The spirit of the Ford GT40 lives on – and on. “I never thought we’d do a first one, much less this new one now,” said Kip Ewing, chief engineer of the blue oval’s 2017 GT.
The born-again GT, the second modern revival of the Le Mans-winning supercar from the 1960s, was the surprise star of the Detroit auto show in January.
Its great looking bodywork is a clear tip to the GT40 but with a much sharper edge and 21st century aerodynamics, including giant cutouts in the tail to feed air to the rear wing and diffuser.
But it’s the powerplant that’s the real surprise – a direct-injection, twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 instead of a traditional V8, but still making more than 600 horsepower. There is a seven-speed double-clutch transaxle in the rear.
The car’s construction uses a carbon-fibre passenger cell with aluminium subframes at each end to support race-style pushrod suspension with torsion bars, and the car rolls on 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot tyres.
The cabin has race-style bucket seats, digital instruments and a race-style steering wheel.
Full details of the car are still secret, although it’s known the car will be produced late in 2016 in time for the 50th anniversary of Ford’s win at Le Mans in 1966.
The number of cars could be held to as few as 200, although that’s unlikely, but it will only be left-hand drive.
On the racing front, the new GT is strongly rumoured to be driving Ford back to Le Mans with Chip Ganassi’s team. A program in the United SportsCar Championship in the USA is a definite but the return to Le Mans – where the car would go up against Ferrari, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Porsche in the GTE category – has yet to be confirmed.