All the Details on Ford's New Supercar
We told you a few months ago it was coming, and we were right. Now that the all-new Ford GT is finally out, we’ve been turning over every rock looking for every last detail on the car.
First, the basics: The mid-engine GT utilizes a carbon-fiber tub with aluminum front and rear sub-frames, carbon-fiber bodywork, a “600-plus horsepower” race-derived 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 engine, pushrod inboard suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’ll go on-sale at the end of 2016, just before the expiration of the 50th anniversary year of Ford’s first overall win at Le Mans with the original GT40.
Now, to the details. Though Ford declined to pop the engine cover, we’ve learned a few things about the powertrain. The engine is essentially a street-legal version of the 600-horsepower Roush-Yates-built power plant found in the Riley Technologies Daytona Prototype racecar. Per Ford, the race engine uses 70 percent stock parts, including the block and heads. It’s been upfitted with a direct- and port-fuel-injection system and roller finger-followers on the valvetrain, and it’s claimed three racing victories in its rookie season including the 12 Hours of Sebring. All in, Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak says the engine’s done over 15,000 race miles at the hands of Chip Ganassi Racing, which is rumored to be the team taking the GT back to Le Mans for Ford next year.
Feeding the engine are two turbochargers, but not where you might expect them. Like the Daytona Prototype car, they’re mounted just ahead of the rear wheels, out in the sponsons (the humps housing the rear wheels) for optimal weight distribution. They draw air from the intake on the rocker panel and feed it into intercoolers also mounted in the sponsons, then the cooled air travels through the hollow flying buttress up to the roof of the car then down into the engine. Air used to cool the intercoolers enters via intakes on the sponsons and exits through vents in the centers of the taillight rings. While you’d expect such long ductwork to cause considerable turbo lag, Performance Vehicle Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi tells us Ford’s modeled and tested the design extensively and it’s not a big deal (at least not at LeMans). After all, it seems to work for the Daytona Prototype. How it’ll work on a street car, which doesn’t spend its life at full throttle, remains to be seen.
All that power is channeled to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission being developed by Getrag. Given the cost, Ford is looking for other products that could use the gearbox, or at least the technology developed for it.
Power, of course, is nothing without control. Primary control of the GT comes from its race-derived, inboard-mounted torsion beam and pushrod suspension with adjustable ride height. Per Vice President of Global Product Development and major car guy Raj Nair, suspension supplier Multimatic is a “partner” in the project. This leads us to believe that, as with the Daytona Prototype cars, the GT runs Multimatic’s DSSV shock absorbers, also found on everything from Le Mans cars to F1 cars and street machines like the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Rumor has it Multimatic may also be the manufacturer of the Le Mans-bound GT racecar. The company also likely supplies the hinges for the upward-opening doors, which unlike past GTs don’t include a chunk of the roof.
Additional control comes from the racecar-like bodywork. It’s no coincidence the GT resembles a Daytona Prototype car, as Ford’s lead production designer Garen Nicoghosian and Ford Racing’s chief aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus helped design the body of the Daytona Prototype. Final styling on the GT was done by Chris Svensson, Design Director for The Americas, under the watchful eye of styling boss Moray Callum. The body work also features active aerodynamic elements, including the rear wing, which adjusts for optimal downforce or drag and can tilt straight up to act as an air brake. Under the car, Tony Greco, who was project manager on the last Ford GT and is now project manager for Raptor, tells us the car features underbody diffuser flaps which open and close as needed, similarly to those on the Bugatti Veyron.
The final piece of the puzzle is the tire and wheel package. The wheels are 20 inches all around, and while Ford made no mention of it, it’s possible they’re Carbon Revolution carbon-fiber hybrid wheels like those on the new Shelby GT350R. Nair mused that such a set-up, carbon-fiber wheels on a carbon-fiber car, would make sense. Regardless of what they’re made of, they’re wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires designed specifically for the GT.
The big, lingering question is: how much of the show car will make it to production? With the car on-sale in less than two years, though, there’s no time to change anything major now. Hard as it may be to believe, Svensson tells us the body work is “99 percent production,” so what you see is almost exactly what you’ll get. The same does not go for the interior, which we’re told is just a mock-up and will change significantly for the production car. Given the short time until production begins, it’s likely the seats won’t change much. They’re molded into the carbon-fiber tub and the steering wheel and pedals adjust instead.
The other question is where Ford got the chassis. Per Callum and Svensson, the car was designed in just 14 months, and it was done in a secret studio in the basement of Ford’s Dearborn design center. Only a handful of designers, engineers, and executives knew of the car’s existence. All of this makes one wonder where and how Ford cooked-up an all-new carbon-fiber tub, aluminum front and rear sub-frames, and a race-derived suspension so quickly. We’d bet Riley Technologies was consulted on the suspension given the similarities in design, and industry rumors strongly suggest Multimatic will not only be building the racecars, but the street cars as well. Multimatic, as you may recall, built the Aston Martin One-77’s carbon-fiber chassis. Incidentally, that car also used DSSV shocks. What does it all weigh? Daytona Prototypes under 3.5 liters strive to meet the minimum allowed curb weight of just 2225 pounds, and while this car will no doubt be saddled with additional equipment such as airbags, the extensive use of carbon-fiber could realistically keep the car in the range of 3000 pounds or less.
Lastly, one has to wonder what such an incredible performance car will cost. The last Ford GT cost $140,000 to $150,000, but our sources with production and manufacturing expertise say this car will be significantly more expensive thanks to the technologies it employs. Best guess: around $300,000, and expect production to be very limited, a few hundred per year at best.