Ford GT

Ferrari Eater and Fire Breather

The New Ford GT and it’s Long History

By: Taylor Morgan

   

      

The Ford GT has a long racing history.  The 2019 GT is the latest offering of the Ford super car and already has a massive fan club.  The new GT has been produced since 2017, a version was produced from 2005-2006, and all of these pay homage to the original Ford GT40 produced from 1964 - 1969.  While previous models used a V-8, some with super charging, the newest offering uses a 3.5L V-6 power plant that cranks out more horsepower than all previous iterations.  647HP!! Thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber the new Ford GT has one of the most impressive power to weight ratios of any vehicle ever produced.


So with these amazing super cars starting to show up on the roads do you know the story of what inspired the machine?  The story has it that pride and a business deal that went south had something to do with it.


In 1963 Ford got wind that Ferrari may be up for sale.  Lee Iacocca, working at Ford at the time, was allowed to look into the possibility of Ford buying up Ferrari.  While up to that point many Americans had never seen a Ferrari the legend was known of the performance and racing heritage that was Ferrari.  Around this same time Ford executives had started looking into selling in the european markets. If Ford was to start making any headway in Europe, buying Ferrari would not be a bad step.  The old saying “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” would ring true if Ford could acquire Ferrari’s racing knowledge, heritage, and brand.


Negotiations started to get under way in Italy between Ford and Ferrari but quickly fizzled out.  Enzo Ferrari may have had plans to sell the consumer vehicle division of Ferrari but had no intention of letting go of the racing department.  Ford wanted an all or nothing deal and so the whole deal fell apart.


Henry Ford II was not too impressed with the handling of the deal and felt slighted by Ferrari.  There was one good way to show Enzo Ferrari and the world that Ford belonged in Europe and could produce a championship racing car, build their own.


In the summer of 1963 Ford executives were tasked with developing a vehicle to beat Ferrari at the endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans.  In order to beat Ferrari Ford would have to produce a vehicle that could go faster than 200MPH and stay in one piece while racing for 24 hours straight!

As with anything that is worth doing, it takes time.  Ford was unable to beat Ferrari in the first and second years, 1964 -1965.  But by 1966 they had worked out the kinks and had a winning vehicle on their hands.  The first win in 1966 resulted in Ford taking not only 1st but 2nd and 3rd as well! Ford GT40’s had finally beaten the Italian’s, the nearest Ferrari actually came that year was ninth place.   A Ford GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969! Four straight years of domination.


100 years of Ford


Fast forward 39 years to 2005 and Ford had decided to get back into the super car game.  This time with the badge GT, in anticipation of Ford’s 100 year anniversary these behemoths are bigger and faster than the ‘60’s models.   With 550hp and a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds these vehicles showed that Ford could still hang out in the supercar world. And with a reported production of 4,038 vehicles being made between 2005 - 2006, these cars in even marginal condition, have been appreciating in value in recent years.



2016 - 2020

 

This now brings us to the current model Ford GT.  Debuting in 2015 Ford announced plans to produce the GT in honor of 50 years since the 1966 24 Hour Race win.  This new version using a 3.5L twin turbo engine similar to the one used in Ford F-150’s is the most powerful ever produced at 647HP and 550lb.-ft. of torque.           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Return to Glory

This new machine took part of its first factory supported race at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January of 2016.  This was followed later that year by Fords return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 19th. Much to the excitement of Ford fans the Number 68 car from team Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took first in the LMGTE Pro class.  Several other races since including more Le Mans have been raced and won by the GT.


Ford fans as well as people that appreciate fine super cars will start to see these amazing machines out in the wild.  Car shows, resort areas, maybe just on the freeway some day. Numbers are limited though so keep you eyes open, Ford has only committed to producing 1,350 of these machines and only 1,000 of those are to be sold in the United States.  For those that wish to design and dream of their own Ford GT there is a great website to see colors, wheel options, and build your dream car. https://www.ford.com/performance/gt/configurator/

To follow the Ford GT racing program this is a valuable website:

https://performance.ford.com/series/ford-gt/news/articles.html


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