Brandan Gillogly Staff Editor
August 1, 2017
Photos By: Dominick Damato

The P-51 Mustang fighter plane gave the Ford Mustang its name, and it's also Jack Roush's favorite aircraft—he has one in his personal collection. As a tribute to both of those facts, Roush has built P-51inspired Mustangs with earlier versions of the car, but 2017 is the first time for an S550 model. Jack's son, Jack Jr., races a Ford Mustang in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and helped develop the current P-51. Jack Jr. drove this pre-production P-51 on Power Tour, and we spoke with him about the car.

The P-51 is the premiere Roush Mustang, riding on a triple-adjustable coilover suspension and forged, three-piece Weld wheels that are similar to those worn on some of Jack Jr.'s competition cars. Jack Jr. told us, "I was heavily involved with spec'ing out the wheels and tires. This car is kind of my baby." Perhaps that's why this version is even more customizable and track-focused than before. Jack told us that adding compression adjustment wasn't needed for the average road-going Mustang, but "for the more experienced guys, it's something really nice to have as they tune their vehicles on the track." Jack Jr. helped with that tuning at Willow Springs and GingerMan Raceway, two challenging, high-speed tracks.

The P-51 is delivered with a lower ride height than the normal Roush Mustang
Unlike Jack’s V12-powered P-51 aircraft, the road-going P-51 is powered by a supercharged Coyote V8. The 727hp, Eaton-supercharged Coyote is one of just 51 built for 2017.

Exploiting those long straightaways on those tracks takes plenty of power, and the P-51 delivers. Starting with a high-revving 5.0L Coyote V8, an Eaton supercharger goes even beyond the 670 hp found in the Roush Stage 3—all the way to 727hp. Roush provides brake upgrades to scrub that speed off before hitting the apex, so don't be shy about letting it stretch its legs.

As for the P-51 homage, "We try to give it some special cues to the warbird," Jack Jr. said. That includes some aesthetic touches like grille and fender emblems, a unique shifter knob, and custom bomber-jacket leather upholstery. There are also functional additions that just so happen to look the part, like the carbon-fiber splitter and rear deck spoiler unique to the P-51.

With a supercharged 5.0L, the P-51 is more powerful than a Hellcat, but built for the road course. The complete package brings tremendous power with a track-focused suspension and sticky Continental tires that are easily capable of 1.0 g of cornering while still being a comfortable grand tourer. Not a bad Power Tour ride at all—if only we could get Power Tour to stop by GingerMan or head back to COTA.

Each corner wears forged, 19-inch Weld wheels and Continental Extreme Contact Sport tires.

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