Modified Mustangs & FordsNews & Views
Making the Ford GT Street Legal
At first glance, the white Ford GT at the Detroit Auto Show looks like previous models, but it’s got some unique changes.
When you’re secretly developing an all-new, street-legal race car from scratch in less than a year, the trickiest part isn’t making it run—using a race-proven, twin-turbocharged six-cylinder took care of that worry for the GT. And, obviously, making it pretty wasn’t a problem. The real challenge wasn’t the racing part at all, it was the street-legal part. When the GT debuted at NAIAS in 2015, Ford described it as “production intent,” meaning that it was closer to a customer model than a show concept, but that the company couldn’t promise anything on the car would remain the same once it went into production.
We noticed a few details about the white GT at the Detroit show that were different than what we’d seen previously, so we sat down with Ford powertrain manager Paul Seredynski and got the rundown on the newest GT—the closest yet to what we’ll see from a production car.
The headlights and taillights of the white GT are very subtly different than those on the blue and silver show cars from 2015. “It’s so minor you probably couldn’t even see it if I put them side by side,” said Seredynski, but we did notice that the bulbs in the rear lights seemed less visible through the red surround than the earlier model.
2. Side Markers
“It’s all part of the process of federalization [making a car meet government requirements for safety and standardization],” said Seredynski, gesturing to the front and rear side marker lights embedded in the wheelwells of the GT.
Gone are the spindly, high-mounted mirrors of the concept, replaced with beefy glass on each side. “Europe and America have different rules for the field of view that the side mirrors must have,” said Moray Callum, vice president of design. “In order to sell the car worldwide with one mirror, it had to be a large one.”
4. Storage Space
The plans for trunk space in the GT was our first clue that the car might race Le Mans—rules of which require such street-car amenities as storage space. We now know for sure that Ford will be in France this summer, and you’ll notice cutlines in the nose of the car for a trunk that weren’t in the blue debut car.
5. Leather Interior
Alcantara is lighter and less slippery than leather, so track-focused cockpits tend to be covered with it. The GT will also offer an optional leather interior in a variety of colors, including (maybe, Ford still promises nothing) this eye-catching “Launch Control” orange. Notice that the brake calipers are painted to match.
6. Shiny Carbon
“We’re working out ideas for what will be standard and what will be an option,” said Seredynski, pointing out the glossy carbon details in the GT’s interior. “Even when it’s shiny, though, every bit of carbon in this car is real. If you see carbon, it’s part of the car’s structure.”
7. Moving Aero
The white car is programmed to show off its movable wing and adjustable ride height, flipping the downforce-improving spoiler up to demonstrate its airbrake qualities, then tucking it away and hunkering down to look streamlined and sleek.
Some of the other developments of the GT aren’t visually obvious. The GT will be programmed with several smart modes that will be even more sophisticated versions of the Street/Sport/Race options found in most current performance cars. The computer will know how warm the engine is, how cold the tires are, and what kind of driving you’re doing and will adjust steering feel, throttle response, and stability controls to offer you the perfect boost—or stay out of your way. Hit the brakes hard at high speed and the wing will act as an airbrake, but it will know not to do that if you’re just in stop-n-go traffic. Should be cool, we can’t wait to see it in action!