An icon that's been brilliantly rebooted for the 2010s
- Beautiful design blends nostalgia with cutting-edge functionality
- Advanced technology includes light, stiff carbon chassis
- Good ride and handling from radical suspension
- Carbon chassis reduces weight
- 216mph performance from just six cylinders
- £450,000 plus tax is steep
- Lacks refinement on the road
- Boot too small for crash helmet
- Rivals are lighter, more powerful
- Left-hand drive only
The Ford GT harks back to the GT40 that first won Le Mans in 1966, and follows the 2004-2006 Ford GT. Crucially, it’s also the road-going version of the race car that won its class at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, 50 years after Ford’s first victory.
So the Ford GT really is a race car for the road, with both cars developed jointly and assembled at the same Canadian facility.
Form an orderly queue
At £450,000 plus taxes, the Ford GT is incredibly expensive though, and it’s worth noting that the Ferrari 488 GTB, McLaren 720S and Lamborghini Aventador S all produce more power for at least half the price. Those rivals are also available in right-hand drive, while the GT is left-hand drive only.
Production of 250 cars per year over the next four years is planned, and Ford picks the owners, who are forbidden from selling for at least two years, and must give Ford first-refusal when they do.
A light, tight squeeze
The Ford GT is constructed around a carbonfibre tub that forms a strong, stiff and lightweight passenger cell, and contributes to overall weight without fluids of 1385kg – though that is at least 100kg heavier than McLaren’s 720S.
Unlacquered carbonfibre lends a serious, functional feel to the interior, and it’s tight to climb inside, partly because Ford wanted to create the smallest frontal area possible so the GT could speed down the high-speed straights of Le Mans with minimal wind resistance.
The roof is low (if you’re 6’ 2” or more, your head will rub on it), the wide carbonfibre sill and dihedral doors are both barriers to entry, and the cabin is so narrow you’ll frequently rub shoulders with your passenger.
The seats are fixed to the floor, and instead you adjust the pedals and the steering wheel to get comfortable, with almost all the controls including indicators and wipers moved to the centre of the steering wheel, race car-style. Pack lightly: the ‘boot’ won’t even hold a crash helmet.
The beautiful bodywork blends 1960s nostalgia with state-of-the-art functionality, and is also manufactured from carbonfibre. The ‘floating’ buttresses that flow down from the back of the cockpit are particularly appealing, and both channel air along the body sides to the rear spoiler and flow air inside them to feed the engine.
Turbocharged V6 produces 650hp
The tapered rear bodywork is made possible by Ford using a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, a more compact unit than most supercars’ V8, V10 or V12s.
It sounds gruff compared with its exotic rivals, and doesn’t rev to the same thrilling heights (the peak 650hp comes in at a relatively modest 6250rpm), but the soundtrack does become more exciting as you exploit the performance, there’s excellent response to every throttle input, and the performance is very strong, if not class-leading.
A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox provides fast shifts in either automatic mode or via paddle shifters fixed to the steering wheel.
Driving the track modes
The GT features a radical double-wishbone suspension set-up, with two springs per corner (one a torsion bar, the other a conventional coil spring) instead of the usual single spring. Five driver-selectable modes are available: Wet, Normal, Sport, Track and V-Max.
Select Track and the ride height instantly drops from 120mm to 70mm, and the second spring is locked out of the equation, doubling suspension stiffness. It allows the GT to feel supple if still agile on-road, but incredibly responsive on track, with very little body roll and a real hunger for direction changes.
Combined with fantastic carbon-ceramic brakes, nicely weighted steering, aggressively sticky Michelin Cup 2 tyres and expertly calibrated stability control, the Ford GT makes a hugely exciting track toy, true to its race car origins.
But that race car DNA is perhaps too apparent on the road. There are buzzes through the carbonfibre structure, an inconsistent lack of refinement to gearshifts, and clonks when the active rear spoiler drops back into the bodywork. Yet it remains a rewarding drive.
The Parkers Verdict
It’s fantastic to see a mainstream company like Ford producing the GT. Much of the technology – from the carbonfibre construction and almost absurdly powerful V6 engine to the clever aerodynamics and radical suspension – is deeply impressive, and the GT is a sensational drive, particularly on track.
But at £450,000 before taxes, it’s ludicrously expensive compared with rivals – even before you consider its blue-collar badge – and its V6 engine can’t deliver the spine-tingling soundtrack nor quite the same accelerative ferocity of the supercar establishment. That it also lacks on-road refinement is another negative.
Some may argue that rough edges are part of the GT’s race car-for-the-road appeal, but there’s no doubt that extra polish would make the GT even better to drive and own.