Nearly a half century ago, the Ford GT40 went to the 24 Hours of LeMans and crushed mighty Ferrari, sparking an enduring legend. Now Ford looks for a LeMans déjà vu this summer with a reborn racing GT, followed by 250 annual copies of a roughly US $400,000 scissor-doored wonder car for the street.
The GT eschews a V-8 for a downsized twin-turbo V-6 based on its Daytona-winning LMP2 race engine. Ford is promising the best power-to-weight ratio of any production car in the world, with a hand-laid carbon-fiber tub and body for this midengine monster.
An active suspension lets the Ford hunker down at tripledigit speeds to reduce drag, while an active air brake at the rear rises and angles as needed to boost aero downforce or slow the car into corners. The gorgeous fuselage is billionaire bait, but the bravura style is wedded to pure function. A curved pair of flying buttresses perform dual tricks: The winged roof channels direct air to the rear spoiler, and their hollow sections contain piping for the turbo intercoolers: Engine intake air is hoovered from beneath the car, compressed into the turbos, then snaked through the winglets and down again to hyperventilate the V-6. Heated air from the intercoolers flows rearward and exits through tubes in the center of the rear taillights.
It’s all executed so beautifully that we were pleased to gawp at the thing at the recent Detroit Auto Show. But I’ll be happier when Ford finally lets us drive it.