The all new 2017 Ford GT is a beautiful car.
Few within Ford even knew much about the mysterious hypercar before its surprise revelation at the North American International Auto Show.
“We actually had a little skunkworks in the Dearborn studio downstairs that no one knew about,” said Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president of design, in a one-on-one interview following the GT’s debut in Detroit. “And it was done on the quiet, with a limited amount of people.”
The 2017 Ford GT was conceived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s legendary victory at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race, in which three Ford GT40 race cars swept first, second and third place. It had to be fast tracked from concept to production, with testing and development compressed into the next 18 months in order to go on sale by the end of next year.
“We’ve done this in record time,” Callum said. “I tell people it’s the ‘fastest’ car we’ve ever designed”—he means, the fastest in terms of development time, and the fastest in terms of acceleration and speed.
Ford says the GT will have one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production vehicle, thanks to ultra-light carbon-fiber construction and more than 600 horsepower from a new 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6—an engine derived from a similar one used in Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype race car, which recently won The Rolex 24 at Daytona 24-hour endurance race.
The GT is revolutionary in it promises to elevate Ford to a level with Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche and other high-clout makers of seven-figure hyper cars. Like the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder, the Ford GT’s body is made almost entirely of carbon-fiber, and it features exotic technology like an adjustable suspension system similar to that of a race car and a huge rear spoiler that raises and lowers to increase downforce depending on the car’s speed.
But unlike other luxury automakers and their million-dollar machines, Ford aims to eventually democratize the technology showcased on the GT. For example, it announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and DowAska, is a joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Turkish carbon fiber manufacturer Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii. They will collaborate on ways to develop high-volume, low-cost ways to produce carbon fiber.
Ford has not released full specs or pricing for 2017 Ford GT, but it will likely cost a fraction of a hypercar such as the Porsche 918 Spyder, given that the GT’s predecessor, built from 2005 to 2006, had a starting price of $149,995. Granted, the new GT forgoes the complicated and costly hybrid-electric systems used on the Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche hyper cars.
The design of the Ford GT is perhaps a bit of a paradox: familiar yet otherworldly, aggressive yet somehow restrained. It was striking enough for a panel of noted automotive designers to award it the Eyes On Design award for best design at the Detroit auto show. Will it win?
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