Saturday 14 December 2019

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Cork Independent


The million dollar Ford

Thursday, 18th July, 2019 10:26am

Ford has taken a leaf from Porsche’s playbook and developed a version of its Le Mans racer, unfettered by racing rules and regulations, to see just how fast it will really go.

Unlike Porsche’s 919 Evo, which was developed purely as a one-off for setting race track records, you can actually buy the new Ford GT MkII.

Well, you can if you’ve got a handy USD$1.2 million (plus taxes) and access to your own race track, because not only would you not be allowed to race this particular car in the Le Mans GTE category, you also can’t drive it on the road. It’s a strictly limited edition, built for Ford by the Multimatic racing team that ran the Le Mans racers.

“The true off-the-hook performance capability of the GT hasn’t yet been fully showcased,” said Multimatic’s chief technical officer, Larry Holt.

“The road car is obviously limited by the many global homologation requirements that it must comply with, and the race car suffers from the restriction of the dreaded Balance of Performance, resulting in it being 150 horsepower down to the road car. The Mk II answers the regularly asked question of how would the car perform with all the limitations lifted: the answer is spectacularly.”

The 3.5 litre twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine is at last allowed off the Le Mans leash, and now develops 200hp more than the racing version, with 700hp on tap. Part of that comes from a water-injection system that sprays cooling jets into the turbos to help ‘charge-cool’ the air being pumped into the engine, helping it to burn more efficiently.

Multimatic’s engineers have also trimmed 90kg from the GT’s weight for the MkII, as well as fitting five-stage DSSV suspension dampers, and lowering the overall ride height.

The MkII also gets a major aerodynamic makeover, with a massive dual-element rear wing, new front splitter, new rear diffuser, and some other airflow tweaks that mean it now develops 400 per cent more downforce than the racing version. Combine that with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres and you have a car that can pull two-times the force of gravity through a fast corner.

Other changes include a roof-mounted air scoop, 15 inch carbon-ceramic brakes mad by Brembo and new 19 inch forged alloy wheels. Inside there’s a Sparco racing seat, six-point harness, and a full data-logging telemetry system. A passenger seat is an option, Presumably a sick-bag for that passenger will also be available.

What happens next could be interesting. Ford has officially ended its works Le Mans effort, but the existing GT will continue to race in the US. There is a faint possibility that Ford might seek to take this ultimate version of the GT and reverse-engineer it back into a racing car to take on the new ‘hypercar’ category at Le Mans, which starts in 2021. Watch this space, we guess.

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