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Development of the Ford GT: Sports car weapon from the secret cellar

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Development of the Ford GT
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E There are hardly any surprises at auto shows, mostly everyone sloshes News on the Internet even before the opening. The Ford GT came at the Auto Show in Detroit last year, however, like Kai out of the box - or better said: from the cellar. Because in a bland-gray basement room, maybe 80 square meters, somewhere in the catacombs of the development and design center of the group in Dearborn, it was 14 months high. Only 12 of a total of 600 employees were involved, nothing was allowed to leak out, everything was top secret. 'That's why we chose this room, because hardly anyone comes by here and if they do, they probably hardly suspect that something so spectacular is going on behind the doors of the Design Milling and Measurement Group,' says Design Director Chris Svensson.

Ford GT repainted from blue to white

In fact, there is no reason to stay here longer, because even a train station underpass conveys more emotional warmth. On the large shelves in the long aisles, there are negative forms of rims and body parts as well as raw material blocks for model making. Then the doors open to that very room, large photo walls are on the sides, showing various designs of the GT, three smaller clay models are on a table, on the right behind the extendable wing of a life-size GT stretches up.

You turn the corner, then three of the super sports cars are in front of you, one in gray, two in white. 'The middle one is the car you know from the trade fair,' explains chief developer Jamal Hameedi. But why doesn't it shine in blue anymore? 'Since we also offer the GT in white, we first wanted to test how the color would look on the real car,' says Hameedi.

Development goal for Ford GT: Le Mans victory, nothing else

Otherwise, the team paid relatively little attention to cosmetic details, because the function dictated the entire project. Hameedi lecture: “The GT should be able to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, just like its model from the sixties. For the homologation, however, he also needs a road approval. In contrast to other super sports cars, however, we didn't care whether the car still fits luggage or even a golf bag. ”In fact, the position of the driver and the drive dictated the shape, which primarily characterizes the so-called negative volumes, for example those shafts those of the doors betweenthe rear wheel arches and the engine compartment run to the wing. They enable optimal aerodynamics and, together with the wing, generate downforce.

In contrast to the first show car, the side air inlet grilles are no longer made of plastic but made of thin metal, for stability and value, of course without any weight disadvantage. In addition, the exterior mirrors are larger because the EU homologation stipulates this. “The vehicle will only be built to a specification that will be approved in all major markets,” says designer Svensson. This of course also includes the rigid position of the driver's seat, which saves the adjustment mechanism and thus enables a lower installation height for a lower center of gravity. Instead, the steering wheel including the instrument panel and pedals can be adjusted.

Boost pressure and final horsepower figure for Ford GT still unclear

Test seat? “No, not yet,” says Svensson. They want to allow this only in a finished production car. It's just stupid that we want to go right away ... Anyway. Back to the design. The two relatively small turbochargers of the 600-hp V6 engine are located deep on the side of the engine, roughly in the middle below the air ducts.

The developers are currently still struggling to find the optimal boost pressure, as too much of it causes a backlog of the charge air. Therefore, there is still no final performance specification. In terms of driving dynamics, the Ferrari 458 Speciale was the benchmark. In addition to the Italian, Corvette, Porsche and Aston Martin are among the calibers to be beaten in Le Mans. But isn't it a bit too easy to compete there with a thoroughbred racing car against the derivatives of everyday sports cars? Hameedi says no: “Don't worry, the balance of performance will ensure equal opportunities.”

The racing versions are currently being developed, the road versions will follow. 250 copies are to be created per year. What will you be working on afterwards in the dreary basement? Maybe a smaller, more affordable GT? Whatever it is: We'd love to be surprised again.

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