Ford unveiled their GT supercar at the Detroit Motor Show, with more than 447kW generated by a twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 engine. The carbon-fibre body sparkled like a blue gem as Chairman Bill Ford and Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields announced that it would go into production next year.
The car will be priced above $150,000 (R1,737,577 at the current exchange rate) said a person familiar with the plan, when it goes on sale 50 years after the original GT40 swept the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford plans to return to the race, said the person, who asked not to be identified revealing internal plans.
Fields’ brainchild, the new GT has been developed under the internal code name Project Phoenix, said the person. The race car is intended to be a showcase of advanced engineering for Ford and will be powered by a turbocharged EcoBoost engine that maximises fuel efficiency. Ford also unveiled an F-150 Raptor and the Shelby GT350R at the show. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company said it will offer 12 performance vehicles by 2020.
The new GT will also return to Le Mans next year on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s historic win at the legendary European endurance race, the person said. GT40 racers finished first, second and third at Le Mans in 1966, as benefactor Henry Ford II, the company’s chief and grandson of the founder, looked on. The GT40 was the first American race car to win the grueling race and the first US car to win a major European race since 1921.
After a year in which Ford lost almost a point of US market share, the automaker is eager to show it will come back in 2015, as the F-150 reaches dealers and now is joined by some sizzle in the showroom. While a GT would sell in small numbers, the impact on Ford’s image for styling and engineering could be large. Ford’s last GT, which it stopped selling in 2006, sold just over 4,000 models in two years on the market. British TV Show “Top Gear” named the GT the “Gas Guzzler of the Year” in 2005.
The new GT is a modern supercar with an efficient design that demonstrates Ford can blend power with fuel economy. It will probably begin entering races later this year as it warms up for its return to Le Mans. Ford dominated Le Mans in the late 1960s, winning the race four consecutive years from 1966 to 1969. Fields, who became Ford’s CEO last July, drove the development of the new GT, intending to make it his first signature project as he pushes the company to lead in innovation, the person said.