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A white 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is parked on the race track.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Makes A Race-Ready Return

Coming off the Mustang’s 2018 refresh, the reintroduction of the BULLITT, and the revitalization of the Shelby GT500, Ford decided to bring one of the Mustang’s most prestigious racing trims back into the fold with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. The sixth-generation 2021 model comes equipped with just about everything a racing enthusiast looking for a street-legal track-ready vehicle might want out of a sports car.

The revamped 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 returns to the road after a 17-year hiatus. The last iteration of this particular trim ended production after 2004, with the fourth-generation Mustang phase-out. Not only has the 2021 Mach 1 undergone some major aesthetic updates since the fourth-generation version, but the under-the-hood performance has seen some significant improvements as well.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Performance

The 2021 Mach 1 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine with 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, putting it on par with the under-the-hood performance of the Mustang BULLITT. These figures represent 20 more hp and 9 more lb-ft than a standard Mustang GT. But the Mach 1 takes the Shelby GT350’s intake manifold, oil cooler, and oil filter adapter and puts them to good use alongside a Shelby GT500 handling package to improve engine cooling by 50 percent. The general idea behind the high-end parts for the Mach 1’s powertrain is that it would not only perform as a street-ready sports car, but you could just as well compete against other cars in its class on the race track without skipping a beat.

Unlike its movie-themed cousin, though, the Mach 1 also does away with the Getrag MT-82 six-speed manual transmission for the robust Tremec TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission. The reason for the switch from the Getrag MT-82 transmission to the Tremec TR-3160 transmission had to do with consumer complaints about faulty parts in the Getrag, which led Ford to listen to feedback and focus on a more stable and reliable powertrain option for the Mach 1. The Mach 1 also offers an optional 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission for city drivers and drag racers alike.

Two 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1's, a blue and a white, are speeding around the racetrack.

Ford Opts For Mach 1 Racing Suspension

Helping to maintain the race-ready personality that emanates through every fiber of the Mach 1 is its performance-matching suspension, which is designed to handle everything an intense race on the track could throw at it. This includes an all-new electronic power assist steering calibration, known as EPAS. The suspension is rounded out with 19-inch aluminum wheels, with Pilot Sport tires provided by Michelin. There’s also the rear toe-link fitted into the Mach 1 from the refreshed 2020 Shelby GT500.

The electronic power assist system was borne from Ford’s power steering control module (known as the PSCM), which was originally introduced back with the 2005 Ford Escape. The updated system works hand-in-hand with the HS-CAN network to sense inputs from various systems of the car in order to regulate performance and handling, including monitoring steering angles, torque, motor position, the anti-lock brake system, and the drivetrain. The idea behind this system is to make driving smoother and more stable, so there’s less jolting and shaking going when accelerating from lower to higher speeds.

The Mach 1 has also been fitted with a stiffer steering I-shaft, sway bars, and front springs, along with having a brake booster implemented from the Level 2 GT Performance Pack. You won’t have to worry about trying to navigate your way around making use of these features thanks to Ford’s use of BWI’s MagneRide Damping System, which dynamically makes micro-adjustments 1,000 times per second for each damper. This means that the MagneRide adjusts the overall handling of the Mach 1 so that you don’t feel every bump and lump in the road, and every inch of road surface you drive over feels smooth under the wheel.

Aerodynamic Design For Race Enthusiasts

Under-the-hood performance and suspension dynamics are just part of what makes the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 “track-ready,” as Ford calls it. The actual body design underwent some adjustments as well to accommodate more power-efficient aerodynamics. The most noticeable change is in the fascia, with the shark-nosed dip into a set of four mesh grilles from the front of the hood and down below each headlight, as opposed to the accented trimmings found on the standard sixth-generation Mustang.

The change away from the angular accents on the standard Mustang’s front end aren’t just for show. The new matching mesh grilles work in conjunction with the bonnet’s trio of subtly designed vents and rear spoiler to help create 22 percent more downforce than the Mustang GT. In simple terms, the stylistic body trappings featured on the Mach 1 are as much about making it a looker as it is about making it an aerodynamic powerhouse. However, the pursuit of performance means that the Mach 1 will only be offered as a fastback coupe, with Ford confirming that there will be no convertible option when the Mach 1 arrives in the spring.

The black interior of a 2021 Ford Mustang is prominently displaying the redesigned Mach 1 logo.

Mach 1 Interior Details

While a lot of the changes to the Mach 1 compared to the Mustang GT, Bullitt, GT350, and GT500 are either exterior or performance-related, the interior does have some updates as well to remind you of what you are sitting in. These include a unique Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents, new door sill plates, and an updated splash screen on the 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster.

The rest of the Mach 1 interior is familiar Mustang. You will find a roomy cabin with a classic feel and a modern infotainment setup. While this car might be ready for the track, you will be just as comfortable on long highway drives. Also, despite a two-door coupe, designed for top speed and burning rubber, the Mach 1 actually seats up to four, allowing you to move family and friends in a pinch

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Availability And Price

Given the specs and performance, one would expect the Mach 1 to carry a hefty price tag. Look at many of the nearest competitors in a similar category, especially those with sports or racing packages and specialized liveries, and you will quickly find prices that climb close to $100,000. However, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will be available for around $50,000 when it arrives at Ford dealers in the spring of 2021.

So far, the cost of the various appearance options has not yet been revealed. Ford has also been mum on the price of the additional packaging options, including the handling package, which will add vastly more downforce and create an even better performance on the track. However, we can expect these packages and options will be just as high value as the base vehicle. If you are looking for an affordable track-ready Mustang, then the Mach 1 is the choice for you.