Written by independent automotive journalist David Neyens
Five decades after Ford’s GT40 was whipped into the dominant endurance-racing car of the 1960s and nearly one decade after the last second-generation Ford GT left Ford’s Wixom, Michigan, facility in 2006, the roadgoing Ford GT debuted at the January 2015 North American Auto Show in Detroit. The new GT’s European debut was yet to come in late 2017 at Frankfurt, with competition cars having already won class at Le Mans in 2016 (plus third, fourth and ninth places), precisely 50 years after Ford’s first triumph there. Press coverage for the futuristic new Ford GT was heavy and in-depth, ranging from automobile magazines to blogs, TV shows and even a detailed review and test session covered in the technology-oriented magazine Wired.
Developed in parallel by Ford engineers with the Chip Ganassi Racing/Multimatic racing cars, the road-going 2017 Ford GT is essentially a thinly disguised FIA LM GTE-class racing car, albeit one with creature comforts, startling luxury and a license plate. A stunning tour de force, the GT bristles with modern high-tech materials, cutting-edge construction techniques and advanced performance technologies throughout. Manufacturing of the road models is carried out by Multimatic at its new, purpose-built low-volume production facility in Markham, Ontario, near Toronto in Canada. There, the first Ford GT road car was completed on December 16, 2016, an event celebrated with top Ford Motor Company brass in attendance to mark the occasion.
Based on a track-worthy carbon-fiber monocoque “tub” structure, the GT is surprisingly compact in overall proportions with its bodywork purpose-built for minimal frontal area and low aerodynamic drag, with frontal styling a reverential nod to the original GT40s. Standing just 43.7 inches tall, it becomes two inches lower when Track Mode is selected! Suspension is via competition-style pushrod-actuated dampers, and sections of an FIA-legal roll cage are neatly integrated into the GT’s roof structure. Exuding a teardrop shape viewed from above, the GT’s main bodywork tapers sharply to the rear, and built-in features deliver astounding downforce at speed. Flying buttresses direct cooler air into the engine and pontoon-style rear fenders are in the mold of current track-only Le Mans prototypes.
Mounted behind the driver is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 engine, unlike the prior two Ford GT iterations, which utilized V8 power of various displacements. Developing 647 horsepower – a mammoth 183 horses per liter, the EcoBoost V6 delivers 550 ft/lbs of torque. Harnessed by Getrag 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission/rear transaxle, the GT explodes from rest to 60 mph in less than three seconds all the way up to a 216-mph top end. Hydraulic steering provides precise directional control and extremely lightweight carbon-fiber wheels reduce the GT’s unsprung weight for exceptional response and handling. Switched into Race Mode for track duty, the GT delivers sharper response to throttle inputs, less-sensitive traction- and stability-control programming, the aforementioned lower ride height, and stiffer underpinnings plus noticeably firmer shifts from the 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
An amazing offering from the private collection of a retired Ford Motor Company vice president, this 2017 Ford GT will cross the auction block with No Reserve at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale as Lot #1392, along with his extremely rare, highly optioned 2015 Shelby GT350R, Lot #1392.1. Equipped with over $50,000 in optional features, the exterior of this 2017 Ford GT is finished in eye-catching Liquid Red paint with Frozen White racing stripes, accented with matte-finish carbon-fiber components courtesy of the extended Carbon Fiber Package. The GT’s interior features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the Dark Energy Interior Package upgrade, as well as factory-installed 6-point harness mounting points. Riding on 20-inch Gloss Black aluminum wheels featuring optional titanium lug nuts and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 extreme-performance tires, the GT also features silver-painted brake calipers. Once inside, selecting Track Mode allows the pushrod-actuated torsion bars to drop the ride height 50 mm (2 inches) and directs the rear spoiler to spring up, rendering the GT ready to attack any racing circuit. Offered in immaculate condition with just 141 actual miles of use at the time of writing, this 2017 Ford GT is stunning on every possible count and ready for a new caretaker to enjoy and appreciate.