Ford has unleashed a track-only supercar for its customers that throws out the FIA rulebook.
A racing driver named Scott Maxwell from Multimatic Motorsports introduced us to the Ford GT MkII at the Goodwood Festival of Speed recently. But, it's not just a facelift or some other minor changes from the MkII, this is a track-only, $1.2 million race car developed to accommodate clients who want to go racing.
So, while it may not crack the nod for endurance events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Hau Thai-Tang, Ford Motor Company's chief product development and purchasing officer said, "Our mantra is to reward the expert and flatter the novice. Pricing, regulatory issues, and homologation are the manufacturing concerns for cars like the road version of the Ford GT. What if you were to remove all those constraints?
"It is the ultimate expression of the Ford GT, without any restrictions on balanced performance."
So, what does that mean for potential buyers? Well, the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 has a few extra tricks up its sleeve compared to the current model. Included in its base price is a high-flow exhaust with straight exhaust pipes, a turbo that spins higher and an air intake in the roof. It also pushes out 700 horsepower at 6,350, although, the focus of this limited edition model is to achieve higher speeds through the corners.
To do this, there are items that would not pass regulations for racing in Le Mans, such as the front dive planes, front splitter and large, fixed rear wing. According to Larry Holt, principal of Multimatic Incorporated – the chaps carbon-fibre specialist who build the Ford GT's in Ontario – the MkII GT has "significantly more downforce" to the tune of 1,800 to 1,900 pounds at 150 mph, around 350 pounds more than the race car.
It's also nearly 290 pounds lighter than the street version as they can chuck out things like airbags air conditioning units, which helps it to go faster and means the new Bosch anti-lock assisted carbon-ceramic brakes, 15.5 inches up front and 14.1 inches in the rear, bring it to a halt quicker too.
The previously discontinued, "confidential" Michelin rubber has been re-introduced and wrap 19"-wheels all around. There is no more adjustable suspension offering 40 per cent variation between its high- and low-speed settings, instead, the Ford GT MkII sports fixed spring rates and two-stage dampers that allow just 15 per cent variance.
Getting power from the engine to the road is done using a recalibrated Getrag eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and uses new rear intake scoops to cool the transmission. Holt is positive about the new cooling system, saying, "It's a really, really sweet package, you probably could completely run yourself out with this car and not have any cooling issues."
Hop inside and you're greeted with the street car's instrument cluster, which includes a Motec display that allows the driver to download all the track times for later analysis. The switchgear and paddle shifters are from the street car too, but the two custom Sparco seats with carbon-fibre mouldings are new, along with a full race cage, and a racing steering wheel. There's a full fire-suppression system and the door glass is fixed in place.
According to Ford, only 45 MkII's will be built, and Holt says they're looking to build five to seven Mark IIs before the end of this year. After that, the aim will be 15 per year, and the total will be included in the 1350 GTs they said they would build.
It's not cheap though at $1.2 million for a white one. All other colours, liveries, built-in air jacks and track-focused air conditioning, among others, are extras.
Holt says that, unlike the track-day cars from the like of Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren, "Some of those cars are very daunting to drive. This is not one of them."