The Ford GT40 shocked the world when introduced at Le Mans in the 1960s. Its innovative engineering helped usher in a new era of racing car design as it became an instant legend. Fast forward to the modern sports car era, and the 2017 Ford GT continues its legacy of unconventional design and engineering. This makes for an exhilarating and unique driving experience.
To own a Ford GT is to own a piece of motor sports history that harks back to another time and place. The connection between car and driver in the 2017 Ford GT is very strong and makes drivers more comfortable at high levels of performance. The 2017 Ford GT is a rare vehicle that resonates with sports car fans around the globe.
Rebirth of an Icon
The Ford GT was introduced in 2005 with great anticipation from the automotive world not only because it would be the first mass-produced, U.S.-built supercar in quite some time, but also because the Ford GT had gigantic shoes to fill. The Ford GT was very much a tribute to the original GT40. The dimensions and shape were very similar to that of the GT40, which was originally designed by Noble Motorsports in the U.K. The engine was also a throwback in the form of a 5.4-liter V-8.
Timeless Shelby Design Philosophy
The big V-8 produced around 500 horsepower and also let out a throaty exhaust note that was reminiscent of the original Le Mans racers, although slightly tamer. The massive V-8 was mated to a traditional six-speed manual transmission complete with retro knobs and machined shift gate. The combination of brute strength married to a lightweight and balanced chassis was a simple yet beautiful recipe that found Carroll Shelby success with the infamous Shelby Cobra. He shared this recipe with Ford to help develop the GT40, which stole the Le Mans crown from Ferrari and kept it for four straight years. This heritage was the center of the 2005 Ford GT and continues to be the foundation of the 2017 Ford GT.
The 2017 Ford GT takes the concept of lightweight and heavy power to the next level. The GT is constructed primarily of carbon fiber and aluminum with an all-carbon fiber body and a high-strength frame composed of carbon fiber elements with aluminum structures.
Ford doubles down on its EcoBoost technology with the 2017 Ford GT, equipping it with a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6. This highly tuned, highly specialized engine produces a whopping 647 horsepower. The EcoBoost V-6 is mated to an advanced seven-speed automated manual transmission. The computer-controlled quick-shifting transmission helps the 2017 Ford GT reach 0 to 60 times in about three seconds.
Like the original GT40, the 2017 Ford GT is very aerodynamic. The low-slung teardrop shape is a familiar profile; however, the 2017 Ford GT has the added benefit of active aero features, including a telescoping rear wing that positions itself for minimum drag and maximum downforce. The ride height of the 2017 Ford GT is a mere 43.7 inches in normal driving. However, when the 2017 Ford GT reaches higher speeds, the active suspension engages, lowering the ride height to 41 inches.
The Ford GT is a mid-engine configuration. The compact engine package allows the Ford GT to exhibit near-perfect weight distribution, and the low-ride height mixed with the wide track gives the Ford GT an almost vacuum-like grip to the pavement. The 2017 Ford GT is reportedly capable of pulling lateral G-forces over 1 on the skid pad and in track testing. The extreme aerodynamics and handling ability are necessary to harness the raw power from the Ford GT’s engine and drivetrain.
The EcoBoost V-6 used in the 2017 Ford GT is derived from a very similar unit to the Ford Raptor performance F-series pickup. The EcoBoost V-6 in the 2017 Ford GT was the most powerful V-6 engine in production at the time of its release. The dual overhead cam, 24-valve turbocharged engine also features direct injection for a more efficient fuel burn. The key difference between the engine in the Ford Raptor and the 2017 Ford GT is in the intake and turbo systems.
While the sleek profile of the Ford GT almost makes it unnoticeable, there are two massive intake ports just forward of each rear wheel. These intake ports route almost directly into the turbo and create an almost ram-air effect, scooping up cool air forward of the exhaust and from the outer extreme of the body. This increased airflow is tuned with aggressive timing, increased boost, and high-output fuel injectors that help the Ford GT produce an additional 200+ horsepower over the already neck-snapping Ford Raptor.
Ford GT Power Output
As is common with forced-induction engines, the turbo V-6 has a flat torque plateau that generates peak torque around 3,500 rpm and that maintains this speed all the way through to redline with peak power output coming at 6,500 rpm. The Ford GT also features a unique lag reduction system that helps the engine maintain turbo pressure during short throttle cuts while shifting. Though this system ensures peak performance from the Ford GT, it is also a key contributor to the lower fuel economy ratings (11 mpg city, 18 mpg highway), which most Ford GT owners will be more than willing to overlook.
Ford GT Advanced Transmission
The Ford GT EcoBoost V-6 mates to a Getrag dual clutch gearbox with seven close-ratio gears. The Ford GT shares this transmission with the AMG GT from Mercedes. This quick-shifting setup is more than capable of handling the torque from the EcoBoost V-6, and as anyone who has driven the 2017 Ford GT can attest, it does an excellent job of keeping the power coming with very little delay between shifts.
The tough-as-nails transmission also allowed Ford engineers to include an aggressive launch control feature. Launch control became popular around 2010, but it is now almost a necessity in a modern supercar. These systems allow for a pre-programmed throttle and transmission configurations that offer the ideal engine speed and gear selection for the fastest possible launch. Early systems, like those used on the first-generation Nissan GTR, were highly effective but also were known to grenade transmissions.
However, Ford has learned well from the mistakes of their competitors and produced a launch control system that is not only robust but also one that is capable of hurling the Ford GT past 60 mph in under three seconds. With acceleration of this caliber and lateral grip to match, the 2017 Ford GT has very few competitors at its sub seven-figure price point.
Ford produced the GT in very limited quantities in 2017, so the vehicle remains very hard to come by. However, the level of performance offered by the Ford GT is unlike any other driving experience. The Ford GT is more than Le Mans-inspired; it is a Le Mans-ready racer with turn signals and air conditioning.
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