Ford Revives the GT Once More
Fifty years ago, Ford took aim at Ferrari with a racing car called the GT40, which went on to become a four-time LeMans winner and a racing icon. Ten years ago, Ford built an homage called the GT, which was a proper supercar in its own right.
This year, Ford has announced that the GT is coming back – and this time with six hundred turbocharged horsepower under its sinewy flanks.
As with the previous Ford GT, this one borrows styling cues from the original GT40; unlike the previous GT, it’s more supercar than retro car. Note the way the cabin tapers at the rear, passing under twin tunnels that connect the roofline to the fenders. It’s a shape designed to channel the air and create downforce. It also looks hella cool. If McLaren was asked to design an homage to the GT40, we bet it’d look a lot like this.
Construction is pure supercar as well: The chassis tub and body shell are made of lightweight carbon fiber, with aluminum subframes front and rear. The suspension uses inboard pushrod-actuated shocks and is height-adjustable (it can be lowered for better aerodynamics or raised for driveways and speed bumps). The scissor-style doors are pure European supercar. The brakes are carbon-ceramic, and the 20” wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, the same rubber you’ll find on the Ferrari 458, Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series, and Porsche 918 Spyder. The holes in the round taillights aren’t just there to mimic the mammoth center-mounted exhaust ports; they are the end-stage of the ducting that routes air through the intercoolers (the intakes are at the leading edge of the fenders and the intercoolers are mounted ahead of the rear wheels). And those wings that form the tunnels at the back of the roof? They’re power-operated spoilers, which automatically alter their high and pitch angle to increase downforce or create drag as needed.
Construction is pure supercar as well: The chassis tub and body shell are made of lightweight carbon fiber, with aluminum subframes front and rear.
The powertrain might surprise you. This being the mid-2010s, you might expect some sort of hybrid powertrain with electronic torque vectoring. On the other hand, this being an American supercar, you might expect a stout V8 with an engine-driven blower. Nope and nope.
The new GT is powered by an EcoBoost V6, EcoBoost being Ford’s trade name for their turbocharged, direct-injected line of engines. A (very) distant relative of the six-cylinder EcoBoost found in Ford’s trucks and SUVs, this one displaces 3.5 liters and is fed by twin turbochargers and intercoolers. The street-going 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 produces 365 horsepower; the GT’s version will put out upwards of six hundred. (Yes, we’ll take that.) It will feed this power to the rear axle – and to the rear axle only – via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
There are rumors that Ford will race the new GT at LeMans, and that the production car is essentially for homologation.
If the new GT sounds suspiciously more like a racing car than a street car, well, there might be something to that. There are rumors that Ford will race the new GT at LeMans, and that the production car is essentially for homologation. We asked Ford about these rumors, and while they wouldn’t confirm them, they certainly didn’t deny them. We’d call it a strong possibility.
What will it take to put a GT in your driveway? While Ford hadn’t announced pricing at the time we went to press, Dave Pericak of Ford Performance confirmed that the new GT will be priced about the same as a Lamborghini Aventador, which lists for just shy of $400,000. Expensive? Perhaps not when you compare it to the Porsche 918 Spyder ($845,000) or the McLaren P1 ($1,150,000). But let’s not forget that you can get a Ferrari 458 Speciale for under $250,000. (Call the broker and tell him to sell off a few more shares of Apple stock.)
Ford hasn’t announced production totals, but they’ve said it will be in the hundreds rather than the thousands; we’ve heard they’ll make about 250 per year, which would mean the new GT will see nothing like the 2005-2006 GT’s production run of 4,000 cars. That should give it even more collector appeal and long-term value. The 2005 GT listed for $139,995 (though dealers frequently marked the prices way, way up); today, unmolested examples are trading in the $250,000 to $500,000 range. (It’d be a shame if those prices kept the bulk of GTs indoors and not out on the road.)
We still have a lot of questions about the Ford GT. We don’t know exactly when it will hit the road (Ford says it’ll go on sale some time in 2016, to coincide with the original GT40’s 50th anniversary), how much it will weigh (we imagine it’ll be stunningly light), or even what model year it will carry. And while we’re sure all eyes will be on the Italian competition — just as it was back in the 1960s — the GT’s best rival may well be rising in the East, as Acura is preparing to put their next-generation mid-engine NSX supercar on the road later this year.