celebrate its 100-year anniversary, Ford relaunches the legendary GT40
after 40 years! if you remember, the GT40 stunned the world in the ‘60s
by beating Ferrari in the GT racing world and winning 4 Le Mans titles.
Since then it is still the only mid-engined supercar Ford ever
The 2004 version won’t beat Ferrari in motor racing - as it is designed
to be a pure road car, but it is no less ambitious. Ford SVT wants it
beat Ferrari 360 Modena to be the best production sports car in the
The GT is also priced to compete directly with the Ferrari, at
in the US or £100,000 in Britain. That means its rivals also
Lamborghini Gallardo (£117,000), Porsche 911 GT2 (£116,000)
and the Challenge Stradale version of Ferrari 360 (£133,000). Can
Henry Ford’s car beat these finest supercars?
In my eyes,
Ford GT is only remarkable for the lack of it. What styling it has? the
design team headed by J. Mays put too much emphasis on the so-called
Legend" philosophy. They did virtually nothing to alter the look of the
1960s car, resulting in a retro-style sports car, or simply look like a
replica of the GT40. The visual flair is not helped by the poor fit and
finish of the body panels (e.g. wide and uneven assembly gaps,
of body parts) either. The cockpit is a similar story. Retro is again
main theme, as you can see from the 6-gauges instrument panel and big
switches. Materials used are poor. The cabin is not trimmed in leather,
but hard plastic (e.g. dashboard and door panels) and some switch gears
from Ford’s parts bin. Some aluminum parts and magnesium transmission
do lift the sense of occasion, but overall speaking this car does not
as expensive as a £100,000 sports car should be.
GT is designed to accommodate big people. 6ft 4in tall people will fit
into it nicely. What a pity the carbon-fiber-backed seats are too flat
to hold the person tight. Getting in and out is easy, thanks to the
that cut into the roof. Also, the sills are narrow, because the GT
on its transmission tunnel to provide strength. More brilliantly, the
tunnel is actually not too wide, especially when you know the fuel tank
is housed inside it.
was a combination
of British (Lola) chassis and Detroit powertrain. The new GT is also a
product of international cooperation: the V8 is purely USA - based on
MOD V8 and modified by Roush, the 6-speed transaxle is from Ricardo
the aluminum space-frame chassis is supplied by Metro Technologies
the aluminum body work is by Mayflower (UK), the clutch is AP Racing
the brakes come from Brembo (Italy). However, this time the chassis was
designed by American and the whole project was handled by Neil
who engineered the Saleen S7 road car. Assembly is also taken place at
Saleen. Therefore it is fair to say the Ford GT is an American car in
way like Corvette and Viper.
heart of the GT is an American V8. Unbelievably, it is based on the one
serving Ford SVT Lightning pickup. However, Roush, an expert of
the Ford V8, gave it a thorough rework. Without alternating the 5409cc
(or 330cu) displacement, Roush gave it a new 4-valve head, a new
aluminum block, forged aluminum pistons, high-strength con-rods, forged
steel crankshaft etc., and then the root-type supercharger was replaced
by a more efficient, Lysholm (screw) type supercharger by Eaton. Boost
pressure increased to 12.0 psi (0.83 bar). The result is exactly 500
at 6000rpm and 500 lbft of torque at 4500rpm.
The GT weighs
its power to weight ratio is more or less identical to Dodge Viper and
is obviously higher than Ferrari 360. Lamborghini Gallardo has the same
power and a slight advantage in kerb weight (just 20kg), but the Ford’s
supercharger and extra 400cc gave it an overwhelming advantage in
- 500 lbft versus 376 lbft, so the GT is faster in acceleration.
0-60mph takes only 3.8 seconds, some 0.3 sec faster than Gallardo and
Challenge Stradale version of Ferrari 360. This claim has been verified
by R&T and surpassed by Motor Trend, which took only 3.6 seconds.
also found 0-100mph need 8.8 sec and 8.1 sec respectively. (Forget Car
And Driver here. It recorded an unbelievable 3.3 sec for 0-60 and 7.6
for 0-100, which doesn’t match its power-to-weight ratio at all.
Ford gave it a "specially-prepared" car for test) This means the GT
faster than 360CS, Gallardo, Viper and is about level with 911GT2.
the road, the
acceleration is accompanied with thunderous noise from the V8. The
supercharger has its whine well suppressed such that what you hear is a
only a true American V8. Because of the tremendous torque, you can rely
on the engine to do its work instead of shifting the long-throw and
chassis is similar to Ferrari 360 in technology but only stiffer.
rigidity is 29,000Nm per degree, surpassing the Ferrari’s
Unsurprisingly, the suspensions are forged aluminum double-wishbones at
all corners. The rear wheels are 1 inch larger in diameter than the
to aid visual appeal. They wear super-wide 315 tires to put down the
torque to the road, but the 40% aspect ratio is not too
to the stiff chassis, the Ford GT can soften its suspensions to provide
a supple ride without affecting the accuracy of handling. While Ferrari
360CS is upset by mid-corner bumps, Ford GT just overcome them
Its handling characteristic is also more forgiving than the Ferrari.
to superior grip and a soft rear end, the GT is not prone to tail
The setup is such that it has the right amount of stabilizing
when you turn into a corner, and then transit to neutral in mid-corner.
This is a safe yet efficient cornering style. It enables the driver to
steer smoothly into and out of bend. No wonder Car And Driver magazine
compared the GT, 360CS and 911GT3 on a racing track and found the GT
higher exit speed in most corners. Of course, once leaving the corner,
the GT used its superior power and torque to push even further. The
is a decisively quicker lap time.
given to Neil
Hannemann and his team for tuning the chassis so well. On the one hand,
the GT has all its international ingredients integrated so well to
a Lamborghini and Ferrari-beating performance, handling and ride
That's already amazing. On the other hand, it is simultaneously easy to
control, just like a Lamborghini Gallardo with even higher performance
and sharper handling. That's another surprise.
Of course, the
flaws. It doesn't look as sexy and expensive as its European rivals.
tiny front luggage compartment is useless. Its visibility is poor at
and virtually non-existent at the rear. Its supercharged V8 doesn't
like a high-revving Ferrari V8 or a Lamborghini V10. Its steering isn't
the most communicative, especially beside a Ferrari 360 Challenge
And to many people it doesn't have enough soul and character.
GT is a
prove that the USA can build the best sports car in the world, even
it took only 22 months from concept to production. Well done, Ford. I
your next mid-engined supercar won't come as late as 40 years later.
above report was last updated on 29 Dec
2003. All Rights Reserved.
Ford GT: 550hp and 205 mph
speculations that the GT actually produces more than 500 horsepower. In
2004, Ford finally admitted that and re-rated the car at 550
This arrives at 6500rpm instead of the original 6000rpm. Maximum torque
remains at 500 lbft, but now it occurs at 3750rpm instead of 4500rpm.
explain why the GT is found quicker than Lamborghini Gallardo.
In June 2004,
Ford took a
production GT to Italy's Nardo test track for top speed measurement.
result is 205mph. Now it is confirmed to be the fastest car in its
above report was last updated on 9 Jun 2004. All