Yes, the new Mach 1 is supposedly that good.
The new for 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 serves as a replacement for the Mustang Shelby GT350, Bullitt, and the highly regarded but expensive Level 2 Performance Pack for the GT. As the sixth-generation Mustang heads into the twilight of its very successful career, the Blue Oval is clearly consolidating the lineup. Although official test drives have yet to get underway, Ford is already extremely confident about the Mach 1's track and overall performance capabilities.
So confident, in fact, that Mustang brand manager Jim Owens has boasted to Ford Authority the Mach 1 can even keep up with the ultimate Mustang, the Shelby GT500.
"On a short road course, the Mach 1 will be very, very close to the GT500," he said. "Now, once you get to the longer stuff, that's different - you have the supercharged 5.2-liter that will gain an advantage. But on a short course, within spitting distance of the GT500."
Remember, the Mach 1 has the best components and systems from the PPL2, specifically beefy Brembo brakes with adjustable ABS tuning, a retuned steering rack, larger radiator, unique stability control tuning, and, perhaps most important of all, MagneRide adjustable dampers.
But unlike the GT500, which is famously powered by the supercharged 5.2-liter Predator V8 with 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque, the Mach 1 has the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with 480 hp and 420 lb-ft on tap.
That power difference definitely explains "the longer stuff," meaning straightaways and the like. Aside from that, there's the matter of pricing, and this is where the Mach 1 is the clear-cut bargain. The GT500 begins at a hefty $70,300 while the Mach 1 will begin at $51,720 (not including the $1,195 destination fee). Imagine a situation where a GT500 owner is participating in a track day and directly behind them is a significantly cheaper Mach 1.
Depending on driving skills, it could even be possible for a Mach 1 to rip past the Shelby. Sure, the departure of those aforementioned Mustangs is sad, but the Mach 1's arrival more than makes up for that.
UPDATE: A Ford spokesperson has reached out to correct a major component of this new story: "Jim Owens mistakenly said 'GT500' instead of 'GT350', the latter of which is what he actually meant to compare the Mach 1 to." Please take proper note of this vital fact.