The long sweeping of the body absorbs the morning sun and radiates a warm glow, the red apple paint that gives the aura of hot coals. It\’s a terribly cold morning in the Mojave Desert as we curl up next to the car to catch reflected heat.
This is not the first time that we have been at the Willow Springs International Raceway and we are admiring a brand new Ford GT, waiting for permission to start hot rides. Seven weeks ago, we were at the same place with a black GT waiting for the same test. Our resident professional pilot, Randy Pobst, reported problems with damping and braking. Then one of the fuel pumps of the used prototype failed. The other fuel pump worked well enough to finish the pictures you are looking at.
It was not supposed to be like that.
All supercars are special, but in an increasingly crowded room, the Ford GT stands out again. Choose your reason. It looks like nothing else, all the wings of the teardrop and outrigger cabin and the flying buttresses between the two. It is powered by a twin turbo V6 with a mysterious anti-lag system and an intake system that integrates both these wings and their buttresses. Its suspension uses both coil springs and torsion bars and drops the 2.0-inch ride height in a little longer than a snap. An FIA certified safety cage is integrated into the roof. The pedals and the steering wheel come to you, not the other way around. This steering wheel is for the whole world as if it were coming out of a real honest race car. Perhaps because it was designed for a real, honest and good race car, which won its class on the first attempt of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The expectations of this car, fueled by a carefully planned extended delivery and delivery process to maximize the hype, are now several times its curb weight of 3,354 pounds (about 300 pounds more than the “dry weight” published by Ford). The lines have been drawn for quite some time now in circles of enthusiasts, each with its own high metric for the GT to respect. Almost two years after its unveiling and a year and a half since Le Mans, it\’s finally time.
One day before he showed signs of illness on the track, our first GT told a very different story. Test controller Chris Walton found the launch control was easy to use with a light wheel spin on the way to a 3.0 second dashboard at 60 mph. More interesting was the second wheel race at 50 mph when the second clutch transmission seized second in full acceleration. Less than 8.0 seconds after hitting 60, he passed the quarter mile mark at 130.5 mph.
The results are slightly different at the end of a quarter mile trail. The GT-Rs and 911 GT3 RS have fallen behind, and the McLaren 650S and 675LT have slightly outperformed. Otherwise, the order of arrival is the same as at 60 mph.
For all its punch in a straight line, the GT is not Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The Ford is built for cornering. Kim Reynolds, master of the eight, found the GT predictable and surprisingly easy to fly. “He basically underpinned” the limit, “he noted,” so it\’s better to just manage it and then run it to power it out of the corner. He will try to turn if you do not stay one step ahead. Frankly, I felt like I had a better time than 22.7, but I\’m fine. ”
The finer details: 22.7 seconds at 0.97 g average in Figure 8 and 1.11 g average side on the skid track.
How is the elite? Take all the cars listed above, and the GT is faster around the Eight than anything, but the Corvette Z06, ACR Viper, 488 GTB, Huracán Efficient, 675LT, 720S and 918 Spyder.
More than 1.0 g on the skidpad is also elite, and the GT 1.11 is better than all the cars tested except the Corvette Z06, Huracan Efficient, AMG GT R and 918 Spyder and is on par with the ZL1 1LE and GT3.
“His brake pedal is firm, and his shot is short, but there\’s a bit of modulation available at the end,” said Walton. The 60 mph stop takes 95 feet, usually impressive but midpack among the supercars.
That\’s when the feces hit the respirator with our first GT loan – just when we were about to heat him up in Willow Springs. The injured car was sent back to Michigan, where Ford diagnosed a shock, a damaged wiring harness, and an out of tolerance brake booster. More than 5,000 miles of torture and torment at the hands of the enthusiastic press had wreaked havoc on the early-build car.
Our tests incomplete, we have cajoled Ford to send a replacement for the test drives at Willow Springs. We were pretty confident in our test results for the first car. We can debate whether a brake damper or a discouragement damper costs us a tenth on the eight, until we are blue in the face. would be limited to high speed tours.
To be clear, Big Willow is a nasty track. The sidewalk is old and bumpy. Its edges are shredded. There are no shark teeth to cut to the peaks, no gravel traps to catch you at the exits. Just scrub the desert, hard dirt and concrete block walls. The turn becomes more difficult as you progress through the circuit, culminating in turn 8 of 140 mph, without camber, which passes to a short braking zone for the descending radius of turn 9, which leads to the line right. The maximum speeds of 160mph on the front straight are not unknown in production cars, but they are too fast in corner 9, and the turn exit asphalt is very short (some of the biggest names in the race have discovered). It\’s 2.42 quick and unforgiving miles.
How did the GT behave on the “fastest route in the West”? With Randy driving, we ran 1: 23.69. Where does this fit into the scheme of things?
The Ford GT also beats the McLaren 675LT, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 / Z07, the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 and the Aventador LP 750-4 SV, the Nissan GT-R NISMO and the McLaren 650S. (The others mentioned above in test 0-60 were not honed on this track.)
“It behaves much more like an AMG GT or a Nissan GT-R, a motor car in the front and back,” says Randy, “It behaves as if it has a longer polar moment, and it is an accomplishment. I really respect that a lot. He has this stability. It does not have that traditional twitchiness of mid-engine cars. This car gives me more impression of support than most cars we test. I think the support is very effective, especially in the back. ”
He can still bite you, though.
“It will generate a little power oversight in the third, and maybe even fourth, when the revs are up to the exit,” he said. “And it happens very predictably, there\’s a very nice breakaway, it\’s kind of fun, it\’s not nervous, it\’s not a quick oversteer, it\’s a light flyby of progressive power. , I would like more traction traction. ”
The culprit is in the calibration of the accelerator.
“I feel like I have a lot of power in what seems to be the last 20% of the accelerator,” he said. “I get 50 percent more power sometimes, I push the throttle, and when I go to the floor, it wakes up and I have a lot of power, and I think, I wish I had that already. Most turbo cars, I already have a full boost and I would just add more throttle, while this car has the impression not to be accelerating until the last 20% of the throttle. Then the push comes in and it\’s too sudden, so there\’s still a little lack of linearity in power. ”
This is the opposite problem at the lower end.
“There is a bit of a lag, and then it happens and it shoots like a bear,” he said. “I have to drive with a turbo foot, that is to say deliberately start to feed the turbos quickly. It\’s a bit more vintage, it\’s more like a classic turbo engine. It is a high-revving engine, the powerband is stronger in diets, and it has a good midrange. But it\’s even better on the high end.
Randy\’s real problem, however, was with braking.
“It does not create the confidence to go to the bottom of the brake, because there is this element of time when I\’m on the pedal and I expect a full braking, and I have not yet,” he said. . “What you want for this car is” Boom! “Because we\’re driving 160mph, and we want to stop now, so I think it stops pretty well, but there\’s no linear relationship with the pedal on the initial application. that it accumulates.
“You\’re driving 160mph here, and you think about all the problems you\’re going to have if you fly at the end of this bend,” he continued. “Even in a position where I thought \’Oh, I did it\’, it tells you that I do not get the kind of response and bite that gives me the confidence to go to a specific point and know that I\’m \’I\’ll go to the corner.\’
Randy also had very positive impressions from the GT: “It looks pretty sweet for a supercar, it\’s not a hard car, and I like it, especially for a clamshell car. This track has bumpy braking zones, and I do not feel it at all.The car is well soaked, it gets a nice feel all along the bend 8, which seems bumpy in some cars, even at this low height, there is not a good track program on the automatic, I move manually, everything works perfectly and the powerband is wide enough so that it is not very difficult. For some reason, I find it very, very easy to find the right equipment. ”
Rarely my own track impressions accurately reflect Randy\’s, as we use it to push cars further and harder than the rest of us are capable of. Not that we are pikers, but there is fast, and then Randy is fast. At Willow Springs in this Ford GT, however, Randy and I were in complete agreement. The calibration of the shaky accelerator, the absence of initial braking, the incredibly smooth ride on one of the most bumpy circuits of the nation, the ease with which you can drive it quickly right out of the door … all that. I would have liked to use this space to tell you how it rolls in the street, but Ford limited this test to the track only.
The results, we come to the crucial question: is it worth it? If it was a $ 200,000 car, we would not even ask the question. With a starting price of $ 453,750 and a price estimated to be an additional set of tires south of half a million dollars, these factors become relevant.
Few cars order this kind of coin, and all that is really special. This is where the Ford GT stands. It\’s not the fastest or fastest car we\’ve ever tested, but most of its counterparts are not. It is, however, just as special as they are, a new and refreshing take on the supercar formula that we know so well. It\’s unique in a segment that has long understood the optimal layout and design, and it\’s an uniquely American approach to an idea dominated by European thought. Prudent and impertinent, it is invaluable.
|2017 Ford GT|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Mid-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||213.4 cu in/3,497 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||647 hp @ 6,250 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||550 lb-ft @ 5,900 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||5.2 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, torsion bars, push-rod actuated adj coil springs and adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, torsion bars, push-rod actuated adj coil springs and adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.5-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.5 x 20-in; 11.5 x 20-in, carbon-fiber composite|
|TIRES, F;R||245/35R20 95Y; 325/30R20 106Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2|
|TRACK, F/R||66.7/65.4 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||187.5 x 78.9 x 41.7-43.7 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||40.0 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,354 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||41/59%|
|SHOULDER ROOM||48.7 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||0.4 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.2|
|QUARTER MILE||10.8 sec @ 130.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||95 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.11 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.7 sec @ 0.97 g (avg)|
|2.4-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||1:23.69 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,275 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$500,000 (est)|
|AIRBAGS||6: Dual front, side, knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||15.2 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||11/18/14 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||306/187 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.46 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|