If you believe what you are seeing in photos of the Ford GT’s 10-inch digital instrument cluster, this supercar is good for as much as 216 miles per hour. With that kind of warp-speed power available under your right foot, having some technological assistance is a great idea. Fortunately, the new GT offers five drive modes to make the most of that power in any environment and the cluster changes to highlight the information you need for your driving mission.
“Driver focus and attention are key with such high performance,” Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance, said. “We’ve designed the GT with a sleek, digital instrument display that changes, depending on driving mode, in ways that are important and usable to the driver.”
When you are moving at Ford GT speeds, it’s important to have the right information displayed so you can make quick decisions. Ford turned to its partners to perfect the cutting-edge display. Pektron helped with the hardware and Conjure developed the easily readable graphics that don’t distract from the road.
To help perfect the display for a performance environment, Ford Performance turned to one of its Multimatic Motorsports drivers, Scott Pruett, who tested the display on a Ford simulator. He ultimately suggested expanding the tachometer view to allow seeing it from the driver’s peripheral vision.
“We spent an enormous amount of time getting this just right,” Nick Terzes, Ford GT engineering supervisor, said. “The result is simple, but achieving simple perfectly can be a challenge.”
With the GT cluster, this is clearly the way we are headed for the future.—Nick Terzes, Ford Performance
“With the GT cluster, this is clearly the way we are headed for the future,” Nick said in the video voiceover. “You are going to see a lot more of this in other Ford products. This is all about providing the best information to the driver and making a clear technological leap into the future. And, GT is where it starts.”
That’s definitely exciting to hear, but the Ford GT already shares a technology offered in cars that are available to the masses—drive modes. What makes this setup unique is that the digital instrument cluster changes based on the drive mode selected via controls on the steering wheel.
According to Ford Performance, these are the changes to the GT’s display in each driving mode:
- Normal mode displays information in a purposeful, businesslike manner. The theme is simple; the speedometer is centered and bold, gear selection is to the right, fuel and temperature are top left. The hockey-stick-shaped tachometer displays in a compressed scale for lower rpm, as the engine revs so quickly the lower counts mean almost nothing to the driver. The 3,000-to-7,000-rpm range dominates the top of the display.
- Wet mode carries many of the same information concepts over from normal mode, using a blue theme and a “wet floor” concept. Graphics under the speedometer emulate the shine of wet asphalt to remind the driver of the mode selection.
- Sport mode adjusts information priorities. Front and center is gear selection, with the speedometer off to the right and less prominent. It’s displayed in an aggressive orange theme and is the preferred mode for most test drivers.
- Track mode presents a stark combination of black background and highly legible text and graphics, in a crisp, red theme that’s easy for the eye to pick up in a fast-paced environment. Gear selection and engine speed are displayed prominently, while coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature and fuel level—rendered as a percentage rather than miles to empty—are bottom right.
- V-Max offers an entirely different display—purposeful and pared down. Specifically tailored to pursuing maximum top speed, it displays a large, centered speedometer, with tachometer reduced to just a line with indicator dot for minimal distraction. Coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature and turbocharger boost are displayed to the right, with fuel level displayed top left.
These variations sound pretty great, but apparently the execution is quite effective as well.
“This is exactly what I want to see when I want to see it,” Le Mans-winning driver, Joey Hand, told the Ford GT team. “You guys did a great job.”