Every petrolhead is guilty of fantasizing about the what ifs. What if you could fit a 5.0-litre V8, six-speed manual, and rear drive into a Focus? Or, what if you could put a 427 side-oiler under the bonnet of a new Mustang?
The execs at Ford and their partner Multimatic have played that game, too, but they play it for real. And not with just any car, either. They’ve done it with their current supercar, the Ford GT.
As Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer, told MOTOR about this Ford GT Mk II, “It's the ultimate expression of performance for the Ford GT. It combines all of the learnings that we've had from our motorsports program with the Multimatic team, without any of the restrictions of balance of performance.”
The Ford GT Mk II is a track-ready, thoroughly optimized and de-restricted evolution of the GT road car, engineered without the constraints of a pro racing rulebook. It’s properly exclusive, with a limited run of 45 units being produced over the next three years and a price tag of $1.2 Million USD. Like the road car, the Mk II’s assembly is completed in Canada by Ford’s technical partner, Multimatic.
Each system within the GT was rethought for the Mk II. Power is up, weight is down, downforce is increased, and the interior is pure race specification. The result is a track day car with markedly superior performance to the road car and, on many circuits, capable of quicker lap times than its 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning big brother.
Consider that the roadgoing GT’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 produces 485kW, but in professional race spec, it makes a modest 373kW. In the Mk II, however, the V6 has been uncorked and tuned to a healthy 522kW. (Torque figures were not available at press time.) Combine that a curb weight of 1,390 kilograms - over 100 kilos less than a standard GT road car - and you’ve got a recipe for a completely mad track car.
The Mk II’s roof scoop feeds auxiliary engine and gearbox coolers, plus there is an automatically activated water spray system for the charge air coolers. As Multimatic’s Chief Technical Officer, Larry Holt said with a grin, “We've got charge air coolers that allow it to be at that power (522kW) all day long. It’s got cooling that if you wanted to track day this thing all day long, if you had the stamina, you could.”
The Mk II’s unique aerodynamic package includes a massive fixed rear wing, large front splitter, GTE-derived diffuser, and front fender louvers. In total, downforce is well over 800 kilograms at 240 km/h, far beyond that of the GTE racecar.
The GT’s seven-speed dual clutch gearbox carries over to the Mk II, but is recalibrated for this car and it changes gear with the same sharpness as the racecar. The fact that it sounds like a racecar paints a clear picture about its intended purpose as the dominator of track days.
The basic construction of a GT road car includes a roll structure, but the Mk II goes further with occupant safety and adds a complete cage, a pair of bespoke, FIA-rated Sparco racing seats, and six-point harnesses. The road car’s air bags do not carry over, but the Mk II adds a MoTeC data acquisition dash unit with an integrated rear view camera display, necessary since the roof intake deletes the rear window.
Similar to the racing GT, the Mk II’s suspension is based around a set of Multimatic’s innovative DSSV spool valve dampers. They’re customer adjustable, but with a narrower range of adjustment than a pure professional damper. Brakes are Brembo carbon ceramics and the 19-inch slicks are supplied by Michelin.
The Mk II is designed as to have racecar levels of performance and yet still be accessible for track day drivers. As Holt told MOTOR, “Our mantra is to reward the expert and flatter the novice. It doesn't matter if you get into this, a regular Ford GT, a Shelby Mustang, that's our goal.”
The GT Mk II debuts at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed and customer deliveries begin later this year.
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