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Track‑focussed Mustang Mach 1 launched at SpeedWeek
Among all the high performance icons blasting around the Motor Circuit for SpeedWeek presented by Mastercard is one that’s not only new to us but new to all of Europe – not that you would think so because it is such a familiar and storied name. It’s the Ford Mustang Mach 1, a fast Ford that first appeared Stateside in 1969 but which has never officially been offered here before. Until now.

Whatever you do, do not confuse this with the Mustang Mach E, the all-electric SUV. This is a very different kind of pony car. The Mustang Mach 1 – the first new one in 17 years – is very much a homage to the fastback-styled, whitewall-tyred, black bonnet-humped original, such a fast-car staple from US films and TV shows of the 1970s. You can hear the booming V8 and see the tyre smoke just thinking about it.

The new Mach 1 makes its European debut at Goodwood and goes on sale in the UK next year, at prices to be confirmed but tipped to be around £50,000. It will be a limited edition model with a strong track emphasis, and the first time that Ford of Europe has offered a go-faster hero Mustang in the mould of the US market Shelby GT350 and GT500, models with which the new Mach 1 shares components.

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The Mach 1 gets the power – 460PS from a tweaked version of the 5.0-litre V8 – the aero and the handling from a bespoke suspension set-up to be the most capable Mustang ever offered in Europe, on road or track, says Ford. On a circuit, it is said to be the fastest production Mustang ever offered.

This new track ability centres on a first-time offered (in Europe) six-speed manual gearbox plus limited-slip diff, uprated engine cooling and sharper steering. Downforce is said to be boosted by 22 per cent thanks to new front splitter, longer undertray, the rear diffuser from the Shelby GT500 and a rear spoiler.

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The suspension makeover aso looks to US-market Shelby models for inspiration, inheriting their subframes, recalibrated electric assisted steering and suspension links. The Mach 1 also gets MagneRide dampers and stiffer front springs and anti-roll bars. Wheels? No, not wide chromed steelies any more but five-spoke 19-inch alloys, shod with track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

In the form for the Mach 1 the 5.0-litre V8 delivers 460PS at 7,500rpm. There are Shelby Mustangs available in the States with more power than that, but with the induction system, among other components, taken from the GT350 plus unique exhaust tips, the new car is definitely odds on to maintain the V8 Mustang’s reputation for top notch engine sound – as visitors to SpeedWeek will attest. Torque peaks at 529Nm (391lb ft) at 4,600rpm. No performance figures are so far available.

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The TREMEC manual ‘box, also from the GT350, offers automatic rev-matching on downshifts and also the ability for upchanges to be punched through without lifting off. As well as this manual box, UK buyers will be able to order a Mach 1 with 10-speed torque converter automatic.

Just as with the 1969-inroduced first Mach 1, the new version for Europe is embellished with a variety of signature Mach 1 styling cues. It’s available with the fastback coupe body only and of course gets the bold stripes, unique wheels and – most important – the trademark black bonnet hump. A more aggressive look at the front end over other Mustangs is achieved by a new gloss black two-piece grille.

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Some pretty outlandish colour combinations are available, maintaining another Mach 1 tradition. There are eight combos of paint and stripes available – with names like Velocity Blue, Twister Orange and Grabber Yellow.

“The Mach 1 not only looks the part, but has the hardware to deliver on-track thrills and on-road driving pleasure,” says Matthias Tonn, Mustang Mach 1 chief programme engineer for Europe. “It’s the most exciting Mustang in Europe to date, and we are thrilled to be bringing the iconic Mach 1 name to Europe for the first time.”

And we’re thrilled to see it making its debut at Goodwood SpeedWeek. At last, we are getting the thoroughbred of all pony cars.

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