The 2017 Ford GT: The Americans Get It Right

image-4

2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Ford GT winning the 1966 LeMans. When Ford debuted the return of the GT to production at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Jim Farley was asked if it would be returning to LeMans. He simply said, ”No comment. I don’t want to make any news today.” Fast forward a year and Ford is about to start delivering the first of the 250 GTs that will be produced for the 2017 model year. With such a limited production run it is doubtful that many will be seen roaming the countryside, but we thought our readers might want to look at Ford’s supercar.

Under the Bonnet

At the Detroit show in 2015, Ford was pretty vague about the powertrain in the GT. The only details that were released at that time were that it would be powered by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever conceived. Ford claimed it would be a V6 capable of more than 600 bhp. It turns out those vague allusions were not too far off. The GT is powered by a 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 engine that makes a claimed 600 bhp. The V6 is mated to a seven-speed paddle-shifted dual-clutch gearbox. Ford claims all shifts are ”near instantaneous”, but did not release the milliseconds that elapse while shifting. Top speed and 0-100 km/h times have not been released, nor has torque information.image-3

To help the GT maximize its speed, it is almost entirely made from carbon fibre. On top of the structural carbon fibre body panels, there is a carbon fibre passenger space. All of this is underpinned by aluminium front and rear subframes. The chassis sits on an active torsion bar and pushrod suspension, much like many race cars. As an added bonus, the GT’s ride height can be adjusted to suit individual drivers. That all sounds nice, but can the GT perform? It showed its racing bonafides by winning at the LM GTE class at 2016’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

What Else

image-2     

As Ford prepares to deliver the first production cars, it has begun to release a few more details. Some of those details are as follows. First, the GT will be offered in eight colours, including: Liquid Blue,  white, red, yellow, black, gray, silver, and matte black. Obviously, each car sold can be ordered with racing stripes. All of these are very basic colours, nothing trendy to catch the eye. Ford design manager, Barb Wahlen, says ”These colors aren’t trendy, because Ford GT isn’t a trendy car. It is a classic – a veritable race car for the road.”

The carbon fibre has been left exposed inside the passenger cabin, but buyers can choose gloss, matte or ”shadow black” paint to cover the expensive material. Whalen stated, ”We walked a fine line with the color and materials in this vehicle – infusing energy through use of color and balance while working to ensure the raw appeal of a performance car still shines through. Everything in the all-new Ford GT was intentionally designed to express ultimate performance.”

To add to the blend of performance and aesthetics, buyers can colour-match their Brembo brake calipers instead of opting for the standard black calipers that ride the lightweight carbon ceramic rotors. Owners may well want to accentuate a brake system derived from Formula 1. Additionally, the brake system features low fluid displacement, giving it better pedal feel and stiffness. This is the first time Ford has offered custom caliper finishes. Luckily, Ford went with the Brembo’s and carbon ceramic rotors; performance brakes are necessary for such lightweight car with 600 ponies under the bonnet!

The colour invades the passenger space as well. There are touches of it in the Alcantara seat backs and across the dash. Buyers can opt to have the passenger-side instrument panel match or contrast with the colour of their Brembos, racing stripes, or exterior colour.image

Further adding to the GT’s mystic will be its limited production run of 500 over a two year span. With 6,000 applicants for those 500 units and a base price of L306,088, it is doubtful many of them will make it outside of the U.S., but we can always hope.