Ford GT: From Track to Road
We take a look at the similarities & differences of the track and road versions of the all new Ford GT as it gets set to make the return to Le Mans in 2016.
Jul 17, 2015
The Ford GT was unveiled out of nowhere back in January, but rewind to 14 months prior and a small dedicated team began production on the fourth – generation successor to the GT40. With confirmation that Ford will return to Le Mans next year, the pressure was on to create two cars that whilst inspired by the past look to the future and incorporate innovative Ford technology.
The development of the Ford GT was a secret project with only a handful of the Ford team involved on the task. The space and process were different compared to other Ford Models, chief designer Moray Callum explained that the group of people were mixed with both young and more experienced designers. This allowed the designers to collaborate their fresh and creative ideas with the experience and knowledge of the senior designers.
The new Ford GT was engineered to keep company with exotics, leading the new Ford Performance line-up. The line-up will include the new GT350R Mustang, Focus ST, Fiesta ST and the F-150 Raptor (some models will not be available in the UK) and will conclude with 12 vehicles in total by 2020. The Ford GT is said to have been designed as a race car first, and then adapted to put a license plate on it.
The twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V6 engine packs 600bhp, combined with a seven-speed dual clutch and automatic gearbox. The exterior is made primarily from carbon-fibre for a lightweight finish that promises to maximise performance.
Return to Le Mans
The GT not only marks a return after Ford’s ten years hiatus but a blend of old meets new. The shape, design and passion originate from the original 1966 GT40 Le Mans racer whilst the engine and look of the new model celebrate the future of Ford’s performance cars.
There are certain differences that the team worked hard to overcome, for example some aspects of the car forced change due to the technical differences between the two models. However, the design of the two are very similar with the main highlights of the road being the power-to-weight ratio, downforce and low drag.
The engine is possibly the most impressive aspect with the shift from the old-school V8 to the Ecoboost V6 engine. The GT’s ECU processes 3,000 signals from 50 sensors around the car, using 28 microprocessors that run 10 million lines of code. Whilst an F22 military plane only uses around two million lines, the GT’s return to Le Mans will certainly prove a force to be reckoned with.
Mark Fields, Ford CEO and president said that “it’s worth remembering that our first innovation as a company was not in a laboratory, but on the race track.” Now is the the perfect time for Ford to return to the track commemorating the 50th anniversary of the GT’s defeat against Ferrari’s six-year winning streak. Not to mention the shift in technology and design, Ford have developed an exotic not only to rival other supercar manufacturers but that resonates their passion for performance.
Fields also noted that “Ford Performance aims to highlight the vibrancy of the Ford breed. Whether it’s the design, performance, fuel economy, smart technology and so on, we want to say that Ford is a brand looking to set the trends not only today but in the future.”
See the Ford GT & Ford Focus RS at a one-day-only event!
Fancy seeing the Ford GT a year before its release?
To celebrate the release of both the Ford GT & Focus RS we will be hosting a special event to welcome both of the models on 25th July at our Leicester FordStore, Welford Road. The event will mark the first time that both cars have been showcased together in a UK showroom. We will also be showcasing Ford heritage models including our very own 2005 Ford GT super car.
Use the hashtag #supercarsaturday across Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date for all of the info about the event!