Automakers traditionally aren’t very good at keeping secrets but, despite dropping a big hint a couple weeks ago, Ford has otherwise kept mum about the supercar it plans to reveal at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week.
What seems certain is that it is a Ford GT. But is it just a tweak of the existing model or an all-new one? A street-legal version or one designed specifically for track?
Ironically, what Ford has long billed as an example of American know-how and muscle will be making its formal debut in England and, no less, on the Fourth of July. Then again, it could remind the Brits of what those pesky Colonialists are capable of.
For a bit of a refresher, Ford developed its original supercar, then known as the GT40, as part of an ongoing battle with Ferrari. A total of just 105 were produced between 1964 and 1969, but they became a force to reckon with on the endurance circuit. The big win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 marked the first time an American manufacturer had taken the checkered flag at a major European race since 1921.
To mark the company’s 100th anniversary, Ford decided to introduce a new version of the supercar, this time with a limited run of street-legal models. Ironically, when the original GT40 program wrapped up, the automaker had relinquished the rights to the GT40 trademark. It wound up renaming the new model as simply the Ford GT.
The mid-engine two-seater produced from 2004 through 2006 was longer, wider and a fraction of an inch taller than the original.
A third-generation model, built of ultra-light carbon fiber and aluminum, with a hefty emphasis on aerodynamics to boost its performance, made its track debut at the Rolex 24 race in January 2016, with a street version following later that year.
The road-ready model is powered by an extreme version of Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the twin-turbo package here punching out 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. Original plans called for a one-year run, with potential buyers having to go through an extensive qualification process that emphasized those who owned the second-gen GT. The run now has been extended, and pretty much anybody with a fat enough checkbook will be able to order a GT during the 2020 model-year.
So, what does Ford have in store for its Goodwood announcement? What the teaser picture reveals is an oversized wing, as well as a hood scoop and a few other minor changes from the current road and track GTs.
There’s been an ongoing debate between those who expect a new track model that would keep the GT nameplate competitive on the endurance circuit. Ford has championed the current version for three years in the World Endurance Championship program, but it may be hoping to surpass the current 216 mph top speed.
Others are confident the mystery car is really going to be street-legal, Ford packing even more muscle into that 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. And, of course, the possibility of a fourth-generation series, including both track and street models cannot be ruled out.
One thing we do know is that the head of Multimatic, the Canadian company that builds the GT for Ford will be on hand at Goodwood, so that partnership is likely to continue.
The announcement will be made at 4:45 AM EDT on July 4, so look for our follow-up later that day. (We’ll almost be certainly sleeping in on the first day of the holiday.)