Developed in near-secrecy, the car genuinely advances the genre.
DETROIT – Some Ford executives were coy, others plead ignorance when asked about the racing future of the stunning new Ford GT, revealed Monday to the media at the North American International Auto Show.
But other sources have confirmed that yes, it is a done deal, that the car will apparently be homologated and entered in sports car racing in general, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in particular, which the Ford GT absolutely dominated in 1966.
It won’t have a shot at the overall win like it did in 1966, but in the tough GT class, Ford engineers and racers will still have their hands full beating the stalwarts in the series, including Porsche, Ferrari and the Chevrolet Corvette.
On sale in 2016
The GT will go on sale next year, powered by a twin-turbo Ecoboost V-6 sources directly from the Tudor United Sports Car Championship engine run in the Daytona Prototype class. The engine will easily make 600 horsepower in street form, but certainly would be choked down by at least 100 horses to make it legal for the class.
Given the fact that the Chip Ganassi team is the central proponent of the Ecoboost in the TUDOR Challenge Daytona Prototype class, and that the DP class will eventually go away, expect Ganassi to be a part of the new GT effort. Though there is a World Endurance Championship press conference at the Detroit show Tuesday, we don’t expect a major Ford announcement there. That may come no earlier than March.
The GT shown in Detroit was clad in Michelin tires, so expect Michelin – which has enormous pull at Le Mans – to help shepherd the car through the homologation process.
Regardless, the new GT is a stunner – the styling pays homage to the original GT 40, and the decidedly retro GT introduced for Ford’s 100th anniversary – but this new car genuinely advances the genre, and still looks original.
The other big news at the Detroit show was the Acura NSX, which debuted here in 2012 as a concept, but Monday, was shown in production form. It is flashier than the GT, partly a result of the chrome and candy-apple red color, and looks more like it came from the Ferrari design studios, though there are some genuine Acura-Honda touches there. It’s smaller than the GT, and with an expected price of about $150,000, will likely be about $50,000 cheaper.