Flat-out on track in the Ford GT
The GT lies at the very top of Ford’s range. In fact, it sits atop a triangle of Ford Performance vehicles, coming in above ‘High Performance’ cars such as the Ranger Raptor and Mustang, or ‘Enhanced Performance’ models like the ST.
It’s the latest installment in a long line of performance GT cars, inspired – of course – by the original GT40. It’s easy to strap on the rose-tinted glasses and become all wistful about performance cars of old, but this latest GT is deserving of being judged in its own right – free of a shadow cast by its forefathers.
So, what has this latest tip-top two-seater from the Blue Oval got to prove itself with? There’s the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6, to kick things off. Pumping out just shy of 650bhp, it’s a change from the V8 you’d find in the previous GT, but certainly makes up for displacement with its ability to garner this car with mind-boggling performance; 0-60mph comes in under three seconds, and flat-out it’ll do 216mph.
But why this interest in the GT all of a sudden? After all, it first arrived in 2017. Given how limited and exclusive this supercar is, we jumped at the chance to have a snatch-and-grab go behind the wheel around motorsport experts M-Sport’s own in-house circuit – and try to explain what that’s like.
We’d been told that only a few laps would be allotted to us to see what the GT can do. There was no time for warm-ups or testing laps; it’d be a flat-out or nothing test instead.
M-Sport’s circuit starts with a fairly long straight, so this was attacked with full throttle straight away – with such a short amount of time available, it seems sacrilege to do anything but. The response was immediate and the V6 picks the car up without a moment’s hesitation. It’s a properly characterful unit, howling away behind us as the speedo cranks up to 120mph. The paddleshift gearbox is instantaneous in its response – it’s a seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Then, into the first corner, the carbon-ceramic brakes bring the whole affair to a steady slow.
The weather in Cumbria (M-Sport’s centre is located not far from Cockermouth) had kicked off in typically British fashion; heavy rain, grey skies and low temperatures. Fortunately, the track had begun to dry a touch by the time we got on to it, but even so second gear corners cause the traction control light to flicker immediately – and third and fourth gears do the same.
There’s a commitment chicane in the middle of the track, and it’s here where you can lean on the car’s balance. The steering is alive but predictable, and the whole car feels far more approachable (even in faster bends) than you’d think a supercar of this type could be – and that’s despite wearing slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber on a damp circuit.
Up comes lap two, and it’s back along the straight – a little faster this time – before diving into the first left-hander. The GT reacts instantly to steering inputs, and the inherent balance of the car is hard to ignore – it feels so wonderfully eager to turn in that it goads you into driving harder and braking later.
Then it’s through the central complex section – a mixture of twin-apex corners and easily misjudged bends – before nailing through the chicane once more. And then, just when we’re easing into things, it’s time to come in, slow down and recalibrate.
Driving the GT is a sensory overload; there’s so much going on at once that it’s hard to take everything in. And though it was only a quick period behind the wheel, it was more than enough to establish the thought that the GT needs to go down as one of the supercar greats.