Celebrating 50 years of a legend with innovation.
Almost sixty years ago, the Ford GT placed 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was an impressive achievement at the time – a time when Ferrari dominated racing and the Americans were looked at as underdogs. Since then, the Ford GT has cemented its name in the history books and has become a serious competitor in the supercar market. After a brief hiatus over the past few years, Ford shocked the world at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with the new-generation GT supercar.
The all-new Ford GT is a showcase of performance, advanced aerodynamic design, innovative technology, and a new dedication to lightweight materials including everybody’s favorite, carbon fiber. The new supercar joins more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles that will be making their way into the lineup by 2020.
“As we at Ford drive innovation into every part of our business, it’s worth remembering that our first innovation as a company was not in a laboratory, but on the racetrack,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer, referring to Henry Ford’s win of a 1901 car race that inspired financial backers to invest in his company. “We are passionate about innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
The new Ford GT will (and has) make hearts pound and knuckles turn white on the track with its dedication to performance. The first, and arguably most exciting aspect, is the next-generation twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V-6 engine displacing 3.5-liters and churning out more than 600 ponies. The new engine is based on the same engine architecture as those powering the IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racers and gained gaining key attributes from the EcoBoost V-6 racing in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, that achieved three wins including at the 12 Hours of Sebring along with seven podium finishes and over 15,000 endurance racing miles.
The new 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine boasts an all-new port/direct fuel injection setup that improves the throttle response, and a new low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. The wide powerband and responsive characteristics ensures that speed will be no issue, especially with the seven-speed, dual-clutch transaxle gearbox shifting gears instantly.
A dedication to reducing weight was one of the main focuses for Ford with the new GT. Advanced lightweight composites and materials are utilized in every nook and cranny with the supercar helping it to boast one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class. The reduction of weight helped to improve performance in virtually every aspect of the GT from handling and acceleration to fuel economy, and is the way of the future for future Ford models.
A full carbon fiber passenger cell provides a lightweight and safe structure for the two-seater while aluminum front and rear subframes, and carbon fiber body panels keep weight to a minimum. Even the new 20-inch carbon fiber wheels help to shed 50 lbs. over conventional rims, and wear special Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires designed specifically for the supercar. The wheels also hide lightweight and stout carbon-ceramic brakes at the front and rear axles for unrelenting stopping power. Handing will be nimble and precise thanks to the active, racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension that can be adjusted in terms of height for an optimum center of gravity.
Aerodynamics also play an important role in the new Ford GT’s performance. Every body panel was designed to improve downforce while reducing drag. The classic shape has a new, modern design and incorporates new active aerodynamics for optimum performance. An aircraft-inspired fuselage incorporates a curved windshield to maximize visibility. At the rear, the classic two round taillights sit prominently outside of the active aerodynamic spoiler that reacts to driver input by adjusting height and/or pitch angle to improve downforce, stability, handling, and braking performance. Also sitting between the rounded taillights are two large exhaust outlets integrated directly into the body work.
Inside, the Ford GT sports a clean and minimalistic design with a purposeful, driver-oriented layout packed with technology. Passengers enter through upward-swinging doors and are greeted by seats directly mounted to the carbon fiber cell to reduce weight. The fixed seating is countered by adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate different drivers. Drivers benefit from an F1-style steering wheel sporting all of the necessary controls and paddle-shifters, while a full digital and configurable instrument cluster stares ahead.
“The GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “GT includes innovations and technologies that can be applied broadly across Ford’s future product portfolio – another proof point that Ford continues raising the performance bar while ultimately improving vehicles for all of our customers.”
The new Ford GT will be the most extreme performance offering by the American automaker when it enters production in 2016. Pricing and official details for the ultra-high-performance supercar have not been released.
Ford GT Gallery