The same 3D simulator helped tune the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500

Ford Performance has a super-cool, state-of-the-art racing simulator, and it’s not afraid to use it on its street cars as well. That’s how the freshly-released Mustang Mach-E became the first road-going Ford that had its parameters optimized using the 3D sim located in Concord, North Carolina.

Once the Ford GT was out of the pipeline and the Blue Oval could finally think about planning a return at Le Mans, the need for a racing program spruced to attention. To sustain it, Ford built the 33,000-square-foot Technical Support Center which helped other similar efforts along the way. But until now, it was never used in the development of a mass-produced street-legal car. The Mach-E changed that.

Pick any electric car on sale today and you’ll be sure of one thing: the tech package offered is of the hefty variety. It doesn’t matter the make or the model, every EV is trying to stand out in this department. With the Mach-E, Ford has gone even further.

Sure, Ford’s designers looked a lot at Tesla’s cabin architecture but in applying the finishing touches to the Mach-E’s drivetrain, Ford’s engineers used a 3D racing simulator - the same that helped them set up the 760-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT500.

According to CNET’s Roadshow, the simulator is designed to allow Ford’s crew to replicate every car currently found in the Blue Oval’s lineup, together with future models, of course. Technically, today you can now sit in the Ford GT’s cockpit while one hour later, you can find yourself “driving” the new 2020 Ford Focus RS.

Ford Used Its High-Tech Racing Simulator to Tune the Mustang Mach-E
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That way, there’s no need to over-complicate things with physical prototypes and the tricky logistics that come with having to ship cars to various places around the world, cost included (a trip to the Nurburgring costs around $200,000, according to the same article). Oh, and the simulator can be loaded up with a digital version of pretty much every race track in the world, provided it’s been scanned in advance.

Coming back to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, a lot of the computer-aided tuning went towards the Mach-E’s four-wheel-drive system that can apply torque independently to the front and rear axles. Ford says the setup has been optimized for “excellent traction on the road,” especially in wet and snowy conditions, where control is crucial.

Ford Used Its High-Tech Racing Simulator to Tune the Mustang Mach-E
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Then there’s the performance aspect.

With its extended-range, AWD Mach-E, Ford is aiming for a 0-60-miles-per-hour time that’s lower than the base Porsche Macan’s which means the crossover must dispatch the sprint in less than 6.5 seconds.

On top of that, the Mach-E GT is said to be faster than the Macan Turbo, so it has to zap from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, while the GT Performance Edition has to be quicker than the Porsche 911 GTS, meaning it has to pull off mid-three-second sprints from naught to 60.

Final Thoughts

Ford Used Its High-Tech Racing Simulator to Tune the Mustang Mach-E
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The Mustang Mach-E is of utter importance for Ford. With this new electric crossover, the Blue Oval is inserting itself in what has so far been an out-of-reach arena.

We’d even go as to say that Ford risked a lot by fast-forwarding the Mach-E’s R&D and tried to compensate by reviving the Mach nameplate that gets to sit once again next to the Mustang badge. But technology, as with any EV these days, has a pivotal role in attracting buyers and in developing the Mach-E using its super-fancy racing simulator, Ford and its Performance division made it clear what sort of buyers they’re hoping to lure in.

Ford Used Its High-Tech Racing Simulator to Tune the Mustang Mach-E
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See, when your grandpa came back home from World War II, all he wanted to do (besides having sex) was settle in a nice house, start a family, and buy a car. Your grandpa, however, had other demands from the four-wheeled vehicle that was supposed to take him from A to B. Today, millennials aged thirty to forty who can afford to buy a car will demand totally different things. Technology is a must-have prerequisite. That desire gets stronger when it comes to EVs, and since these contraptions are widely regarded as the future, they must be overly tech-y to outrank their internal combustion engined peers. And since Tesla has educated the buyer to expect flashing performance when it comes to acceleration, every respectable future EV will have to tick that box too.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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