What Is the Mustang Pace Car?

Three Mustang Pace Cars were released in 1979, 2011 and 2012, each of which celebrate the iconic brand's racing heritage and long connection to NASCAR and its fans. Less than 100 of the 2011 and 2012 models were made in total, making them highly sought after by collectors.

Pace Car MustangThe Mustang's Pace Car History

A Mustang has been run as the pace car of the Indianapolis 500 on three separate occasions — in 1964, 1979 and 1994. It has been run as a pace car at the Daytona 500 only once, in 2011. Except the second generation "Mustang II," every era of the pony car — from the ‘60s classics to the Fox platform and beyond — have been represented at a major race.

The 1979 Mustang Pace Car

A replica of the car used to pace that year's Indy, the 1979 Mustang Pace Car, was available as a hatchback with either a 5.0L V8 or a 2.3L turbocharged four cylinder. The 1979 Pace Car Mustang featured two-tone paint, extensive striping and decals, Recaro seats and a number of other cosmetic enhancements. A popular seller, over 10,000 cars with the Pace Car package were produced.

The 2011 Mustang Pace Car

50 Mustang GT Pace Cars were made in 2011, one of which was the actual car used to pace the Daytona 500 that year. Using the GT as a base, special upgrades included a Ford Racing suspension kit, muffler and strut tower kit, Brembo brakes, 19-inch rims and a modified front valence. Available only in Race Red, the 2011 Mustang Pace Car featured special decals and red, white and blue stripes.

The 2012 Mustang Pace Car

The following year, an additional 46 Mustang Pace Cars were produced for sale to the general public. Officially called the Kentucky Speedway Pace Car, the 2012 edition was again based on that year's GT, and it featured a number of cosmetic upgrades including a red and blue lower bodyside stripe and Kentucky Speedway and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series graphics. The 2012 Mustang Pace Car also offered as standard features the GT's accessory and performance packages, which added black leather seats, hood and side scoops, 19-inch premium wheels and more.