According to the pony car lovers over at Mustang Heaven, a Ford will pace the Daytona 500 for the first time since the Torino GT convertible did the deed way back in 1970. As you may have surmised, the actual pace car will be a 2011 Ford Mustang GT, equipped with the long-awaited 5.0-liter V8 engine with 412 horsepower. Last year, the honor went to the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

As befitting such a car, the Mustang will get a special Daytona Red paint scheme with blue and white LeMans stripes – classic American racing colors. Ford Racing suspension upgrades including a strut tower brace, upgraded mufflers, unique painted wheels and an interior featuring lighted sill plates round out the pace car-specific details.

Want one? Well, that might be a bit tough. Ford plans to build just one example, which will be offered up for auction at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, January 23rd. We don't imagine it will be cheap, and all proceeds above MSRP will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The new owner will see his or her actual car pacing the Daytona 500 on February 14th.

[Source: Mustang Heaven]