All-New Ford GT Supercar Delivers
By Kyle Lindsay
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 16:45
The all-new Ford GT features five Drive Modes that enable drivers to optimise the 647 horsepower* carbon fibre supercar’s performance characteristics to match conditions on road or racetrack.
Ford Performance listened to feedback from supercar owners to develop a Ford GT that is as easy to use day-to-day as it is exhilarating on the racetrack.
“We focused on simplifying the experience,” says Derek Bier, Ford GT manager. “Optimising this car for just about any situation was critical, because ensuring owners always enjoy driving it was a top priority.”
Each Drive Mode is specially tuned for a unique driving environment. Leveraging learnings from the Ford GT racing program, Ford Performance gave each mode a unique instrument cluster display, with elements prioritised according to the mode to enhance the overall driving experience.
“Switching the setting changes electronic, mechanical and aerodynamic elements,” said Nick Terzes, Ford GT engineering supervisor.
Simply by turning a dial on the F1-inspired steering wheel, the all-new supercar can switch nearly instantaneously from canyon-carving road car to fully functioning race car tuned for maximum speed and downforce.
Ford GT also features an advanced, yet easy-to-use launch control system that provides optimal traction for the perfect launch every time. Designed for track use, it’s available in all modes except Wet.
The system is activated in the instrument display screen using the steering wheel controls. When activated, a white “LC” icon appears in the cluster. At this point the driver holds down the brake with their left foot and fully depresses the accelerator with their right foot. When ready, the “LC” icon turns green and the driver lifts their left foot to launch the Ford GT and quickly gather speed.
When Normal mode is selected, the Ford GT’s ground clearance is set to 120 millimetres to comfortably contend with speed humps, potholes or driveway inclines. Throttle and transmission calibrations are configured for standard driving, and traction and stability control systems cannot be adjusted.
The rear wing deploys automatically for aero assistance at 145 km/h (90 mph), returning to its stowed position at 130 km/h (81 mph). The wing still deploys as an airbrake if sensors detect aggressive braking.
In Normal and Wet modes, Comfort suspension is available. Pressing the Comfort button allows the driver to soften the car’s ride on bumpy roads by adjusting compression and rebound in the dampers – without compromising control.
Wet mode activates the default configurations of Normal mode, but adjusts throttle sensitivity to help drivers manage the reduced grip offered by rain-affected surfaces for greater stability.
Activating the Ford GT’s Sport mode adjusts throttle settings to sharpen responses from the car’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine and anti-lag system. Developed on the Le Mans-winning Ford GT race car, the anti-lag system keeps the turbochargers spinning to provide boost on demand.
Stability and traction control settings become driver-adjustable using the AdvanceTrac® system, allowing three additional settings. Widened slip, yaw and oversteer parameters enable drivers to further explore the Ford GT’s handling and driving dynamics.
Ground clearance remains 120 millimetres, and the comfort option is deactivated.
“Driver-demand calibrations get more aggressive – where slight changes in throttle result in faster acceleration,” Terzes said. “Gear changes are more rapid, while clutches disengage and engage very quickly for maximum acceleration. Drivers can use Sport mode at the track and expect the car to perform very well with this setup.”
While Sport mode can be used effectively for many racetracks – especially those that require a higher ride height – Track mode is optimised strictly for race conditions.
With the transmission in park on pit road, a turn of the dial activates hydraulics that drop the ride height by 50 millimetres. Spring rates increase and damping is adjusted to the firmest setting. The rear wing – complete with Gurney flap – deploys, and the aerodynamic openings in the front close for maximum downforce. All of this happens in less than two seconds.
“This mode is for track use only,” Terzes said. “Even coming from Sport, control is significantly different – dramatically so. In this mode, every aspect of the car is optimised for track use.”
In V-Max mode – engineering-speak for “maximum velocity” – every setting is tuned to make the Ford GT go as fast as possible.
Ride height is the same as in Track mode, but all aero elements are stowed to minimise drag. Stability controls remain active to help ensure the car moves forward in a straight line. V-Max mode can only be activated when the Ford GT is stationary and in park.
“Ultimately, V-Max mode is designed with a single objective; for the GT to achieve its fastest possible straight-line speed. It works,” Terzes said.