Ford has decided to up the stakes of its already high-performance GT by dropping weight and tweaking some of the performance goodies here and there. And, as we all know, less weight is always a good thing. Always, always, always, always.
Look, in case you’re new to the game, or just don’t get the concept, let me ask you a question: How many fat jockeys do you see riding in the Kentucky Derby? Exactly. If you want your horse, or, in the case of the gearhead, your car to be faster, make it lighter.
To wit, Ford is heading down this path to make its GT even better.
After a resounding win at this year’s Rolex 24 Hour race at Daytona, Ford decided to hang around the Florida beach town and show off the new, ultra-lightweight Ford GT Competition Series for North America. As the name implies, it’s intended for track and racing use, which is fine, but also rather a pity. My personal preference is that I like to see track cars also roaming around the streets, but that’s just me.
Ford says the GT Competition Series is the “ultimate production car” for track fans, and it does this (be ultimate) by removing weight higher up in the vehicle and, therefore, moves the center of gravity lower down, getting it closer to the track for even better road-holding. They also point out the “duh, obvious” benefit of reducing weight in maximizing the car’s 647 horsepower engine.
“The Ford GT has racing in its blood,” said Raj Nair, Ford Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, and Chief Technical Officer. “The Competition Series was developed with the most hardcore track enthusiasts in mind, providing a tailored set of lightweight features and unique livery to match.”
And really, I’m not going to argue with him on any of that.
Gravity & Glass
As an example, look no further than the rear deck lid. It now sports an innovative, lightweight, and race-inspired Perspex acrylic engine hatch cover with manual latch and carbon fiber prop rod. This reduces the weight near the roof and shifts the balance of the weight lower in the car. Perspex is the same stuff they use in fighter plane canopies, and, although it scratches easier (a down side to every day road use) it is much, much lighter than glass. Besides, it’s the same stuff they use in fighter planes, how cool is that? The manual latches do away with all the cabling and interior pulls, saving a few pounds, as does the carbon fiber prop rod.
The “glass” between the driver and the engine compartment, which is known as bulkhead glass, is now made of reduced thickness Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass is the same stuff that’s on the face of an iPhone/iPad and is already very light and pretty darn tough. As rolled out in the Ford GT Competition, it’s about half as thick when compared to other models.
Dressed For Success
Ford has not, thankfully, monkeyed with any of the existing performance features on the GT. The FIA-certified steel roll cage and active aerodynamic system are still there, mercifully. Items not vital to performance are eliminated. So, gone to the parts shelves are the air conditioning, the radio, the stowage bins, and the cupholders. The cupholders Martha! See what Ford is willing to sacrifice?
The Competition Series also features, as standard, previously available weight-reducing optional equipment. Carbon fiber wheels (hubba), and titanium lug nuts (hubba-hubba), and a titanium exhaust (hubba-hubba-hubba) are standard.
Carbon fiber? Oh yeah, lots of it.
The GT Competition Series gets a unique gloss carbon fiber stripe, carbon fiber mirror caps and A-pillars, and exposed carbon fiber lower body trim with a matching gloss finish. The interior matches the lightweight intentions of the car, but it keeps the same driver-oriented elements of other models, such as the F1-styled steering wheel and its functional controls. There is Ebony Alcantara suede on the seats, instrument panel, and headliner, which is pretty and lighter than leather, but also a pain to maintain.
There’s exposed carbon fiber on the console, registers, and door sills. The shift paddles are anodized red (which is pretty boss) as is the instrument panel badge. There’s a unique center console plate and steering wheel fascia in place of the deleted infotainment controls and screen. The Competition Series comes in six colors: Shadow Black, Frozen White, Ingot Silver, Liquid Blue, Liquid Grey, and Triple Yellow.
No word on price and availability, but the proverbial “a lot and not many” will most likely apply.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.