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At the wheel of the Ford GT: huge technology

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1,000 units to 600,000 euros each

At the wheel of the Ford GT: huge technological boom

Active aerodynamics of spectacular performance. Develops 647 horsepower and performance benefits.

Ford has wanted to deploy a sweeping technology to demonstrate its capabilities and to send the message that all that knowledge and experience eventually move to its most popular models, those that are invariably placed on the best-seller lists World from the centennial origin of the company.

Undoubtedly, the new GT is a clear example of how far you can get with the current media. His appearance, in which everything is contingent on getting the best performance, leaves him speechless. Its performance cuts the breath. We have had the privilege of being one of the first international means to drive the car on the road and circuit, without any restriction when squeezing it to what our limits allow us, and we can say that it is one of the super sports cars that more Has impacted us, with an efficiency similar to that offered by other “Gran Turismo”, but not in its series format, but in its basic specifications of competition.

To understand the meaning of this car, called to become an icon, we must go back to the era of the sixties of the last century. It was 1963, when Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II were about to close an agreement by which the American company took control of the Italian vehicle division of the series, leaving Commendatore its most precious jewel , the competition. But at the last moment, this man of strong character leaned back, which did not sit well with the American, who sought revenge in the land where he would most hurt Ferrari on the tracks.

The cars of Maranello exerted at that time an overwhelming dominion in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, a test that gained of consecutive form between 1960 and 1965. So Ford decided to order its equipment the construction of a sport capable of snatching the victory To the enemy in the most famous resistance race in the world. Thus was born the Ford GT40, a vehicle that had nothing to do with the products built to date by the brand and which, surprisingly, won the absolute victory at Le Mans during the next four editions (1966-1969).

Engineering and design of the hand

The new Ford GT links directly to that story. Its design is a masterful interpretation of the GT40, with seductive lines that remind its predecessor in multiple winks and, at the same time, offer an ultramodern aesthetic loaded with spectacular forms, all with a concrete mission to fulfill. That’s why engineers and designers have worked side by side; No aesthetic detail was allowed to disturb any function in the dynamics.

There has not been the slightest compromise. For everything has been resorted to the best. In fact, the initial project, known by the name of Silver, started from the transformation of a Mustang to build an exceptional supercar, but it was so expensive to mutate until reaching the goal that was decided to start from scratch. The great specialists of each area were involved for fifteen months in their creation in the absolute secret and, just hours before the opening of the Detroit Motor Show of 2015, a few employees and their families could know in advance the jealously guarded work .

To give us an idea of ​​the pretensions of this car, the development of the street and competition versions has been done in parallel, because the intention was to minimize the differences; That they only existed in those points necessary in the races and that they would condition the daily use. For example, the exaggerated dimensions of the spoiler, the diffuser or the front spliter (lip of the spoiler), that would not pass a homologation for the street; Or a bare interior, full of cables, bars and switchboards, which only has room in the circuits. But we insist, the basic similarities between one variant and another have rarely been so close.

Ford had to accelerate the pace to arrive in time for its participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016, a key date in the marketing strategy, as it was the 50th anniversary of its first victory there with the GT40. And so it was: it came … and it won, although this time not in the general, something impossible with the prototypes that allows the current organization, but in the very competitive category GT-Pro, where they are present with their factory teams prestige builders Of Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Chevrolet with his Corvette.

After that, it was necessary to continue running for the first road units to be delivered to American customers by the end of 2016.

Aerodynamics of aviation

But let’s start getting into technology. Aerodynamics plays an essential role in a car that has a chilling speed of turn and that reaches almost 350 km / h. Many hours have been spent in the wind tunnel and it has not stopped until the best data. The extensible rear spoiler, which is in the process of being patented, is deformable and changes the wing morphology just as it happens in airplanes, in such a way that increases aerodynamic load when necessary, but without modifying just the coefficient of air resistance (Drag). Its operation depends on the chosen driving mode and even acts as an air brake when a strong deceleration is required.

At the extremely low front, we find air ducts with slats that open or close depending on the position of the rear spoiler, to achieve the perfect balance between the front and rear axle of the car. With the spoiler unfolded, the ducts are closed and it is facilitated to obtain the maximum aerodynamic load.

On the contrary, if it is down these lamas are opened to oppose less resistance to the wind. All this is accompanied by a thorough study of pipes through the flat bottom of the vehicle, the front suspension arms and the lateral openings, the latter with the additional function of bringing the air to the intake ducts and the intercooler, a Current which, in turn, is distributed by the lateral buttresses that go from the wings of back towards the ceiling.

Indeed, the complex shape of these buttresses, which bring so much spectacularity to the car, has only been achieved using carbon fiber, a material that is present throughout the body, the cell of the passenger compartment and the chassis. This component of high cost and complex treatment offers the double advantage of its lightness and very high rigidity. That’s why the GT weighs no more than 1,385 kilos.

Suspension of Formula 1

The entire suspension system is also very innovative, with dual aluminum swing arms on each wheel and a complex network of torsion bars, adaptive shock absorbers, springs and pushrod braces that act similarly to Formula 1 single-seaters. The springs Hydraulics have an actuator that blocks them, reducing the height of the body by 50 millimeters from the standard position when we activate the “Track” mode.

In addition, the front has an additional adjustment, with an extra 50 millimeters of upward stroke (in total, 100 mm from the “Track” position to the highest “) that can be activated up to 40 km / h and serves to overcome a curb Or the small potholes that are put in the populations to reduce the speed.

As for the engine, it has been chosen to power one of the new generation EcoBoost, a very compact 3.5-liter V6, which helped by a double turbocharger reaches a whopping 647 horses.

The result of the whole is absolutely impressive. First, we did a hundred miles on roads around Salt Lake City, where we could see the remarkable degree of comfort of the car … and what must be restrained in order not to press the throttle fully. It is seated on wraparound seats, with the bench fixed to the floor and where we can only regulate the inclination of the backrest. In return, the pedals are adjustable and the racing wheel, with an endless number of controls and colored LEDs to help us choose the perfect moment to change gears, moves smoothly to the ideal position of each. Of course, in most cases cover the top of the instrumentation, which also displays the information in different ways according to the chosen driving mode.

In these quiet travel circumstances, there is time to observe some small details that break the magic of the whole. For example, in an avant-garde cabin, where the stylish dashboard seems to float, surprisingly simple controls and plastic buttons, more typical of other generalist models. It would not have been better to use aluminum or other materials more in line with the category and sportsmanship of the vehicle.

In circuit, like fish in the water

In any case, all those minor things we forget immediately when entering the Utah Motorsport Campus, an interesting circuit in which we were given a free way to fight the stopwatch. And that is where the GT is savored with all its fullness. Of the five driving modes (Wet, Normal, Sport, Track and V-max) we obviously chose the specific one for the track. When the control knob is turned to select it, the suspension spring locks at the precise point and the vehicle drops roughly 50 millimeters, until it is stuck 7 centimeters off the ground!

The engine pushes with energy from very low speeds, favored by a system that keeps the intake manifolds filled with air when you lift the gas foot and the turbo turning butt to act immediately upon re-treading the accelerator. But when one is illuminated the face is in the high area of ​​the rev counter, at which point this aluminum propeller displays all its brutality.

Although the car is docile and predictable in its reactions, it has to be handled with delicacy to draw its immense potential. The carbon-ceramic brakes let you rush to the last meter, then you have to start the rotation by gently accelerating and once you touch the inside of the curve it’s time to accelerate without contemplation and feel that excessive propulsion.

The steering is fast, with a point of hardness that is appreciated, and very accurate. The tires, a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (245/35 R20 front and 325/30 R20 behind) are gripped like a limpet, almost as if it were slicks. And what about stability, impeccable in slow areas, with a neutral behavior in which the nose does not deviate even a millimeter from the path chosen, but even more surprising in the fastest parts of the track, where aerodynamics shows its effectiveness.

After three laps in which we already have the necessary point of sensibility and we know the circuit enough, we start to tighten without attention, we stretch the engine to the limit of the 7,000 revolutions and we change decisively through the big cams, that act On the fast transmission of double clutch and seven speeds. Everything remains the same. The GT continues to respond as a true racing vehicle, pulling hard on its rear wheels, roaring without fear and entering the next turn with identical cleaning.

Only at the end, when we have already expressed it until exhaustion, we perceive that the brake pedal begins to increase its route and the brakes are lengthened significantly. We discussed it with the engineers and, it seems, the pills were reaching the end of their useful life, after the days of previous tests.

Telemetry in the mobile

When we stop in the pits, we can not hide the satisfaction face. At that moment, a technician is approaching with the mobile in hand and, smiling also, says to me: “not bad.” I look at him strangely without understanding why he makes that comment and he shows me the free application for smartphone that they have developed for the clients of this car. The phone, which was plugged into a USB port in my car, not only has recorded the video images, but also accompanies them with a series of data of the telemetry used in competition the most professional teams.

The lap times are saved, it has the acceleration charts, the braking charts, the steering wheel position at each point, the engine speed, the speed, the gear used and even compare two different turns overlapping lines Different colors that store all that information. It really is impressive and allows to download the data on the computer or send them through social networks to whoever you want, to share and contrast with others who have shot in the same circuit.

We are, without a doubt, before a worthy successor of the successful GT40. It is true that, in 2005, Ford already made another model with this acronym GT, but there are so many differences between them, that they do not even mention it when they connect the trajectory of the first supercar of the sixties and the present one. To begin with, as we already said before, in today’s GT, as happened with more than half a century ago, the development of road and competition versions has been completely parallel, something that did not happen with the previous one. There is also a step above in exclusivity, because compared to the 4,038 units that were manufactured from the GT between 2005 and 2006, now they are going to make only 1.000, at a rate of 250 a year and a price that will start from the 600,000 euros, in Europe , Where nothing more will arrive 20% of them from the end of 2017.

When the first deadline for applications was opened, some 6,800 petitions were received, so the adjudication process will not be easy. One of the objectives of the brand is that the car reaches the hands of true passionate and is beyond the reach of speculators. In Spain, they seem to have been interested in more than a dozen people, although it is unlikely that more than a couple of units will be delivered this year.

To those fortunate owners we allow ourselves to give them a piece of advice. Do not waste time looking for a trunk that barely has space for a toilet bag, or try to find the slightest hole in the interior to leave the wallet. Go immediately to the nearest circuit. Only then will you be able to understand the value of this vehicle.

POR JAIME HERNÁNDEZ – Utah (EEUU) – 19/05/2017 –  EXPANSION

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