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Everything there is to know about the 2016 Ford GT

Greg Kachadurian January 13, 2015 Detroit Auto Show, The News! 16 Comments

All-New Ford GT

A Ford like this doesn’t come around very often. In fact, I was in the seventh grade when the last one did.

A Ford “like this” has only come twice before [in production]. As everyone knows, Ford surprised the racing world when their GT40 won the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 1-2-3 finish and then won the next three years consecutively, beating the almighty Ferrari in the process. In 2004, Ford came out with the GT to pay homage to the GT40 with retro-futuristic styling and an old school V8 that let it run with some of the best cars of its day.

Fast-forward to 2015 and Ford is looking to recapture some of that shock factor with the third installment. This is the 2016 Ford GT: the car that will bring Ford back into the supercar arena and, most importantly, bring the blue oval back to Le Mans for the first time since 1969 and just in time for the 50th anniversary of their first 1966 Le Mans win.

Not every detail is set in stone, but click past the jump for everything there is to know about the 2016 Ford GT at this point.

All-New Ford GT

For starters, the 2016 Ford GT is not retro and it isn’t old school. At all. There are no stripes on this example and the classic head-chopper doors are gone. This GT is meant to be more modern and track-focused than the last one was. By the time it goes into production in 2016, Ford wants this to remain cutting edge among other high-performance exotics offered by the likes of McLaren and Ferrari. That means a lot of what you see on this GT has never been seen before on a production Ford – and because it’s a halo car, some of this stuff will become more common among Fords in the future.

All-New Ford GT

Ford’s overhaul of the GT begins most prominently with the body. Styling-wise, it certainly looks like it’s a Ford with its eye on the future. The car may have some classic styling cues that link it to the original GT40 from 50 years ago, but the overall design is meant to be contemporary and fully functional. But above all else, it looks ready to take on Le Mans.

Ford engineers spent hours in the wind tunnel trying to find a way to make the GT’s profile both low in drag and high in downforce and stability. Design features like its teardrop shape, “aircraft inspired fuselage”, and its visibility-enhancing curved windshield help the GT to accomplish its goal of optimal aerodynamics, but Ford wanted more out of it.

All-New Ford GT

Their solution to further enhance its ability to cut through the wind was to use active aerodynamics – a first for a Ford production car [that I can think of]. An active rear spoiler reacts to both speed and certain driver inputs by adjusting its height and/or pitch angle to ensure the car is as stable or streamlined as necessary.

All-New Ford GT

Underneath the fancy aero work is a chassis unlike anything Ford has ever put into production. The entire car is built around a carbon monocoque chassis with aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels. Mark that as something Ford hasn’t done on a production car yet, as that kind of passenger cell construction used to be limited to Formula 1 and the most expensive super cars on the road. We have no word on exactly how light the GT will be, but Ford claims one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.

All-New Ford GT

Ford’s functional design is continued inside the GT’s narrow canopy as well. The interior features nothing that isn’t completely necessary which helps to cut down on clutter and weight. The dash is fairly compact and distraction-free for a modern car, which alludes to its aspirations for endurance racing. The gauge cluster is no longer spread out across the entire width of the car as it used to be, but rather condensed into a configurable digital cluster. That sits nicely behind a square-ish steering wheel that integrates all the necessary driver controls and eliminates the need for stalks on the steering column.

The steering wheel and pedals are adjustable to accommodate drivers of most sizes, which is nice because the seats are integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell and are not adjustable. The fixed seating means less materials are needed which means less weight – all while creating a direct sensory connection to the chassis.

Oh, and the famous GT40 doors that used to try to decapitate tall people are gone in favor of doors that swing upward.

All-New Ford GT

The GT’s more serious attitude continues with the powertrain. Gone is the supercharged 5.4-liter V8 lifted out of the F-150 (it was still awesome) and in its place is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 lifted out of the Daytona Prototype car that was raced to three victories in the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship last season. That engine is said to produce “over” 600 horsepower with minimal lag thanks to port/direct dual fuel-injection and a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. that the wastegates likely vent through those hollowed out tail lights or that heat from the engine bay does.

Power is still sent to the rear wheels but this time through a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.

All-New Ford GT

The lightweight chassis will be suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension featuring adjustable ride height. The GT will ride on twenty-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires with a compound and structure unique to the GT. Deceleration is handled by Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.

All-New Ford GT

The 2016 Ford GT will go into production in 2016 and will race with full factory support in that year’s IMSA Tudor USCC season with an all-American driver lineup (in one car at least) provided by Chip Ganassi Racing. The GT will also race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 50 years after the original GT40 won there.

Some of the specifics, like it’s exact power figure, torque, and other performance data will become available at a later date, but this is it. This is the car that Ford will use to take on the super car world for the third time and Le Mans for a second.

It’s going to be awesome.

All-New Ford GT

[Source: Ford]

  • $kaycog

    "It's going to be awesome." I wholeheartedly second that! I'm so excited!

  • I HATE EXPENSIVE SUPERCARS.
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    I HATE EXPENSIVE SUPERCARS.
    <img src=";
    I HATE EXPENSIVE SUPERCARS.
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    .
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  • OA5599

    "Their solution to further enhance its ability to cut through the wind was to use active aerodynamics – a first for a Ford production car [that I can think of]"

    Ford has had active aero for half a century. On my F 100, if you are going fast enough when you hit a bump, the tailgate automagically opens, reducing drag.

    • PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      [ A9a03erkcqs ]
      All kidding aside. the Lincoln Mark VIII had an active air-suspension that dropped the cars ride height at speed to offer better aerodynamics.

      Is it "active aerodynamics" in the sense that the GT is? Not really, but using a broad paintbrush, it's in there.

    • It may be the first Ford to have an active spoiler, but the current Focus, F150 (I think), and Mustang (at least) use active grille shutters that close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics/reduce drag.

      • JayP2112

        The Focus ST has the active grille. And it's massive.
        <img src="; width="600">

  • Hopman

    I'd buy one if I hit the lotto. I think it strikes a nice balance between being cutting edge and familar at the same time. Let's see if it can beat Ferarri again.

  • Sjalabais

    It definitely looks like a winner just standing there. Not sure if I like the wings going from the roof to the rear wheel arches, but it is a gorgeous redesign of a theme – abandoning the retro ambition. Great work by Ford!

  • jeepjeff

    Damn.

    They nailed it. And I read all the words I wanted to read: hardcore windtunnel testing, carbon tub chassis with aluminum subframes, their most advanced engine platform dialed up to 11 with twin turbo chargers. Mr Capo in the M/T Mafia over here even has to give them a pass on the DCT, because this all sounds like they're intending to win. And that is the right way to make a 50th anniversary GT40 successor. (I don't have the ACO's rulebook memorized, so I don't remember if they allow DCTs these days or not. But the computer is faster and better at shifting than I am, and that matters on the track.)

    I cannot wait to see one in person and to see it tear up a race circuit.

    • bhtooefr

      From (although I thought Ford would have been aiming for LMP2 or LMGTE, but…)

      Clutch

      Only one clutch device is authorised for the combustion engine.

      The following applies only to the main drivetrains clutch or clutches, any clutch used exclusively as part of a ERS is exempt.

      If multiple clutch operating devices are used, they must all have the same mechanical travel characteristics and be mapped identically.

      Clutch movement can be assisted providing that:
      The driver always stays in full and direct control of the clutch,
      The minimum and maximum travel positions of the clutch operating device correspond to the clutch fully engaged normal rest position and fully disengaged (incapable of transmitting any useable torque) positions respectively,
      The sole exception of above paragraph is when antistall and gearshifts strategies are activated.

      gets worse:

      Clutch

      Only one clutch is authorised for the combustion engine. The only energy which can operate the clutch is the one provided by the driver. This one must exert with its foot all the pressure necessary to operate and control the mechanism of the clutch.

      And then there's :

      Clutch

      Conventional mechanical design only, material free.

      The only energy which can operate the clutch is the one provided by the driver. This one must exert with its foot all the pressure necessary to operate and control the mechanism of the clutch.

      If the original vehicle is fitted with a power-driven clutch with electronic or pneumatic control, the mechanism may be replaced but the whole original control system must be retained (see Art. 2.8.1.)

      And the LMGTE rules also explicitly prohibit electronics "in relation to the functioning of the drivetrain", so a DCT won't fly there, either.

    • Charlie

      They'll probably use the existing Daytona Prototype transmission which is already properly homologated for the imsa rules

  • JayP2112

    I was worried the "GT" was going to be the Multimatic race car without a street version. At the best the racecar homologated with lights and wipers. But this surpassed expectations at my house.

    I'm also glad to see they're heading with the ecoboost and I'm hoping this leads to more Ford powered racers. Is there still room for a 2.0L Deltawing?

  • karonetwentyc

    From the pedant's desk: the original Fiesta may have been the first Ford with active aerodynamics. Its grille was fitted with slats which would automatically close at high speed to direct air over the hood; in low-speed situations such as start-stop traffic they would reopen. Airflow from under the bumper and the pull from the engine fans were sufficient to keep the engine cooled at speed.

    That may be pushing the definition of active aerodynamics, though – I'm not sure if they were mechanically-actuated by a motor or similar from sensor inputs, or simply by airflow over them. My bet, frankly, is on the latter.

  • Recycling this comment from the other car show post feels appropriate:

    <img src="; width="600/">
    A V-6 huh? In an American manufacturer's halo car? Perhaps I can direct your attention over to for some hard-hitting reporting about the true reasoning behind this engine choice.

    • <img src="; width=600>
      Also, I am glad you said [in production], because I had the serious wants for this in 6th grade.

      • Charlie

        That had 2 inline duratec's creating a v12, right? That was mentioned in the book about the 1996 Taurus redesign

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