I wrote an entire book about Ford’s new GT supercar, but up until quite recently, I had only gazed upon the car at auto shows and watched the race-car version win the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France. Briefly, I sat in it at the 2017 Detroit auto show.
That all changed when Ford brought a brand-new GT to Manhattan’s Classic Car Club to show off the $AU532,000 machine’s multiple driving modes.
I slipped into the driver’s seat, tucked in front of the mid-mounted 647-horsepower twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, and pressed the start button.
The glorious machine came to life. Here’s what it was like, inside and out:
Photos by Hollis Johnson.
The GT arrived on a rainy day in Manhattan. The 'Liquid Blue' paint job was what the car wore when it was debuted to dropped jaws at the 2015 Detroit auto show.
The design is a symphony of bold gestures, smoothly flowing lines, and exotic shapes. The Ford design team worked in secret on the car for a year.
The cockpit is small, but the car itself is long. The rear spoiler can be deployed and retracted, by the way.
The entire car is defined by aerodynamics, with bodywork that wraps around the mid-mounted EcoBoost V6 engine. The signature feature is a pair of winglike flying buttressed that extend from the roofline to the rear wheels.
You can think of the GT having a buttress on either side -- or a single curving wing that extends from one side of the car to the other.
The GT shapes the airflow from front to back. That daggerlike nose splits the wind and channels it under and over the car. The air from below is sculpted along the sides of the car and slips between the wheels and the body before being funneled out the back.
This happens on both sides. The wing raises automatically at higher speeds and can be raised and lowered, depending on which driving mode the GT is in.
The GT is made of lightweight aluminium and strong but feathery carbon fibre. The headlights and deep hoodscoops are evocative of the Le Mans-winning GT40s of the 1960s. The front-end aero forces air under the car.
The 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 makes 647 horsepower with 550 pound-feet of torque and pipes that power through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Yes, there's even a (very small) trunk. Or at least a hidden compartment doing an impression of a trunk.
These are 20-inch aluminium wheels, but you also get 20-inch carbon-fibre ones. Well, you can if you're one of the lucky 250 people who will take delivery of the first year's production. If you look closely, you can see the Brembo brakes and ventilated discs.
There's Alcantara, carbon fibre, and leather everywhere in here. The GT road car and race car were developed at the same time, so the cockpit is snug.
Ford has the best seats in the car business, and the GT's are no exception. But you are shoulder-to-shoulder with your passenger.
Almost all vehicle controls are located on the adjustable flat-bottomed, racing-inspired steering wheel. The driver's seat doesn't move; instead, the pedals can be adjusted.
The instrument panel is all digital and can be customised depending on driving mode and what the driver wants to see.
The center-console touchscreen isn't large, but it gets the job done. Just below is a small tray that's exactly the right size to accommodate an iPhone 7.
The touchscreen runs Ford's SYNC 3 infotainment system and provides Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, audio, two USB ports, and a suite of apps. You can also see the extremely minimalist climate controls to the right.
The GT is being stared down by a replica of of a GT40 -- the race car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, going 1-2-3. Ford went back to Le Mans in 2016 and repeated history, winning with the new GT race can in its class.
A closer look. Fifty years later, cars have become far more refined. The old GT40 was downright crude -- but built to win.
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