Any time Ford uses the GT moniker, it causes a stir.
When the Ford GT was first revealed in 2002, it sent shockwaves through the motoring community. The American automotive giant celebrated its centenary year with a homage to one of its greatest ever achievements.
The Ford GT40 was built to challenge Ferrari’s racing dominance during the 1960s, a bygone era of motor racing. In 1966, the GT40 crossed the line in first, second and third at Le Mans – becoming the only car entirely designed and built in America to win the prestigious 24-hour race. The achievement was the inspiration behind 2019’s Oscar-winning film Ford v Ferrari.
The contemporary Ford GT is the marque’s tribute to the 7-liter, 200mph monster that finally ended Ferrari’s reign. The GT40 won four straight years at Le Mans to cement its place in racing folklore.
Numerous remakes and remodels of the GT40 have been made over the years. Finally, nearly 40 years later, Ford paid tribute to its own legend and one of the greatest sports cars ever made.
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Ford GT History
Much like the GT40 was built to beat Ferrari, the Ford GT was made to challenge the Ferrari 360 CS. It was introduced as a concept car at the 2002 North American International Auto Show that would coincide with its centenary year in 2003.
Interesting to note is the gap between generations. Ford produced around 4,030 first generation GT’s between 2004 and 2006 as demand grew substantially. The company underwent a nine-year hiatus until the second generation GT was revived in 2015.
Ford brought in the legendary Carroll Shelby to help develop the first GT ahead of its release in 2004. Shelby was the man so inherently involved with developing the original GT40.
Initially, the Ford GT was bigger, wider, taller and more brutish-looking than its predecessor. While visually similar, structurally the cars were very different. The GT40 was named due to its height (it was 40 inches from the ground to the top of windshield). The new iteration was 43 inches, so Ford opted to christen it the GT (there is also some dispute over who owned the GT40 trademark at the time).
In 2015, Ford introduced the next generation of the GT at the North American International Auto Show. Alongside the launch of popular video game Forza Motorsport 6, the new GT commemorated 50 years since the GT40 finally broke Ferrari’s stranglehold at Le Mans.
Several iterations of the Ford GT would come to market. The GTX1 was an aftermarket roadster version, while Heritage Edition models were released to celebrate the 1966, 1967 and 1968 Le Mans-winning GT40s. Even a 700bhp non-street legal, track-day only version was made. Costing over $1 million, the GT MK II became the most expensive Ford ever sold – only 45 units were ever produced. Competition and Liquid Carbon Series were also produced.
Ford GT Specs
The beautiful shape of the Ford GT evokes memories of a famous racing past. The rear-mid engine, rear-wheel drive two-seater is an absolute picture.
Its performance is impressive. Featuring unique technology and a 5.4-liter Modular V8 supercharged engine, the first generation Ford GT blasted from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. With 550 bhp and 500 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM, its top speed is 337 km/h. Quite simply, the Ford GT has astonishing acceleration that hits you like a sledgehammer. Its poor fuel consumption, however, left a lot to be desired.
But Ford is all about innovation. The second generation of the GT has a much-more optimised aerodynamics package while its extensive teardrop shape generates incredible airflow. The technology is astounding: the pioneering ‘flying buttresses’ act as tunnels, pushing air out of the rear fender thus improving downforce.
The largely carbon-fiber monocoque is complemented by a carbon fiber body, making the modern-day GT lighter than previous versions. The GT40-inspired cutaway nose and air vents in the hood aid performance.
While the placement of a V8 or V12 was considered, Ford eventually settled on its EcoBoost V6 engine. The 3.5-liter twin turbocharged monster is rated at 647 bhp with 550 lb-ft of torque. Beyond 2020, the Ford GT’s power will be increased to 660 bhp.
Mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the second generation GT powers from 0-100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds and is capable of hitting 348 km/h.
Ford currently makes 250 units of the new GT annually – making it a very exclusive club.
Ford GT Racing
Both generations of the Ford GT have a rich racing pedigree. A highly-modified first generation GT raced in the Super GT3000 class in Japan, but most of its success came in Europe.
Swiss Racing team Matech Concepts raced both GT1 and GT3 iterations during the mid-2000s. Matech entered three Ford GT’s modified to GT3 specs in the FIA GT3 European Championship. They won the teams’ championship in 2008.
The second generation racer was a monster. Between 2015 and 2019, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing entered four factory-supported Ford GT’s into major competition. Two were raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship during the 2016, 2019, 2018 and 2019 seasons. The other two featured in IMSA’s SportsCar Championship in the GTLM class.
Chip Ganassi Racing provided Ford with a memorable victory. In 2016, on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s first Le Mans triumph, the Ford GT crossed the line first in the LMGTE Pro Class. That year yielded special 1-2 finishes at the 6 Hours of Fuji and 6 Hours of Shanghai. One year later, Ford would win at Silverstone and finish second at Le Mans.
Ford GT For Sale
Racing Edge is pleased to offer one of the 14 racing cars based on the Ford GT by Matech Concept. Deriving from the glorious GT3 era of 2007-2011, this stunning Ford GT (No. 009) was used by German racing team Fischer Racing.
The vehicle is one of two used by Fischer Racing in the 2009 ADAC GT Masters series in 2009, as well as the FIA GT3 European Championship in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
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