Ford stunned the automotive press this week with the unexpected introduction of a GT for a new generation.
Based on the legendary GT40 that Henry Ford II commissioned to defeat Ferrari at Le Mans – and a successor to the GT street car that was introduced in 2006 – this latest iteration uses technology already available in some Ford vehicles but pushes them all to the next level.
The most obvious of these technologies is the EcoBoost engine that’s mounted amidship just behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels. Based on the engine architecture serving Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racing efforts, the twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 features exceptional performance and efficiency. This combination led to three wins in its first season of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, including a win in the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring.
To ensure all the horsepower gets to the pavement, the GT has a slick aerodynamic design that increases downforce at higher speeds. This is downforce is also enhanced by an active a rear spoiler that changes height and pitch angle based on speed, conditions and driver inputs.
One of the things we like about this version of the GT is that while it pays homage to the GTs of the past, it’s not hamstrung by history. It’s not a retro car, but a modern car that leaps well past its ancestors. The curves, vents, windshield and lighting are a clear step ahead of the previous GT and looks every bit the part of a 200+ mile per hour supercar.
The interior of the GT is just as purposeful as its exterior. Featuring well-bolstered fixed racing seats that are actually integrated directly into the carbon fiber tub, adjustments are made to the pedals and steering wheel to fit each individual driver. The steering wheel is much like that in the Ferrari F12, where all the functions are on the wheel, keeping the drivers hands on the wheel at all times.
It’s likely that the GT will be a very limited production model. We expect 200 or fewer GTs to be produced per year, starting late this year or early next. And like previous versions we don’t expect the GT to be a permanent fixture in the product line-up. So if you want one of these beauties and you’re not on a first-name basis with your local Ford dealer, you better start working on that now.
Ford President Mark Fields summed up the reason for introducing the new GT this way, “We are passionate about innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
It definitely has our hearts beating faster.