In an effort to infuse some pertinent and historical information about Ford and LeMans, we all now know that the new GT supercar won its class at the 2016 24 Hours of LeMans. In our previous article on the limited edition Heritage Edition Ford GT, this recent victory perfectly bookends the effort from 50 years ago when the house that Henry built first won the most grueling sporting event in the world. Many consider this blue oval car to be the most legendary racing car of all time, the iconic GT40.
Though we haven’t seen it mentioned lately and by no means do we intend to minimize the 2016 victory, it should actually shine the light brighter on Ford’s 1960s LeMans efforts to note this current-era win for the new GT is a class win and not an overall one. The 1966 victory was, in fact, an overall triumph for the GT40.
The current Ford GT competed in the LeMans GTE Pro class and was not directly going up against the LMP1 (LeMans Prototype) class cars fielded by Porsche, Audi, and Toyota. And in further complement to Ford, it should also be realized that those P1 cars are crazy expensive to build and race, and are basically land-locked space shuttles. While the Ford is by no means a cheap-Charlie deal, it will (unlike any P1 car) actually be a street-drivable car in its very limited production guise.
It’s no surprise to us that the innovation and technology showcased in the now LeMans-winning 2017 Ford GT, is mirrored in the color and material choices for the production car.
Designers used color to enhance the look of efficiency and performance. “We walked a fine line with the color and materials in this car, by infusing energy through use of color and balance while working to ensure the raw appeal of its performance still shines through,” Barb Whalen, Ford design manager, color and materials said during a press release. “Everything in the Ford GT was intentionally designed to express ultimate performance.”
The application of carbon fiber, which is traditionally used as an exclusive element in high-performance vehicles, is employed as a structural component in the Ford GT. It also serves as a visual anchor of its lightweight construction.
In the interior, carbon fiber is visible across the instrument panel; while different top coating options for the exterior allow customers to choose from gloss, matte or Shadow Black paint to cover the exposed carbon fiber trim. The options provide for a more personalized look and feel to the car. Whether the end-user is looking to express a pure appreciation for racing, a solid performance aesthetic, or a more aggressive attitude in general.
For the first time with a Ford car, color combinations include customizable Brembo brake calipers. In addition to the standard six-piston units, monobloc anodized black calipers with carbon ceramic rotors are available as well. Upgrades include silver, blue, orange and red.
The GT’s carbon-ceramic discs are exceptionally lightweight—more than 50 percent lighter than similar cast-iron versions. The brake system, which derives its technology from the application of carbon in Formula One brake discs, is designed for low fluid displacement. This improves pedal feel and stiffness, and the integrated cooling system has been optimized by Ford and Brembo to perform at an optimum level under various conditions.
“The new Ford GT represents the pinnacle American supercar,” Dan Sandberg, president and CEO of Brembo North America said in the same press release. “Likewise, the high standards and innovative technology incorporated into our high-performance Brembo brakes clearly adds to overall driving enjoyment.”
Throughout the interior, color is used sparingly by making its way onto the car’s seat backs a feature visible from the outside. On the passenger side, a matching hue on the two-tier instrument panel creates a visual balance in the snug cabin upon opening the door.
The interior’s satin finishes and colors intensify as they move toward the passenger side—minimizing distraction for the driver.
Form follows function with no detail being overlooked by the designers. The horizontal ribbing on the seats for example, adds visual width to a narrow space, while the alcantara fabric covering was chosen both for its upscale feel and lighter weight.
Suggested color combinations and themes are available to coordinate interior and exterior hues, brake calipers, and racing stripes. The exterior palette offers eight bright colors—a nod to Ford’s racing heritage. One of these is the luscious Liquid Blue, a color that debuted too much buzz at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“These colors aren’t trendy, because Ford GT isn’t a trendy car,” Whalen said. “Rather it is already a modern classic—a veritable street-legal race car for the road.” One that has already proven its mettle at the 24 Hours of LeMans we might add.