Today is April 17 and this date may have little significance to you - unless you are a Mustang fan. Enthusiasts of the Pony know this day better as National Mustang Day and what better way to start proceedings than with news that Ford has extended the availability of its high-performance Shelby GT350 and GT350R variants into the 2018 model year.

That is very good news indeed and it comes hot on the heels of the 840 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The muscle car wars sure is hitting unprecedented levels what with the 650 horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and don’t forget there is a new Trans Am this year too and it has 1,000 horses!

Ford won’t be making too many changes to its most track-ready, street legal Mustangs ever produced but you can expect changes to the colour palette. Buyers can opt for three new colours – Kona Blue, Lead Food Gray, and Orange Fury but don’t hold your breath for any changes where it really matters – and that is under the bonnet. The 2018 GT350 and GT350R are to remain mechanically identical to the current models not that they need any extra power; the 5.2-litre V8 makes a healthy 526 horsepower and 582Nm of torque.

The pair also come equipped with massive Brembo brakes that offer tremendous stopping power and they also feature MagneRide dampers which make the Pony handle with aplomb. There are two new optional extras and that is an Electronics Package for both cars which includes Sync 3, voice-activated navigation and nine-speaker audio system along with a Convenience Package which replaces the Recaro manual seats with six-way power, heated and cooled sport seats that have been wrapped with Miko suede inserts.