By Michael Accardi, May 15, 2017
The 2017 Ford GT is an excessively expensive, stupidly fast, rare breed of American psycho car.
Working out of a basement in the company’s Dearborn headquarters, a skunkworks crew made of Ford’s finest staff concocted a machine with killer athleticism, a gorgeously sculpted body, and genius-level intellect. Then they went and added a magical grab bag of mechanical, technological and aerodynamic innovations that make the GT ridiculous on the racetrack yet serene on the street.
The Ford GT isn’t just candy-coated unobtainium or a halo car for the sake of headlines, however. It’s quite literally the future of the company.
The program was always intended as a high-powered training ground for powertrain engineers and aerodynamicists, and to push the company into new realms of weight reduction and advanced material usage – winning at Le Mans underscored everything.
But how does that translate into reality?
5. The Rear Wing is Patent-Pending
In order for the team to paradoxically reduce drag while optimizing downforce, the GT would need adaptive aero elements. So Ford developed this deployable rear wing that alters downforce in conjunction with a set of ducts at the front that open and shut depending on demands.
What makes the wing special is a design that changes the shape of the airfoil itself when the wing is in full flight, along with a small Gurney flap that ups the efficiency.
4. Aerodynamics Ate the V8
The demand for aero efficiency pushed the team to pass on using a big V8. According to Ford, the more compact 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is what made the car’s slick flow-through-fuselage and flying buttresses possible.
In order to make the GT even slimmer, the team moved the intercoolers in front of the rear wheels and mounted the turbos lower on the engine.
3. The Motor is Mental
The GT’s 3.5-liter V6 is an uncommon engine with an uncommon provenance. After years of on-track development, it emerged from Ford’s Daytona Prototype program kicking out some 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, making it the company’s most powerful production EcoBoost ever.
Engineers also developed the factory’s fist anti-lag system, which keeps the turbine spooling without throttle inputs in order to mitigate the effect of turbo-lag on corner exit. It’s possible this technology could trickle down to other high-performance EcoBoost products.
2. Carbon Fiber Everything
The GT was an excuse for Ford to let its engineers experiment with carbon fiber usage with an eye towards the long-term benefits for the company’s products.
Ford has partnerships with both Multimatic and DowAska to develop new ways to bring down the cost of manufacturing carbon fiber parts, which means we’re probably going to see more Fords with lightweight bits coming in the future.
1. It Already Made the Mustang Better
From 2018 forward, the Mustang will benefit from technology pilfered from the supercar. The GT’s all-digital dashboard technology will be an option on the Pony car starting later this year before making its way to other Ford vehicles shortly.
Lessons learned from the GT program have improved the Mustang’s performance driving modes, while the 5.0-liter V8 was made better by dual port and injection technology borrowed from the new EcoBoost V6.
Ford promises that a little bit of the supercar will be found in all of its future products.