When building the new 2018 Ford GT, the American automaker set out to make this next-gen supercar a testbed for upcoming technology that'll be featured in upcoming vehicles. “When we began work on the all-new Ford GT in 2013, the team had three goals,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president of Product Development and chief technical officer. “The first was to use it as a training ground for our engineers as we develop future engine technology and stretch our understanding of aerodynamics. Then, to push the boundaries of advanced material usage, such as lightweight carbon fiber. Finally, we set out to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, referred to by many as the ultimate test of endurance and efficiency.”
Ford designed the GT's aerodynamics in a way that it can vary depending on its current driving condition. From the air ducts in the front to the deployable rear wing, each aero component works together to ensure the best airflow possible. In the front, the flaps will open in response to the rear wing's deployment status, balancing the airflow across the body. That rear wing also has patent-pending technology that allows it to change shape, like that of an airplane wing. Even the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine was designed in a way so that the designers could taper off the fuselage, which wouldn't have been possible with a larger engine.
Carbon fiber has been widely used in the supercar world for quite some time, and now Ford has jumped on the wagon. For the new GT, Ford worked with partners in order to create ways to produce carbon fiber faster and in higher volumes. This will allow the automaker to use the lightweight material in future production vehicles and not just their exclusive models. For the GT, carbon fiber is used extensively. As a result, the supercar's weight remains low, while rigidity is still present.
Engine and Power
The Ford GT's EcoBoost engine is the most powerful of its kind that Ford has ever created. With 647 horsepower on tap, it's so powerful that the Daytona Prototype's crankshaft had to be replaced with the pre-production F-150 Raptor's crankshaft. Why? The team was noticing that the original crankshaft was cracking under grueling condition. Thanks to this swap, the Daytona Prototype went on to win its first race at Sebring that very same year. “We pushed the engine’s limits beyond what we might consider in traditional development programs, which is important as we continue to advance EcoBoost technology as a centerpiece of the company’s global lineup,” said Bob Fascetti, Ford vice president, powertrain engineering. In order to get as much power out of this turbocharged engine as possible, Ford created new anti-lag technology. This tech keeps the throttle open when the driver doesn't have the gas pedal pressed. Not only does this maintain turbo speed, but it also maintains boost pressure for quicker response when the pedal is pressed again.
Getting low is not something meant for dancing. For the Ford GT, getting low is a necessity when being driven on the track. Hydraulic suspension was implemented, which gives the driver the ability to adjust ride height with the "turn of a knob." When the driving mode is changed from normal to track mode, there's nearly a 2-inch difference. Along with this change in height, track mode raises the rear wing and closes the front splitter ducts for the best downforce possible.