As the name suggests, the new Ford GT christened “ Ford GT Le Mans Racer ” will be produced as a tribute to the Ford’s GT40 racing cars of the sixties. The car was showcased earlier in the year during the Detroit Motor Show.
The racing GT will compete at Le Mans in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Ford’s GT clean podium swoop in the 1966 race. Unlike its ancestors, the new Ford GT will compete in the LM GTE Pro class. Only a limited number of road-going GT’s will be produced and Ford already says they are oversubscribed; actually only 250 units will be produced per year.
Ford GT Le Mans Racer Exterior
Until its launch, Ford had managed to keep the vehicle under wraps as only a handful of people were aware of its production. The vehicle was produced in a tiny basement room under lock as opposed to one of the studios in the auto maker’s design center.
The body is made from carbon-fiber which has translated to a good-power-to weight ratio. Compared to the road-going GT’s, only the trapezoid-shaped grille and vented hood look similar, the rest of the Racer’s body has been hooked up with modifications to improve its down force and to reduce its drag. At the front, there is a simple bumper, a huge splitter and a pair of canards on each side. There are also uniquely shaped new headlights. There are also plastic caps bolted on the body to resemble the original GT40.
The sides feature large side skirts that integrate exhaust outlets near the rear wheels. At the rear, the GT features a huge wing and its rear bumper has been cut off to make way for a wide diffuser culminating one of the most aggressive rear ends in the LM GTE cars if not the most aggressive.
The car is also wrapped with racing colors of red, white and blue and sponsor stickers together with 24 Hours of Le Mans” racing stickers. It remains to be seen whether the vehicle is only a Lemans special or whether the car will be used in other championships. The vehicle will ride on 20-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tyres.
Ford GT Le Mans Racer Interior
The cabin we saw during the Detroit debut was too loaded and crowded to take to the racing tracks though the auto maker has confirmed that over 80% of the features will make it to production of road-going models. Therefore, we expect the automaker to remove the main dash area, center console and door panels and replace them with racing gear.
To start with, the automaker will insert a full roll cage so as to comply with FIA’s safety requirements. Carbon-fiber will be a common feature in the Racer’s interior. The instrument cluster will be simplified and hooked up with a multi-function, racing steering wheel. Gone also will be the 2-tone sports seats on the road-going model.
It will be replaced by Alcantara-wrapped carbon-fiber seats which are suitable for racing. The seats will have 6-point harnesses.
Engine Specs and Performance
Ford is still tight-lipped about most details on Ford GT Le Mans Racer power-train. However, we know that the engine will be a 3.5 L, V6 EcoBoost unit. This engine was featured in the IMSA Daytona Prototype in 2014 and returned promising results. The automaker will hook up the engine with race-bred enhancements so as to attain a perfect mix of power and reliability to succeed in races it aims to compete in.
We expect the V-6 engine to deliver in excess of 500 hp. According to the auto maker, the racing car will be lighter than the road-going version. The engine will be paired with a 7-speed dual –clutch automatic gear box and power will be channelled to rear wheels.
This pairing is expected to push the car to a 200 mph top speed with a 0-60 mph acceleration achieved less than 3 seconds.
Price and release date
The automaker is yet to release official information on the new Ford GT price or expected release date. However, we understand that the vehicle will be priced at around 250,000 pounds.
Unlike the sixties where it used to dominate the races, the 2016 Ford GT Le Mans Racer will meet other great race cars in its new LM GTE category. There will be the likes of Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 which is the car to beat; in fact it was the 2014 champion in this class at the 24 hours of Le Mans. The Ford GT will also contend with the Corvette C7.R which is another great racing car.