6 Things We Learned Driving the New Ford GT

Credit: Ford

Ford’s supercar is finally here, and we got to be one of the first to get behind the wheel. Here’s how it rode.

It’s a rolling sculpture.
You might have first heard about the new GT when we put It on the cover of Men’s Journal in 2015 as the anchor of our Style & Design issue. Nearly two years later, we ogled, and indeed drove, the real car, and were gob-smacked again by the GT’s design, from the wrap-around windscreen to the huge channels at its rear. Ford North America Design Director Chris Svensson says the car’s V-6 engine (along with its placement at the car’s middle) “allowed us to design with negative space,” and as we watched the car lap around the Utah Motorsports Campus, it became clear that even at high speed, the GT’s doesn’t blur into another supercar clone. Among the field of CAD, wind-tunnel perfected supercars, the GT’s use of negative space gives it a retro-futurist vibe of its own. 

It feels like a racecar.
Unlike sportscars like the Acura NSX or the Lamborghini Huracan, all-wheel-drive vehicles which use high-tech, all-wheel-drive heroics on the track that almost feel like cheating, the Ford GT feels more like a straight-up racecar. With the aforementioned cars you can exit a turn perfectly without the full understanding of how the vehicle righted your wrongs, but the GT’s electronic interventions are more transparent (the fact that the GT is rear-wheel drive plays a factor, too.) The effect is that you feel like you “earn” every turn. Also racecar-like: the GT’s fantastic stopping ability, courtesy carbon-ceramic brakes paired with hydraulically-actuated active aerodynamics. Of course, the GT is in some ways an actual racecar — it’s assembled by Multimatic, the Canadian engineering firm and race shop that also builds the GT racecars that enter the GTE-class at Le Mans.

The sound? It might not stop your heart.
If you need your supercar to have the highly dramatic vocalization of a big V-12 engine, the GT might not be your car. The makes its 647 horsepower from a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, which sits right behind your head in the cockpit. Its whoosh and whine lack the fiery dynamics of a Ferrari, but the GT’s high-revving engine wows you the more you listen. Impressively, the GT’s powerplant shares 60 percent of its parts with the new Ford Raptor’s.

You’ll have to pack light.
The GT is built for speed, so cargo space is at a minimum. Glove box? Nope. That dashboard is a structural element of the chassis. We brought a big-ish SLR and lens, which took up most of the GT’s trunk, which is located up front. But since we’re talking about a $450,000 supercar, its drivers can likely afford a second set of clothes at the weekend house, right?

The GT’s even harder to buy than you think.
Ford execs told us that the initial production run of 500 cars have been spoken for, and perhaps 250 more will be produced in coming years. But to get a “yes” letter, buyers had to provide more than just proof they could pay for it. Everything from the other cars in your garage to your social media following went into account. The reason: Ford didn’t want the cars to go to buyers likely to flip them for profit or sit on them for investment purchases. Ford wants the cars driven in public, to create interest in the brand for folks more likely to spring for a Fiesta or Focus ST, or a Mustang, after seeing the high point of Ford’s motorsport evolution thus far.

Its app will prove your prowess (or your lack of it) on the track.
The GT launches with the Ford Performance app, which runs on your smartphone through the car’s SYNC 3 system, and logs all kinds of metrics both inside the car — like throttle and steering wheel positions, braking, and engine RPMs — as well as outside of it, locating the vehicle on a racecourse or route. The app uses your smartphone camera and a dedicated mount to capture video, and the resulting footage is overlaid with performance metrics. You can easily pinpoint the corners of the track where you lose speed, lap after lap. The result? We wanted to get back in the GT ASAP to get those seconds back.