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Lightining Fast

LIGHTNING FAST

The latest Mustang Mach 1 might just be an underappreciated performer

When Ford revealed the return of the Mustang Mach 1, the company described it as the pinnacle of style, handling, and 5.0-liter V8 performance. Designed to bridge the gap between the base Mustangs and the halo Shelbys, this specialty model draws upon engineering from both lines to deliver a high level of performance.

With styling steered by both its heritage moniker and the science of the wind tunnel, the modern Mach 1 applied the same 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque that propelled the now-defunct Bullitt in such a way as to approach the prowess of the Shelby GT350, despite a deficit of 46 horsepower and 9 lb-ft of torque.

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At least that’s how the engineers designed it, but the 2021 Mach 1’s recent performance in Car and Driver’s vaunted Lightning Lap competition demonstrates that the Mach 1 can exceed its GT350 cousin in some instances. We were told it was hot on the Shelby’s heels on a tight track, but even on the sprawling Virginia International Raceway course, it managed an impressive feat.

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With a2:51.4-minute lap time, the Mach 1 bested the lauded Shelby GT350R by 0.4seconds. That earned the car top honors in the competition’s LL2 classdesignated for affordable performers that sticker for $65,000 or less. With thatkind of credential, it is worth viewing the latest Mach 1 through a new lens. Itis a potent performer with a relatively reasonable price tag, and that issomething to celebrate.

 

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While it might always be viewed as a little brother to the celebrated GT350, the latest Mustang Mach 1 out performedthe Shelby during Car and Driver’s Lightning Lap competition.

Drawing on engineering from the likes of the Bullitt, PPL2, ShelbyGT350, and Shelby GT500, the Mach 1 benefits from engineering that makes the sum of these parts a potent, well-put-together performer.

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