Back in the 60s, automotive racing history was about to change when Henry Ford II decided that it was time for America to be well-represented at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. The European domination, most notably that of Ferrari , gave Ford the motivation to built an American race car that could take the fight to the Italian Prancing Horse. And so, the Ford GT project was born and at the 1966 Le Mans race, Ford did the unthinkable, scoring a 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans and setting off a three-year run when the American automaker reigned supreme at the 24-hour endurance race.
Fast forward to 2005 and the production version of the Ford GT - limited as they were - was born under the guise of being the company’s "Centennial Supercar". This, of course, leads us to this year and the Ford GT still holds acclaim for being the only Ford supercar to be built.
It’s omniscient looks, coupled with its standing as a true American original, has made the Ford GT a tuning favorite, particularly from US-based aftermarket companies. One such company, Hennessey Performance Engineering , recently took the task of building performance programs for the venerable supercar, including one that gives the GT a mouth-watering output of 1,000 horsepower. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything more awesome than that.
UPDATE 03/26/2012: The Ford GT 1000 Twin Turbo just established a standing mile record of 257.7 mph, officially becoming the fastest car at Texas Mile (for cars running on the Chase Field runway in Beeville).
Hennessey attempted to break the standing mile record in 2011 with the Ford GT as well, but fell short at just 235 mph. The first day of the 2012 Texas Mile brought them up to 246.8 mph, but the second day was the true triumph with the 257.7 mph record. The victorious Ford GT by Hennessey is owned by Mark Heidaker and driven by Sean Kennedy.
UPDATE 05/16/2012: Now, the supercar has set a new world record. With Sean Kennedy behind the wheel, the Hennessey GT posted a new standing half-mile record of 219.9mph in the half mile. This impressive result was achieved at the 8,000-foot runway of Ellington Airport, the Houston Half Mile.
The Hennessey Ford GT that established this impressive record was powered by an Accufab Racing V8 engine updated with two Precision Turbochargers for an impressive output of 2000 bhp.
UPDATE 10/29/2012: To add to the Fotd GT1000 Twin Turbo’s growing number of records, Hennessey headed back to the famous track at the biannual Texas Mile Festival of Speed organized in Beeville and, with Sean Kennedy behind the wheel, the Ford GT by Hennessey hit an amazing top speed of 263.3 mph! Check out the video by clicking on the image above!
Details on the Ford GT1000 Twin-Turbo by Hennessey after the jump.
Ford was becoming frustrated with the continuing success of Enzo Ferrari’s racing machines. It came to a point that Henry Ford II was given an offer by Enzo to buy the company for an unheard of $18 million dollars. The buyout ended up falling through and Ford was left on its own to develop a racing team that could compete on the European circuits. Due to the non compete pact between American automakers, Ford knew it would have to look outside of its Dearborn, Michigan team for talent.
To make a long story short, Ford took over a GT racing project from Lola, hired a prominent racing manager in John Wyer, and then designed the original GT40s to be raced in 1964. The story is much more complex than that, but the legend that would come from this humble beginning is much more important. The initial GT/101 chassis was essentially a loser and Ferrari continued to laugh while running away with victories. By 1965, Carroll Shelby was taken away from his Cobra projects and started developing the next generation of GT40 for Ford. This car gave Ford a win at Daytona in the first race of the very next year.
Ford did develop several very special prototype cars including four roadster versions. Until recently, the GT/111 chassis was thought to have been destroyed long ago, but a chance find in London led to its discovery. Extensive restoration and consequential historic racing had finally brought it to the auction block at RM’s Villa d’Este with a value estimated between $3,900,000-4,700,000.
Hit the jump for more details on the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster
Motorsports history will show the Ford GT as one of the most dominant forces in the game. Shelby and his Cobra were the only real competition to the classically styled GT. As Ford attempted to reincarnate the GT model and introduce it as a super sports car, things became abundantly clear that they had rushed things. The most recent GT was a beautiful representation of the classic car in modern clothes, but the powertrain and stamina were not up to par. Many buyers of the vehicle became so frustrated with its ownership that they simply gave up all together. The car was plagued with problems and would begin falling apart from the moment you drove it off the lot.
Today, Ford is a company on the rebound after the financial crisis rocked the American automotive industry. For the first time it has begun to outsell General Motors on a quarterly basis and things seem to be getting better all the time. By trimming the fat and producing solid vehicles that the American consumer wants has been a key to this success. So is it time to release a new supercar?
That question is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, if Ford was able to build a true competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and more exotic machines like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, then the answer is undoubtedly YES. Coming from the other side, if Ford makes another immensely powerful machine that simply breaks down at every track, then the reputation they have been trying to build will take a major hit. That being said, Ford seems to have plans in the works for a new GT, but information is scarce and speculative.
Hit the jump for more details on the Future Ford GT.
Shortly after two Ford GTs appeared at LeMans, rumors started circulating that the American company was contemplating bringing the GT back to fill in one of the gaps in the American supercar lineup. Now those rumors are picking up some speed thanks to an interview with some of Ford’s head honchos.
During an intimate dinner at the Detroit Auto Show, Automobile Magazine got the opportunity to pose a question to Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development, that would be followed by a few moments of awkward silence and a wishy washy answer: “Is Ford interested in a successor to the GT?”
In real life, a to-the-point question typically gets a straight answer, but unfortunately that is not how it works in the auto world - or the political world but that’s another issue altogether. After a few moments of thought-gathering and answer-processing, Kuzak’s response was, "Well I think there are certain things that we don’t want to talk about in terms of four-year product plans, if that’s okay." Ford president and CEO, Alan Mulally, then tried to lighten the mood with a response of his own: “All I know is, if the ground is wet, they don’t let me drive it,” said Mulally. “That vehicle levitates.”
While not exactly a confirmation, these awkward and thought-provoking responses lead us to believe that something is definitely cooking in Ford’s kitchen, and we’re famished. We’ll take a double serving of the old supercar with a more original design than that of the 2005 Ford GT and spice it up with that same GT spirit, please!
Time and again, we’ve scoured the forums looking for the next supercar to drool over. Whether it’s a completely new one or one that just got out of the tuning shops, we never miss an opportunity to see what new bad boy lies out there, primed and ready to unleash its wrath on the streets of the world.
Good thing too because we’ve found this matte black Ford GT that has been given some pretty serious tune-up work. “Peakcompletions” from L4P took their Ford GT – an already amazing car in its own right – over to Shelby at Elite Autos to have some tweaks and upgrades done to it.
The result is nothing short of awe-inspiring. For starters, the car was given a custom Heffner SC/TT package that produces 1,400 rwhp. If that’s not enough, the car was given a matte satin black paint finish, a glossy carbon interior, a dry carbon exterior, matte red brakes, a double din radio, a back-up camera, and even more carbon fiber on the interior.
Suffice to say, this tuned-up Ford GT is one car we wish we had inside our garage. It’s gorgeous inside, outside, and every other angle we can think of.
Have you ever imagined what would happen if you ever got the opportunity to leave your car in the hands of an experienced tuner? Well, this American customer got this exact chance and the final product was even less than horrendously inappropriate. After having been turned down by many tuners unable to make the requested modifications to his Ford GT , Texas sports car tuner Ray Hofman was finally able to get a yes from Bill Knobloch over at Discovery Automotive in California.
After sending his classic Gulf baby blue and orange heritage liveried Ford to California to have these modifications made right before a Ford GT rally event, Hofman was later asked by Knobloch for a copy of his insurance car as he was about to take the car for a "get to know each other" drive. Later, Hofman received an email from Knobloch stating that he had been in a minor accident while he was "driving like a little old lady."
Yesterday we reported that Matech had brought two Ford GTs to the LeMans and had also prepared a documentary covering the whole comeback. Today, rumors are circulating that Ford is preparing another version of the sports car. Coincidence? We think not. In fact, we think it’s more a strategy than anything else. What better way to to bring back an oldie but goodie than to throw it into a race in which the car succeeded many years prior?
The original Ford GT was quite impressive with its 5.4L V8 engine producing 550hp and 680Nm of torque. It made the 0-60mph sprint in 3.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 205mph. With only 4,000 units produced from 2005 to 2006, it was only a matter of time before Ford would try to cash in on an old model, and we think it’s fantastic!
Rumors suggest that the new GT will not be a traditional-power model. Instead, Ford will bring forth a highly fuel-efficient, or electric, low-/no-emissions "green" model. This may have been inspired by the huge success being raked in by the recently unveiled electric sports cars, such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and the SLS E-Cell . And, right about now, Ford needs a big moneymaker to compete with all of the vehicles coming out of the brands overseas.
Along with the electric GT, Ford is also preparing an electric version of the Ford Focus , set to be unveiled in late 2011.
Back in the 60’s, the Ford GT enjoyed unprecedented success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the overall title four times between 1966-1969. Oddly enough, after dominating Le Mans for four successive years, the Ford GT fell off the racing grid, inconspicuously absent from the famous endurance race for 41 years.
That is, of course, until now. Matech went to this year’s Le Mans race fielding two Ford GTs, the first time since 1969 that a Ford GT participated in the endurance race. Despite both cars failing to see the checkered flag, their return to Le Mans still proved to be relatively successful after the two GTs, neophytes that they are, fared better and far more impressively than most of the competition
And the best part of the whole experience is that Matech was there for the entire weekend to document the return of the Ford GT to Le Mans for a movie that’s being called “Reborn”. Check out the trailer of the video and tell us that you’re not getting all pumped up to see the feature-length.
With over 1,900 horsepower and about 41 pounds of boost added to it, no one should really be surprised to know that this particular Heffner Twin-Turbo Ford GT set a ridiculous standing-mile record during the recently-concluded Exotic Rally Miami One Mile last weekend.
After posting a pass of 249.7 mph - with 26 pounds of boost - at the Texas Mile a few weeks ago, the very same yellow Ford GT clocked a pass of 266.93 mph - with 41 pounds of boost - in Miami over the weekend. Whether or not the added boost in the car that ran in Miami contributed greatly to the higher top speed has been the point of contention regarding the Ford GT’s new record.
But regardless of what’s underneath the hood of the car, you can’t help but try picking your jaws up from the gravel after watching the car do its magic. Whether its 249 or 266, that banana-colored machine has some serious power under its hood.
Despite living in a time where world records seem to fall by the wayside faster than a New York minute, people still try to make their mark on history, working as hard as they can to be called world-record holders. This time, it was Performance Power Racing that tried to enter the record books for the world’s fastest car in the standing mile. After a series of trial runs - and some bumps and bruises along the way, Performance Power Racing finally broke through with their 1,400 horsepower Ford GT, which posted a top speed of 253.97 mph.