Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
January 25, 2015

Ford left no question about its commitment to global performance when it released the 2016 Ford GT, along with the Shelby GT350R and the EcoBoost-powered 2015 Raptor, at the recently held North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But those models represent just three of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020, including the Focus RS.

The all-new Ford GT becomes the most powerful EcoBoost-powered production car ever, with a new twin-turbocharged 3.5L V-6 producing more than 600 hp. According to Ford, the GT will be available in late 2016 in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“As we at Ford drive innovation into every part of our business, it’s worth remembering that our first innovation as a company was not in a laboratory, but on the racetrack,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer, referring to Henry Ford’s win of a 1901 car race that inspired financial backers to invest in his company. “We are passionate about innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”

The all-new GT features advanced lightweight composites, with the broad application of structural carbon fiber elements, and will exhibit one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car. Anchored by a carbon fiber passenger cell, the GT features aluminum front and rear subframes encapsulated in structural carbon fiber body panels. Based on the same race-proven engine architecture serving Ford’s IMSA Daytona Prototype endurance racing efforts, the next-generation twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 in the GT features a wide powerband with impressive time-to-torque characteristics.

Underpinnings include an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height, combined with 20-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires designed specifically for the Ford GT. Multispoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.

The high-tech cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors—the seats are integrated into the carbon fiber passenger cell. According to Ford, “this configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis.” This also required adjustable pedals and steering column to make it work for different size drivers.

An F1-style steering wheel contains all the driver controls. This eliminates the stalks and gives the driver easy access to the transmission paddle-shift controls. “While we hope enthusiasts rejoice about this all-new GT, all Ford customers will benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,” said Nair.

While the Ford GT stole the show in Detroit, we had our eye on the GT350R, which will be priced much more affordably. Highlights of the GT350R are carbon fiber wheels that leads a 130-pound weight-reduction program, extreme aero in the form of new front splitter and a broad rear wing, and the 5.2L VooDoo V-8 that is said to rev as high as 8,250 rpm and make over 500 hp. Ford also ditched the A/C (which is now optional), along with the rear seat and the stereo. Even the exhaust resonators have been chucked. The aforementioned carbon wheels save 13 pounds of unsprung weight per wheel, and the R-model rides on Pilot Sport Cup II tires that we expect to be ultra sticky. Of course the suspension has been tuned for a serious track attack—it’s lower, leaner, and fast enough to suck the life out of the Camaro Z/28.

Ford also showed the new EcoBoost Raptor F-150, stating that the 3.5L engine would pack more power than the current Raptor V-8. Ford says the truck is rough and ready with a purpose-built, high-strength steel frame unique to Ford F-150 Raptor. The high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body help save more than 500 pounds of weight for improved performance and capability

The Raptor is smart, too, powered by an all-new, high-output 3.5L EcoBoost engine with more horsepower and torque than the current Raptor’s 6.2L V-8, which makes 411 hp, 434 lb-ft of torque. The new Raptor also has an all-new 10-speed transmission, advanced LED lighting, and camera technology for improved visibility day or night. Ford also redesigned the Fox Racing Shox to provide more suspension travel. All-new terrain management technology helps the F-150 Raptor tackle any task, be it on the road or off.