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2024 Mustang To Pace Seven Major NASCAR Races

In a tradition that goes back over 90 years, Ford will take its 2024 Mustang to the Martinsville Speedway, where the new model will pace three major events during the weekend. It is the first of seven high-speed NASCAR races this year where the Mustang will serve as the pace car.

For decades, when an automaker has had an exciting new vehicle, they usually offer it as a pace car at a major track. Time and again in the last 50 years, fans have seen early renditions of new models operating with a set of gumball lights atop a magnetic bar either leading the start or restarts of major races, usually on NASCAR ovals.

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Now, even before the 2024 model year has kicked off – we’re still in the middle of the 2023 model year – Ford is showing off its 2024 Mustang GT beginning this weekend at the Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, VA. This weekend all three of NASCAR’s top touring series will compete at the speedway.

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Mustang To Pace Seven NASCAR Races

According to the automaker, this will mark the first of seven NASCAR races that the seventh-generation Mustang GT will pace this year.

The other NASCAR races include Talladega (April 21-23), Dover (April 29-30), Darlington (May 12-14), Nashville (June 23-25), Chicago (June 30-July 2), and the annual Labor Day Weekend at Darlington (Sept. 1-3).

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“We’ve had great success racing Mustang globally, including winning last year’s NASCAR championship,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. “Racing leads to better-informed development of products, and seeing the all-new Mustang GT setting the pace at NASCAR makes this connection even stronger with our customers and fans.”

The Grabber Blue Mustang GT Pace car is stock, other than pace car visibility items, including the light bar and custom Ford Performance and Mustang exterior graphics.

Most Powerful Mustang GT 5.0-liter V-8

At the core of making the all-new Mustang the most exhilarating and visceral Mustang is a new fourth-generation Coyote V8 engine. The available active-valve performance exhaust system enables the Mustang GT coupe and convertible to deliver 486 horsepower and 418 pounds-feet of torque. Beyond the boost in power, the system’s free-flowing design delivers a custom-V-8 sound with the ability to close the valves to restrict the car’s noise.

Those opting for the standard Mustang GT still enjoy 480 horsepower -- the most standard power in a naturally aspirated V-8-powered Mustang ever. In addition, the engine delivers 415 pounds-feet of torque for the most standard torque ever.

The fourth-generation Coyote V-8 features a segment-first, dual intake, and dual throttle body induction system matched with structural improvements and an upgraded oil pan. This helps minimize induction loss by enabling higher air flow rates.

For Mustang GT and Mustang Dark Horse, horsepower and torque ratings are the same for automatic and manual transmissions.

Behind the 2024 Mustang’s chiseled exterior lies the most technologically advanced, driver-centric cockpit of any Mustang to date.

Design That Matches Power

Its low, horizontal brow across the front emphasizes overall frontal width, while the upper grille design shape is influenced by the original Mustang’s 1960s design. The Tri-Bar LED headlamps continue the Mustang’s classic lighting signature. Its sleek roofline, broad sprinting stance, and shortened rear overhang are also true to the authentic proportions of the first generation, while the widened rear haunches point to the power over the wheels in true Mustang style.

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The roofline is optimized for driver entry and exit without removing their helmet on the track. An extended rear deck houses a new crisp signature tri-bar lighting and redesigned diffuser for improved aerodynamic balance in the rear.

Inside, there’s a fighter jet-inspired digital cockpit, and under its hood is a choice of two advanced engines – a 2.3-liter EcoBoost or a 5.0-liter V8.

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Mustang and NASCAR

Regarding racing Mustang in NASCAR, Brad Keselowski leads all active Ford drivers with two NASCAR Cup Series wins at Martinsville. Defending champion Joey Logano has one victory and five poles.

Ford has registered 30 all-time victories at the half-mile paperclip-shaped oval, which began hosting NASCAR races in 1949.

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Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, “You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Only a few people know that I also handled computer documentation for most of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.