Ford will soon be celebrating the 50th anniversary of it placing first, second and third at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. To mark this event, rumors have been swirling that the Blue Oval has been plotting a return to the French endurance classic. But to do so, first one needs a production car.
This is the all-new Ford GT, a 600+ hp carbon fiber monster that provides all the underpinnings needed to facilitate a potential return to victory lane.
The last Ford GT ran for two years from 2005 to 2006. Based on the original GT40 from the 1960s, the new GT sports that same low, wide stance -- only with modern flourishes and twin tailpipes that could consume an entire melon with room to spare.
Built from a carbon fiber safety cell, the GT is set to go into production next year, likely in very limited numbers and for a rather expensive price. Situated behind the front seats, power derives from a 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6. Don't be fooled by the name, however, this motor is a derivative of the race engine currently being used by Chip Ganassi Racing in the TUDOR United Sports Car Series.
To ensure the GT is more than just power, active aerodynamics are in play with a rear wing that varies its angle of attack based on conditions. It also has adjustable ride height, pushrod suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes and 20-inch rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires.
The two occupants enter the cabin via upward-swinging doors, and the seats are integrated into the carbon chassis. An F1-inspired steering wheel comes adorned with paddle shifts connected to the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and a digital dash displays all the vital statistics.
"It’s worth remembering that our first innovation as a company was not in a laboratory, but on the racetrack,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer, referring to Henry Ford’s win of a 1901 car race that inspired financial backers to invest in his company. Returning to racing's largest stage makes sense for Ford, and this new rig should provide the perfect base to work from.