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Ford GT in the super test: The Ford GT on the Nordschleife and Hockenheimring

Rossen Gargolov
Ford GT in the super test
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N eu editions are in both art and the automotive scene a very tricky business: even if they are legitimately legitimized, they can easily cling to something disreputable. In addition, with the enormous number of plagiarisms produced and offered worldwide, such initiatives are often equated with cheap profiteering, which sometimes even affects the reputation of the original. Few brands have developed a strength over the years that makes them impervious to lewd practices. Their inviolability sometimes even extends so far that replicas are classified as contributions to the preservation of monuments - even if technical derailments cannot be ruled out. The legendary Ford GT 40, a mid-engined sports car developed by motorsport enthusiasts exclusively for racing purposes, has become such a strong brand that it has become a synonym. Various Le Mans victories and an aura of unbeatability accompanied the much-noticed and honored ascent of the US mid-engine athlete to the international sports car Olympus. The charismatic winner from the Roaring Sixties was very popular in the motorsport magazines of the time and thus in the hearts of fans, but not very often on the public roads.

A reference to the legendary Ford GT 40

The desire has been aroused for a long time - but so far, at least the factory has not complied with it. There were replicas by the dozen. The fact that, after around four decades of starvation, a Ford named GT is finally taking on the legitimate legacy of the GT 40 is a blessing in that it quotes the original in an almost admirable way - without even being suggestive. Although it has grown in length, width and, above all, in height and has also increased in weight due to its primarily civil use, it reveals breathtaking proportions and fascinating views from wherever you look at it. The new GT knows how to brilliantly transfer the essence and aura of its charismatic ancestor into the present. And he doesn't even have to take the arduous path of exercise to gain recognition. In particular with the significant longitudinal stripe over the astral body, an authenticity is established that everyone can trustAdvertising strategists are likely to lick their fingers.

Despite all the optical proximity to its famous predecessor, those who can't really get their hands on it may get the oppressive feeling that they might only be doing it again with a typical US show car to have. The suspicion is obvious: Firstly, the new edition is very limited - only 101 of a total of 4,500 copies came to Europe; just 19 of them were distributed in Germany. And secondly, the price - 177,000 euros - did not take on the astronomical dimensions that other manufacturers of comparable small series use to justify the immense development effort. You could actually suspect a marketing gimmick behind this. No question about it: the GT should be worth the money even as a sculpture in the heated garage. And everyone on the boulevard who shows up with this muscular US athlete will have their attention on their side. Even the easy entry and exit through the characteristic doors, which conveniently reveal a large part of the roof area when opened, holds the potential for surprises. Anyone who, as a tall occupant, does not duck their head or tilt to the side when the angled door leaf is closed, will have a new head. The exposure of the technology compressed under the plastic shell resembles a hardcore striptease - as with the model: When opening the huge tailgate or the front cover, it turns out that, like a thoroughbred racing car, almost perfect access to all technical entrails is guaranteed, but there is no storage space. The consistency with which the fathers of the GT went to work with the construction deserves respect, even if many details per se do not quite meet the expectations that are usually set in this price range. So much suggests that the purpose was in the foreground, and less the appearance.

The purpose is in the foreground with the Ford GT

This type of professionalism, which is more oriented towards the practical requirements of racing than those of mass-produced vehicles often come first - for example, gap dimensions - results in a kind of robust functionality that also has a nostalgic component. The superficial impression, however, leads to underestimating the Ford GT as a total work of art. Anyone who does this is wrong and has underestimated the ambition that lies behind this revival. Even the nominal benchmarks are unquestionably made to pay respect to the GT: 550 hp at civilian 6,500 rpm, 774 Newton meters at 4,500 rpm and a liter output of just under 102 hp per liter of displacement - this series of figures makes it clear that at least in terms of the engine, all registers were drawn. The exemplary on the lowest level just before theThe 90-degree V8 installed on the rear axle is, in line with its US origins, an extreme long-stroke engine: the 90-millimeter-thick pistons travel 105.8 millimeters between bottom and top dead center. In addition, the eight-cylinder, controlled by two overhead camshafts and a total of 32 valves, not only has a displacement of just over 5.4 liters. It is also pressurized by a neatly and space-saving compressor integrated in the V between the two cylinder banks with a boost pressure of a maximum of 0.83 bar. Subjectively, because of this combination of a comparatively low-revving reciprocating engine and a high-revving compressor, you are confronted with an at least seven-liter naturally aspirated V8, which in turn draws a link with the ancestor GT 40. That one actually went to the Le Mans start with a seven-liter unit in its strongest specification.

Excitement or nervousness is forbidden in this engine environment characterized by size and volume. What can be described with sovereign serenity - namely the type of power delivery - is actually a show of strength of brutal intensity. Without any fuss or noise, the Ford GT arrows from a standing start to speed that makes your eyes water. Meter-long, initially deep black stripes remain in an emergency as evidence of a great performance, which is expressed in numbers as follows: 3.9 seconds to 100 km /h; 11.9 seconds to 200 km /h. The powerful drive unit behind the narrow passenger compartment not only ensures a weight distribution that is conducive to traction, but is also arranged in an exemplary manner in terms of integration into the overall structure: The connection between the accelerator pedal and the drive wheels feels so direct that you almost think it is with the big toe to be able to determine the amount of rubber wear. The clutch shows in the form of quite high operating forces that it is not an easy task as a moderator between torque and driving resistance. But it proves its strength by defying the attacks of the engine even with multiple sprint attempts in a row without the slightest loss in power transmission. The six-speed gearbox flanged to the rear of the engine is the only part of the drive train that lacks the ease of use that is necessary to be able to concentrate fully on the essentials while driving.

The clutch withstands the great forces

With a simple finger exercise like a semi-automated transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel, or a conventional one shaken out of the sleeve Shifting gears like in a Porsche is not done in the GT. The somewhat gnarled nature of the operation seems a bit very nostalgic, at least when quick switching maneuvers are required. Whether this bulky type is a standard part of the operating program or just a problem of theThe test object could not be determined due to the lack of an alternative. What is certain, however, is that the gear ratios are noticeably long overall, which basically demands a very high level of assertiveness from the engine. Fortunately, he doesn't lack that either. Thanks to its angry supercharger power, the V8 is also open to extremely lazy shifting driving. He pushes and pushes like the proverbial bull without moaning and groaning. And it creates the not unappealing impression of being able to get by with four instead of six gear steps. On the Hockenheim lap, a single gear change back to second, before the tight ant curve, could have brought one or two tenth of a time advantage - but that too is in view of the motor power that the engine willingly available even at low revs not necessarily certified. As a result of the refusal to safely adopt the desired gear when shifting down quickly, the GT completed the entire lap in third gear, which, as the speed at the end of the home straight shows, is easily enough for a speed of 204 km /h.

The activity of the compressor goes completely acoustically at both low and high speeds. In return, the dull, throbbing V8 sound of American character also opens up the wider area - although its distinctive voice never reaches unpleasant frequency ranges. When a GT approaches, it sounds like a thunderstorm is approaching. In view of the origin of the GT, it was to be expected that leisurely cruising is also part of his own area of ​​responsibility. But not the excellent talents that the stylish Ami V8 reveals in the field of driving dynamics (see boxes Hockenheim and Nürburgring). It is not so much the objective weight, but rather the characteristics of the steering that subjectively initially ensures that the GT makes a somewhat sluggish impression - as if the agility of the 1.6-tonner wasn't that far away. The limited clarity, which initially took some getting used to, does the rest, so that the palpitation in the vicinity of the city initially has completely different causes than the hoped for. A free stretch of motorway could therefore be enough to get to know the nature of the GT properly. A bomb-proof straight line, paired with enormous willingness to perform and the possibility of exceeding the 300 km /h barrier by 30 km /h, should be sufficient legitimation for most customers.

The GT exceeds the 300 km /h sound barrier

But the range of the GT goes far beyond the longitudinal dynamics - in the sense of true sportiness , namely in terms of lateral acceleration. Equipped with Goodyear Eagle F1 supercar tires ex works, the US racing car achieves astonishing resultsLateral forces of up to 1.3 g. What the bare number does not say: When looking for such limit values, the GT behaves not only completely neutral, but also as calm and pious as a prayer brother after the Lord's Supper. Neither understeer nor oversteer disturb the given line. Even strong load changes do not let the mid-engine athlete dance out of line, which also has a very positive effect on the pilot's motivation. So it's no wonder that one or two GT owners are at least mentally preoccupied with getting the US racing car back to where it came from and where it ultimately belongs: on the race track.

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