By Kevin Gordon
Tomorrow, two Autosavant staffers are attending a press event where we should be able to experience the 2011 Mustang V6 and 2011 Mustang GT in person for the first time. At this point, it is expected that these cars should be a major step forward from their predicesors. The other major change to Mustangs this year is the GT500 having its cast iron 5.4 liter block replaced with one made from aluminum. The result is a savings of 120lbs of weight from over the front wheels. So, the question that I have been dying to answer is if the removal of a bunch of cast iron has transformed the 2011 Mustang GT500.
The simple answer appears to be, “absolutely!” In this instance, the 2011 is nine seconds per lap faster than the 2010 version. That may or may not seem like a lot (depending on your frame of reference), but to think that this car would lap last year’s car on the 20th lap is impressive. The video after the jump is of Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Engineers running the new GT500 around the Grand West track at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).
Having visited VIR and knowing a group of people who go to track days there, it is fair to say that it isn’t a muscle car track. In person, it is surprising how narrow a road course it is and how rarely it gives you a break during a lap. It is an excellent layout to demonstrate handling differences in two cars and it is obvious that the new GT500 will run away from its older siblings. Stay tuned for some quick takes on a lot of new and interesting cars over the next few days.