When manufacturers opt to take a car and pace a major racing event, it is usually to show off something new and exciting. Of course, it has been 40 years since a Ford made rounds around the Daytona International Raceway as a pace car, and the last Ford to do it wasn’t a Mustang, but a Torino GT. But Ford is changing its tune in 2010.

Mustang Heaven found this tidbit through Barrett-Jackson, which is auctioning off the first 2011 Mustang Pace Car, which will be making paces at this year’s Daytona 500.

Picture: Barrett-Jackson

Ford has yet to make an official announcement regarding the Mustang as a pace car, but the Barrett-Jackson auction makes it clear that this is no reproduction, but the actual car that will pace the Daytona race. Equipped with Ford’s new 5.0 engine, it also serves double duty as showing off the glass roof option for the refreshed Mustang design. While the picture is just a rendering, the actual pace car will come well equipped.

Aside from the Daytona 500 livery (the tiny picture doesn't reveal much), a Ford Racing suspension will also be hooked up to the 5.0 Mustang. Special mufflers and strut towers are also being added as well as a “special interior treatment”. The Daytona 500 happens on February 14th, with the auction happening two weeks earlier than that. Perhaps the lucky bidder will even get a chance to pace the race? All the proceeds from the auction will go towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Update: The Barrett-Jackson ad seems to have been removed. Looks like somebody jumped the gun on posting it!

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