The 2015 Ford GT concept is finally here. Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, the brand new supercar arrived in concept form, with Ford confirming that it is close to production ready, both inside and out.
A release date for the vehicle has been pegged for 2016, but in the meantime why not read on to find out everything we know about the new Ford GT?
Taking into account Ford’s recent investment in aluminium chassis development and its extensive use in the old car, it’s unsurprising to learn that the new GT will utilise a lightweight aluminium platform.
Given that the previous GT featured one of the most composed and communicative chassis in its class (enough to land it the title of evo’s Car of the year in 2005), the new, likely lighter car has a lot to live up to. Since this’ll be Ford’s new ‘halo’ car, we can assume Ford won’t be cutting corners.
The body, constructed of carbonfibre, features active-aero to enhance braking and downforce, whilst reducing drag when not needed.
Keeping each corner of the car light whilst maximising strength, the GT will feature racing car style torsion bar and inboard mounted pushrod suspension, with aluminium wishbones and adjustable ride height all round. Not only will this setup help the fast Ford contend with high-tech rivals from Europe (including Ferraris featuring complex Side Slip angle Control tech), it’ll also provide a good base for Ford to build on for its 2016 Le Mans presence (covered below).
The new Ford GT will be available with high-performance carbon ceramic brakes at all four corners, sitting behind lightweight multi-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels. These are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tyres, made using a unique compound and structure adapted specifically for the new GT.
The concept features a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost mid-mounted engine, producing 447kW and sending power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle. The V6 features a new port/direct dual fuel-injection setup, improving throttle response, and a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain.
The engine is based on the same ‘race-proven’ architecture found in Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype racers, where its been responsible for three race wins in its first IMSA Tudor United Sportscar Championship season (in 2014), including a victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. This, plus seven other podiums through the season, gives the new GT’s turbocharged powerplant proper racing car credentials.
The new unit represents a drastic change compared to the last GT, whose firepower was provided by a supercharged 5.4-litre V8, good for 410kW and 678Nm. Though some had labelled it as almost blasphemous to suggest the next GT will utilise anything less than eight-cylinders, the new car’s shift to a smaller capacity, forced induction unit was almost inevitable given increasing global pressure to lower emissions.
The new Ford GT will have to compete with Ferrari’s upcoming turbocharged 458, so a 0-100km/h time close to 3.0sec wouldn’t seem out of the question. Top speed? The previous car could reach 330km/h – expect more of the same in the new car.
The two-seat supercar features an ‘F1-style’ steering wheel with a stalkless steering column. Fixed seats with an adjustable steering column and pedal box ensure weight distribution is optimised for every driver.
It’s all but confirmed that the new car will spawn a racing version to take part in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’s big news, because the original Ford GT (which was named GT40 due to its waist-high 40-inch height) dominated the iconic endurance race through four consecutive years of the 1960s, earning it legendary status amongst racing fans. A return to Le Mans would certainly grab the attention of Ferrari and Aston Martin’s GT teams.
Adding to the nostalgia is the fact the new car’s launch year, 2016, also coincides with the 50th anniversary of when the original Ford GT finished 1-2-3 at the Le Mans race.
Chip Ganassi Racing has been touted as the team to run the racing GTs. With much success in the IndyCar, NASCAR and United SportsCar championships, the team will be charged with catapulting Ford to the head of its class once again.