The upcoming 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-1 is poised to be the best Mustang around a track, short of a Shelby. It’s far more than just an appearance package, and features many changes that make it a true track star. Chief among those changes are the handling and aerodynamic improvements, specifically those made from the optional Handling Package.
Even in base form, the S550 Ford Mustang Mach-1 makes 22 percent more downforce than a Mustang GT with the Performance Pack Level 1. A front splitter similar to what’s on the GT Performance Pack Level 2 gives it more downforce and aggressive style. The new underbelly pan extends 20 inches further back than the GT Performance Pack to smooth airflow and increase downforce. It also features airfoils for brake cooling. Finally, there’s a magnetic gray painted lip spoiler out back, but it doesn’t increase downforce by any noticeable amount.
On the standard Mustang Mach 1, handling and grip are also improved from Magnum 500 style wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. The rear subframe, toe-link and bushings are all straight out of the Mustang Shelby GT500
Upgrading to the optional Handling Pack is where things start to get serious. First, you get a even bigger front splitter. In the rear, there’s large rear wing with a gurney flap that’s also pulled from the Shelby GT500. The rear tire spats are also from the top-dog Shelby. This all contributes to the 150 percent more downforce than a Mustang GT Performance Pack 1. We don’t know what the improvements are over a Mustang GT Performance Pack 2 are, but they should still be substantial.
Other than aero improvements, the Mustang Mach 1 Handling Pack adds wider tires wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, which are also found on the highly capable Shelby GT350R and GT500 with Carbon Track Pack. Also from the GT350 is an optional Tremec six-speed manual, which is the sole gearbox available for the Handling Package.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 intends to bridge the gap between the 5.0 GT Mustangs and the Shelby models. While the Coyote V8’s increased power and cooling are great, it’s really the handling and downforce changes that will make it a supremely capable track weapon. There are rumors the GT350 is going away for 2021, so expect the Mach 1 to have similar performance to fill the void.