THE FORD GT - AN AMERICAN EXOTIC

Ford entered the rarified world of exotic super cars and exceeded all expectations.  How does one say it?  This thing is absolutely jaw dropping.

Photography: Ford

media.ford.com

Never has the saying “better late than never” been more true in the automobile world.  Despite months of teasing, Ford’s first true entry into the rarified air of exotic super cars exceeded all expectations.  How does one say it?  This thing is absolutely jaw dropping.

A Visually Stunning Chassis.


Meticulously crafted from carbon fiber, it manages to seamlessly pay homage to Ford’s legacy of performance cars such as the GT40 while squarely staking out its own claim among the head-turning European marvels.

We all know about the strength and weight benefits of carbon fiber, which makes acceleration, handling, braking, safety, and yes, even fuel efficiency – better.  Way better.

Not surprisingly, the GT features advanced lightweight composites, and now boasts one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car in the world.  The carbon fiber passenger cell is attached to aluminum front and rear subframes, also encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels.   Ok we get it, lots and lots of carbon fiber.

Part Car, Part Plane?


This stuff is shaped in to F-117/Lambo-esque lines that are behind the aerodynamic efficiency at the heart of the GT design.  A thing this fast (we’ll get to that later) has to stay on the ground, after all.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the fuselage is aircraft-inspired and features a visibility-enhancing curved windshield — every slope and shape is designed to minimize drag and optimize downforce.

An active rear spoiler is keyed to both speed and driver input, reactively deploying and adjusting its height and/or pitch angle depending on conditions. And the state-of-the-art chassis is suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height.

Start and Stop


The 20-inch wheels are matched to Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires featuring a unique compound and structure designed specifically for the Ford GT.  Take that, Bugatti.  And crisp line, multi-spoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.   With a estimated top speed greater than many airplanes, this thing needs serious stopping power that won’t melt along the way.

A 3.5-liter V6 Supercar?


The GT uses the previously pedestrian-sounding EcoBoost technology available in all Ford car, utility and light-duty pickup trucks.  But this version features a next-generation twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 producing over 600hp, based on the same race-proven engine architecture used in Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racing efforts.

It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle, creating near-instant gear changes.  Ford hasn’t released shift speeds, but it obviously will be measured in milliseconds.

And it’s not just fast, it’s durable.  This engine platform produced 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, along with and additional seven podiums over more than 15,000 endurance racing miles.

In Their Own Words


“The GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for 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.”

It’s also clear to me that this rocket ship is leveraging much of Ford’s evolving engine technology from its core platform, rooted in the U.S. government’s consistent drive to increase fuel-efficiency.  I’m betting this kind of transport wasn’t what they had in mind when they crafted the legislation, but let’s just be thankful for the outcome.

Speed Steering


The F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows clear access to the paddle-shifters. The fully digital, driver-configurable instrument cluster provides a clean view of constantly updated driver data. For those times you're not attempting to set personal lap-time records, you can configure it to resemble normality. But where's the fun in that?

Fly Away


The cockpit is accessed by ultra-cool upward-swinging doors familiar to Lamborghini and Mclaren owners, and the seats are integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell.

According to Ford, this configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis. It’s also combined with adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate a very wide range of driver statures. Sounds good to me.

Fun for All


“While we hope enthusiasts rejoice about this all-new GT, all Ford customers will benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,” said Nair.  Kind of like how all VW owners benefited from the innovations developed for the Bugatti Veyron…I guess.  Whatever it means, this thing is awesome.  Pricing starts at $450,000.