Ford GT 2017 review
The new Ford GT is a terrific track car, having won its class at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race, but is this roadgoing version as impressive?...
That the Ford GT supercar exists at all is because Ford wanted to return to the Le Mans 24-hour race, and needed a car to do it with. Regulations say it must sell roadgoing versions of whatever car it enters, so here we are: the new long, low, race-derived GT.
It's built around a lightweight carbonfibre core, in which the passengers sit, and has a very narrow body to help it slip through the air, while towards the rear sits a highly tuned 3.5-litre V6 engine with two turbochargers. This makes 647bhp and 550lb ft of torque – even more than it does in the racing car, which has to be limited to meet regulations.
All that grunt goes to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox; there are very clever movable spoilers to enhance the aerodynamics; and the suspension has two different heights: one for the road, one for the track.
The car will be built by Ford’s project partner, Multimatic of Canada, at a rate of 250 a year until the 1000 it plans to sell are gone.
What's the 2017 Ford GT like to drive?
Given that the GT started life as a racer, the most astonishing thing about it is the quality of its ride comfort. It’s so smooth that it shames most family cars.
Don’t think it’s a softie, though; the V6 engine growls loudly, and its performance is first rate. There's little lag between you putting your foot down and the car leaping forward, and Ford claims it’ll blast from 0-60mph in around 2.8sec and go on to 216mph. The carbonfibre core you sit in, with precious little soundproofing, acts like an echo chamber.
With weighty and accurate steering, the GT corners extremely keenly, with the trick suspension keeping its body supremely flat. You get more feedback from a Porsche 911 GT3 on the road, but the GT is still entertaining. And on a circuit, for which its suspension drops 70mm in an instant, it’s mightily fast and involving. Indeed, Ford reckons it’s faster than the bonkers McLaren 675 LT.
What's the 2017 Ford GT like inside?
The GT is relatively spartan by the standards of modern supercars. But then they’re designed as grand tourers or sports cars first, and track and race cars second, whereas the GT comes at it from the other direction. Therefore its two seats are fixed directly to the chassis and, although the driver's backrest does recline, it’s the pedals and steering wheel that move back and forth toward you, rather than the other way around.
Once you’re beyond the exquisite carbonfibre that adorns a lot of the interior, material quality is otherwise pretty questionable, but the bigger issue in the GT is how close driver and passenger sit together – well within elbow-bashing territory. Closer than in the much smaller Lotus Elise, we’d reckon. Head room is tight, too.
The GT's sat-nav system works well, but its audio quality has to compete with the road and engine noise, so is like hosting a clarinet lesson on an airport runway. The infotainment also offers a 'track app', which records the car and driver's performance on a circuit, including lap times, steering, accelerator and braking inputs, and can record video via a smartphone.
The GT does have some luggage space, but, we suspect, only because the racing rules insist that the road car has some. Parked behind the engine is a little cubbyhole, into which you couldn’t even fit a crash helmet.