When one thinks of the gold standard of supercar, it’s a safe bet that they’ll immediately jump to the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, or McLaren. Who’d blame them? Style, unparalleled performance, and the powerful whilst assumed sophistication of a European crafted machine. Some would say a standard that can’t be beat.
“Can’t be beat”? That’s cute.
Ford has heard the praise aimed across the pond and decided to respond in kind with a confident “hold my beer.”
Far from a newcomer to the supercar scene, Ford and their GT boast a number of trophies on the mantle, none more highly regarded than the top-three sweep of the 1966 Le Mans–the company’s first time competing in the 24 hour marathon of endurance and speed.
At the time, the GT was Ford’s answer to the near-purchase of Ferrari which went sour at the last minute, spurring then-CEO Henry Ford II to take an “if you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em” approach.
And beat ‘em they did.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic win, the guys of Dearborn decided not to just pay homage to the classic as they did with the 2005 reinvention; they accepted the challenge of creating not just a supercar with a blue oval on the hood, but a true competition race car to compete at Le Mans in 2016. The trouble was: they were up against the clock before the clock even started.
That was three years ago.
To feel the true scope of Ford’s accomplishment through raw American grit and determination, we flew out to Salt Lake City to experience the beast first hand. Upon meeting the team of the GT’s engineers, the trait that defined them can be summed up with one word:
Every single crew member had the air of a proud father walking his daughter down the aisle. They knew they’d accomplished something special. Just how special? We were eager to find out.
When most companies are unveiling a new product, they tend to butter up media-folk to put them in a generous mood. Was Ford accommodating? Incredibly. Marvelously, in fact. Though at no point did it feel like they were compensating for what they feared to be an inept product. It was a celebration of true achievement.
Ford wanted every writer to know just what they’d truly accomplished.
To understand just how impressive this machine is, you first have to appreciate the story behind it. Yes, the team was on a deadline, but the project itself started as a secret. Originally, Ford was planning on working off of their Mustang platform to approach their newest race car. When that idea, which they called Project Silver, was scratched, the engineers didn’t stop there. They decided to work in secret in a basement of the Ford campus. Part of that secret project meant that they would have to work on their GT at night, after a grueling day of tending to their regular charges. Just another huge indicator that the Ford GT was a true labor of love. There are no shortcuts on this vehicle.
In a very rare approach, the race car was developed simultaneously with the street car, and the advantages of the parallel development are obvious. If there was a snag on the race car: they’d refer to the street car for direction and vice versa. After seeing the two cars side by side: the only real differences are truly the paint job and body kit.
The race car is an absolute winner–made very clear when the GT and its team of drivers successfully won their race at Le Mans in 2016–but the streetcar is really something to be experienced.
The V6 on paper might sound egregious for a GT, but the EcoBoost engine is everything you’ve ever wanted in a supercar. This baby flies. After testing the car’s limits–along with the strength of your stomach–you'll never enjoy a roller coaster again. It was a true, unabashed race car.
Ford's team of amazing engineers have something to be very very proud of, and the waitlist to shell what seems, after experiencing it, like a low $450k backs up the true demand.
From the nail-gargling rumble of the exhaust to the low stance and aggressive tail wing, the street version of the GT is truly a race car with a pair of license plates. Paying necessary homage to its ancestor’s while sporting a gorgeous and sleek carbon fiber frame, there might just be a new epitome of the Ford GT.