A decade after ending production of its exotic GT supercar, Ford Motor Co. will launch an all-new version, pulling together its latest innovations and advancements – including the use of carbon fiber.
The GT’s unannounced debut at the 2015 North American Auto Show came as a bombshell surprise, and was one in a trio of new high-performance models the maker unwrapped for its media audience.
The project “came from the heart,” acknowledged Ford Chairman Bill Ford, and almost in a bit of a whim as senior Ford Motor Co. executives began to tie together the research and development efforts underway across the company – from the use of new, lightweight materials to advanced powertrain technologies.
“Let’s have a showcase where we can highlight all that technology and innovation in a dramatic way,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told TheDetroitBureau.com.
One of the more surprising details of the new GT project is the speed with which it is coming together. The program was launched barely a year ago, but the first of the new supercars will hit the street, according to Fields, “next year.”
About the only other Ford program that came together so quickly was the 2003 GT.
While final details are still under development, the next Ford GT will feature a full carbon fiber body, though it is unclear precisely mix of materials will be used for the underlying platform.
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The vehicle will be powered by a tuned version of Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. It is expected to make “600-plus” horsepower. Torque has not yet been determined. Based on the pace of improvements in the broader supercar community, it is likely that the GT would be able to launch from 0 to 60 in around three seconds, and would almost certainly reach or near a top speed of 200 mph.
Unlike some competitors, Chairman Ford said there are “no plans” to use any form of electrification to boost the performance of the upcoming GT. By contrast, another supercar being previewed at the Detroit Auto Show, the newly revived Acura NSX, will be powered by a three-motor hybrid system anchored by a turbocharged V-6.
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The GT program will almost certainly be limited in length and volume, much like the last Ford supercar, confirmed Chairman Ford.
Meanwhile, global product development chief Raj Nair pointed to the project as “a proof point about how serious we are about delivering innovation through performance.”
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Don’t be surprised to see the very first production version to wind up in the garage of the company chairman – and great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford – who currently owns the first of the 2003 GT supercars.
Based on initial response to the concept vehicle that rocketed out onto the stage at the Detroit Auto Show, demand for the next batch could be stiff. Supercars, in general, have benefited significantly from the ongoing economic recovery. Ford is hoping that the GT will provide a halo normally reserved for more traditional exotic makers, such as Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini.