The sleuths over at the Blue Oval Forums have dug up next year’s ordering guide for the 2021 Ford Mustang, and for lovers of the sleepy Performance Pack 2 track kit, they’ll have to pony up for the Mach 1 if they want the most bang for their buck.
The move comes on the heels of Ford discontinuing the GT350 as well, slimming down the crowd of middle-siblings in the performance line-up ahead of the Mach 1’s release. Ford will continue to offer the essential Performance Pack 1, which equips the GT with staggered 19-inch wheels (9- and 9.5-inches wide front and rear, respectively) with a sure-footed 255mm/275mm-wide tire combo, Brembo brakes, Torsen diff, and other accoutrements, but the razor-focused Performance Pack 2 (with its steamroller 305mm Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s wrapped around 10.5- and 11-inch-wide wheels—still 19 inches in diameter), additional aero package, and beefier cooling system were a favorite for drivers who were pumped to have an alternative to the Camaro SS 1LE or Corvette for various classes in road racing and autocross. The result was a machine that even we would hesitate to change, a balanced pony car that punched outside of its reputation.
All is not lost for those who are looking for a high-performance Mustang but don’t need the lunatic acceleration of the GT350R or especially the GT500: the upcoming Mach 1. It culminates many of the finer points of the Performance Pack 2 and GT350 packages, starting with bringing the Shelby’s more capable cooling system down to the lower-priced Mach 1, including the much-needed rear differential cooling system in extended track use. The Tremec 3160 from the GT350 is another welcome upgrade over the Getrac MT-82 found in the Mustang GT, and the rapid-firing 10r80 automatic is available unlike the manual-only Performance Pack. The GT350’s bones were further extracted, trickling down the beefier K-member with stiffer bushings for less deflection from the cornering loads sustained by the optional 20-inch wheels, which are just a half-inch narrower (10.5 inches front/11 inches rear) than the GT500’s, and MagneRide returns to keep everything smooth. To take advantage of all this new-found grip, the Mach 1 will also take the Bullitt’s finessed 480hp 5.0L Coyote.
While some could stress over the higher entry fee, the value is certainly there. The 2021 Mach 1’s MSRP of $51,720 rests a few ticks over the 2020 GT Performance Pack 2’s current base MSRP of $45,575, but has additional hardware, much of which Performance Pack 2 owners would’ve looked to upgrade eventually.