It was expected that Ford was going to bring the new GT to Detroit this year, even if it wasn’t exactly clear that it would even be called GT. A few media types claim to have been told to expect the unexpected.
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Ford GT40’s first win at Le Mans and the rumour mill has been ripe with stories about Ford brass’ desire to return to the French classic with a spiritual descendant of the winner that Carroll Shelby and his team built. The question leading up to NAIAS seems to have been whether they would show the racing version or the consumer version first.
Arriving late at the show on Monday morning thanks to a failed alarm and missing the Ford presser, I could immediately tell that the GT was spectacular. As I walked through the hallway at Cobo, I could hear people talking about it. Everyone I said hello to asked what I thought of the GT. Once I made it to the media centre, several journos made sure I saw their photos of the blue oval’s new halo car. I had to agree that in photos at least, it looked fantastic.
If the devil is in the details, the Ford GT is unholy incarnate. From flying buttresses, to sculpted channels and air inlets, details abound. Every time one walks circles the car, one notices something new.
Taking a page from the Challenger Hellcat, the GT makes use of not one, but two open lamps, which in this case are located in the rear. In between them are a pair of massive exhaust tips, centre mounted and above the bumper line, just waiting to char the fingers of nosy toddlers.
Under the rear glass lives a twin turbocharged 3.5L V6 rather than a thundering V8, which is obviously dubbed Ecoboost. Everyone in the Ford camp seems somewhat surprised at how awesome it is that an engine so small can create over 600 horsepower. Apparently they have all missed the racing history of tiny, turbo engines in sports cars and Formula 1. Either that or they have been brainwashed into thinking that the Ecoboost brand is the second coming of some engineering deity. Regardless, the platform will give the race teams lots to work with in their race to win in France next June.
Thankfully, Ford chose not to build yet another hybrid supercar abomination like the rest of the world seems hell bent on creating.
The general consensus among motorsports journalists is that the GT has been developed here in Canada at Multimatic Motorsports, in Markham, Ontario and will likely be campaigned by Chip Ganassi. It makes sense for a number of reasons. First off, Multimatic has had a long history of building winning Ford powered racing cars, including wins at Le Mans and Daytona. The company is a supplier to Ford on the manufacturer side as well. There have even been unsubstantiated reports of sightings of some sort of unidentified swoopy looking tubs in the Multimatic shops. Ford of Canada President Dianne Craig refused to talk about production of the GT at this time, instead preferring to focus on the car itself at this time.
I get it, but having this car developed and built here in Ontario is a huge deal for Canada. I want confirmation!
Did I mention that Toronto native and Multimatic’s lead driver, Scott Maxwell, is the guy behind the wheel of the test car in the reveal video?
Despite their long connection with Ford, Multimatic is not the first Ontario based team to be involved with Ford’s GT racing program. Back in the Sixties, the Scarborough based Comstock Racing team partnered with Shelby American and Ford of Canada to campaign the original GT40 along with Shelby Cobras and Mustangs. In 2009, Carroll Shelby was honoured at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto and part of the display pulled together for the show was the GT40 that Comstock raced.
Ford press release
Ford Redefines Innovation in Aerodynamics, EcoBoost and Light-Weighting with All-New Ford GT Carbon Fiber Supercar
· All-new Ford GT supercar sets new standards for Ford innovation through performance with advances in light-weighting, aerodynamics and ultra-efficient EcoBoost® engine
· Ford GT features the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower
· Ultra-high-performance supercar is Ford’s most extreme offering, infused with race-proven technology engineered to keep company with exotics when it goes into production in 2016
DETROIT, Jan. 12, 2015 – Ford today unveiled the all-new GT, an ultra-high-performance supercar that serves as a technology showcase for top EcoBoost® performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction.
The GT is one of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020. It joins Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R in the growing Ford Performance lineup.
Beginning production late next year, the GT hits the road in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“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 all-new GT supercar features rear-wheel drive, a mid-mounted engine, and a sleek, aerodynamic, two-door coupe body shell. It is propelled by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower.
The GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum – enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency.
Ford’s commitment to and capability in delivering technologies typically offered only in elite vehicles is evident in the GT. These include advanced active aerodynamics, such as a deployable rear spoiler, and a host of material and technology innovations to help better serve the driver, such as SYNC® 3 – the latest version of Ford’s advanced connectivity system.
“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.”
Carbon fiber innovation
Few innovations provide a more wide-ranging performance and efficiency advantage than reducing weight. All factors of a vehicle’s capabilities – acceleration, handling, braking, safety, efficiency – can improve through the use of advanced, lighter materials.
The all-new GT features advanced lightweight composites, which will help serve Ford’s entire product lineup moving forward. With the broad application of structural carbon fiber elements, the GT will exhibit one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.
Anchored by a carbon fiber passenger cell, the GT features aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels. Carbon fiber is one of the world’s strongest materials for its mass – enabling an ultra-stiff foundation for chassis components, while creating a lighter overall package for increased dynamic performance and efficiency.
Most powerful production EcoBoost ever
Ford EcoBoost technology is available in every new Ford car, utility and light-duty pickup in North America beginning this year.
EcoBoost engines power a growing number of Ford performance models, including the new Mustang, just-announced F-150 Raptor, as well as Fiesta ST and Focus ST.
Based on the same race-proven engine architecture serving Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racing efforts, the next-generation twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 in the GT features a wide powerband with impressive time-to-torque characteristics.
The engine demonstrates remarkable efficiency – a key attribute of its endurance racing-derived powertrain, where exceptional performance combined with efficiency is a critical competitive advantage.
Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 raced 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, along with seven podiums over more than 15,000 endurance racing miles.
The GT features an all-new, port/direct dual fuel-injection setup to improve engine response, plus a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 will be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle for near-instantaneous gear changes and exceptional driver control.
Aero innovation gets active
Aerodynamic efficiency is at the heart of the GT design, actively reducing drag while aiding downforce and stability.
From its optimum tear-drop shape to its aircraft-inspired fuselage and visibility-enhancing curved windshield, every slope and shape is designed to minimize drag and optimize downforce.
Although each surface on the GT is functionally crafted to manage airflow, it also features fully active aerodynamic components to improve braking, handling and stability.
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.
Designed for purpose
While it shares a legacy with classic Ford racing and performance cars, GT is a fully contemporary and functional shape that communicates modernity and pure beauty.
The state-of-the-art chassis is suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height. The 20-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires featuring a unique compound and structure designed specifically for the Ford GT. Multi-spoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.
The narrow-profile canopy reduces frontal area and caps a purposeful interior that provides state-of-the-art technology to ensure control, comfort and safety. The two-seat cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors, and features driver and passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell.
This configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis. The fixed seating is combined with adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate a very wide range of driver statures.
An F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows uncluttered access to the transmission paddle-shift controls. A fully digital and configurable instrument cluster provides a wealth of driver-focused data. The display is configurable for multiple driving environments and different driving modes.
“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.