 1 as the replacement for the GT350 and the PP2 Mustang GT at a price thousands less than the GT350. The winner is the consumer looking for a track ready Mustang that looks fantastic.

    • Ford is offering you a BULLITT Mustang added more colors with Shelby 🐍GT350 parts and calling it a MACH 1. Let’s see who wins and how many they sale 2019/20 BULLITT still on the lots with $10k over sticker this will be $10k/$20k over sticker

  2. Its not a Bullitt Roy, the only thing I would say it has from the Bullitt is the engine; hell I think the new Mach 1 is more closer to a 5.0 PPL2 (just with the Bullitt motor and TREMEC 6-speed manual transmission from the GT350) either way it will perform better then both on the track without spending $61,600 for a new base GT350

    • Roy – Mach 1 is not a BULLITT. It has the engine mods from the BULLITT, and that’s about it. The suspension was completely redone, as was the aero. Mach 1 also has a different manual transmission.

      You know how everyone picks on you for being wrong? Well, it’s because you are way off in pretty much everything you say.

  3. Both of you just said Wht I said it a BULLITT with Cobra GT350 Tranny and suspension parts, A BOSS grill and chin spoiler Which it should have been named but Ford renamed It MACH 1. At $60-$70k I’ll take the Cobra GT350 any day in the future the Voodoo will b worth more

  4. Don’t be so easy to please Ford build a parts bin Mustang BULLITT add stripes and rename it and everyone wet their pants. This BULLITT MACH 1 has 36hp more than my 13 BOSS 302 RoadRunner which is well over 500+hp today with TR6060 and chassis upgrades Hell the 15 Z28 has 505hp, so this is far from being a great buy at $60K plus these will be sitting in the lots just like the BULLITT, Am DONE and DONE with you ?????

  5. In my humble opinion, I love the Mach 1 iteration. I know this will sound a bit like heresy but, the beefed up Coyote has a much more usual power range than the VooDoo ever had, take this aspect plus, have you ever looked at all the counterweights underneath a GT 350? There’s a reason for these, and none of them are good!

    In conclusion, I think the combination of the best chassis bits with a pumped up Coyote, make the best all around performance package for whatever on track or on road adventures one would want to entertain.

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