The original Ford GT40 is the stuff of legends, and the 2nd iteration from the early 2000s duly did the original justice. But earlier this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Ford dropped a bomb and revealed an unexpected 3rd generation GT supercar, this time with a highly modernised design, carbon fibre, and… traditional Ford fans might hate this… a twin-turbo V6 with over 450kW (600hp).
The surprise unveiling alongside the new Ford F150 Raptor and Shelby GT350R is part of a plan to grow Ford Performance’s range to more than 12 models by 2020. Planned for a 2016 release, the new GT will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous 1-2-3 finish by the Ford GT race cars at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
The all-new GT features a familiar recipe of a mid-mounted engine, with driven rear wheels, and a 2-door coupe body. This time round though, the GT is carbon fibre-extensive, with added aluminium for light weight construction. In addition to lightness, Ford is going the EcoBoost route, with a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost engine with unconfirmed final outputs of over 450kW. The engine will drive the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The engine is derived from Ford’s racing, and Ford officials have confirmed the Ford GT will be raced in its new iteration.
Other tech included on the new GT includes active aerodynamics – maximising aerodynamic efficiency and making the most of the lightweight construction. Beneath the body sits a racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension setup, complete with adjustable ride height. The 20-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tyres, housing carbon ceramic brake discs.
Interior tech will include Ford’s SYNC 3.0 infotainment system, a rear-view camera, an F1-style steering wheel without indicator stalks for unimpeded access to the gear-shift paddles, and a customisable digital instrument cluster with multiple functions and driving modes.
With Ford reviving an age old rivalry with Ferrari – the GT looking to take on the 458 Speciale – we here in South Africa will be left praying it arrives in right-hand drive. However, at present Ford has no plan for RHD models, one of the only exceptions to its One Ford global strategy.