If it drives anything like it looks, it’ll be excellent
Apart from a worker’s strike in 1936 and a ten-year break during World War II, the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race has run every year since 1923. In the 33 races that followed, the event was dominated by European cars.
Then in 1966, the biblical Ford GT40 Mk. II crossed the line in first, second and third, becoming the first American-built car to take the title. The GT went on to win it in ’67, ’68 and ’69.
Powered by a production engine, squaring up against specialised racing motors, it paved the way for a car that could be driven on the roads, but also be ragged about on a track just as easily. Using that exact philosophy, Ford announced the third-generation GT in 2015.
The following year Ford returned to Le Mans and won its class in a tricked-up GT, pulled by the same 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine that’s in the road legal version. The new Ford GT is at home on the track as much as it is on the A19 through Teesside.
There’s no doubt it’s related to the models that come before it, with the dual bonnet scoop and engine in the rear, but it’s taking its performance pedigree a lot more seriously than the second-gen GT.
Ford’s new flag-bearer is now squatter and even more road-hugging. The dramatic air ducts gaping either side of the driver’s cabin swallow air and chuck it out alongside the huge double exhaust in the centre of the rear.
The GT’s rear end might be its best angle
To the left and right, the halo brake lights sit at the same height as the exhaust, sticking out and mounted on ridged cylinders decorated with the ‘GT’ logo – and they look cracking.
From behind they look more like a jet fighter’s afterburner, and that can only be a good thing. In fact, the whole design looks mint from the backend. It’s a car you’ll not whinge about being stuck behind.
And even if you wanted to get around the front for a closer look at those gulping air ducts, you’d not have a chance. The 3.5-litre engine is firing at over 647hp and will launch the car from 0-60mph in less than three seconds. Or, in a few words, like something off a stick.
The GT40 would be proud
True, this verdict comes before we’ve even tried the new GT, but if the initial buzz is anything to go by it should be an absolute barnstormer. The first wave of potential owners had to apply, just for a chance to buy one.
Apparently, Ford are also making the chosen few hold onto their GTs for at least two years before selling on. Whether you’d actually want to, is a different matter.
With styling that’s considerate to race car dynamics, and just looks excellent, the new Ford GT gives a nod to its past whilst also leading the pack into a new generation of road-going supercars.