Ford announces its ultimate GT with the 700bhp track-only Mk II. Words and photos by Jordan Katsianis.
On your Mk…
Ford came, conquered, and 50 years later came and conquered again. The Blue Oval’s current GT, designed with the sole intention of usurping the establishment at the Le Mans 24 Hours, is the result of homologation in the old-fashioned sense – but with an odd role reversal. Blame the immense pace of road-going supercar development, and also the contrived Balance of Performance regulations in racing, but contrary to what many might think, the Ford GT in its Le Mans class-winning guise is heavily limited in its powertrain, aero and braking compared with the road car.
So to really show off the GT’s underlying capability around a circuit, Ford has announced the GT Mk II, a track-only variant possessing the fastest bits from the racing and road-going versions, and completely free of the regulations that apply to each. As such, Ford won’t race the GT Mk It, and neither will the model’s buyers, so it will only ever be driven at trackdays. There’s also no VIN number, so don’t expect to see one at a cars & coffee meet.
At the Mk II’s core, the carbonfibre-tubbed chassis, aluminium subframes and composite bodywork are all shared with both the road car and racer. However, the 3497cc twin-turbo V6 engine has been liberated from its BoP shackles and now produces 700bhp – 200bhp more than the race car, and 53bhp more than the road car. The extra power is courtesy of an electronic overhaul, and the final figure demonstrates just how heavily reined in the LMGTE-Pro version is.
To keep the powertrain cool, the outboard air-to-air charge-coolers now feature an atomised water vapour injection system, while the racer’s roof-mounted scoop adds to the updated cooling package, not to mention the Mk M’s aesthetic,
A recalibrated version of the seven-speed Getrag dual-clutch transmission from the road-going GT is used, rather than the six-speed Ricardo sequential ’box from the racer, and the 394mm front and 360mm rear carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes have also been taken from the road car.
The wheels are new forged 19-inch items. The road car’s optional carbonfibre rims won’t be offered due to the much higher loads generated by the Mk II’s standard Michelin Pilot Sport GT race slicks. The transverse pushrod suspension is derived from the road car’s set-up, but where that has electronically adjustable dampers and springs, allowing changes to the ride stiffness and height from within the cabin, the Mk II has a simpler arrangement with five-way-adjustable Multimatic DSSV dampers and a low, fixed ride height.
The aero package takes its inspiration from the racer and is centred around a new static dual-element rear wing. This replaces the active unit from the road car but produces more downforce than the fixed item on the racer. To balance this out, Ford has also redesigned the front splitter and supplemented it with new dive planes and vented front wheelarches. The result is a huge 400 per cent increase in total downforce compared to the road car, which in combination with those slick tyres gives a lateral grip peak of 2G.
The already snug interior is mostly unchanged, save for a new Sparco racing bucket seat and six-point safety harness. A passenger seat is optional.
The standard dials have also been replaced by a Motec data display, which doubles as a screen for the reversing camera – now essential with that roof snorkel blocking the view rearwards. Weight savings throughout, not least the removal of the road car’s complex adjustable ride-height system, see the Mk II tip the scales at 1356kg with fluids – that’s a saving of over 100kg compared to the road car.
Just 45 examples of the GT Mk II will be produced, with prices starting at $1.2 million (£946,000). Each car will have its initial construction take place at the main Ford GT plant at Multimatic Motorsport in Ontario, Canada, before final assembly and calibration at a specialist facility on the same site,
This type of ultimate supercar, one not homologated for either road or race applications, may seem like a tiny sliver of a market to aim for, but just as the original GT40 took on and, in 1966, eventually beat Ferrari at la Sarthe, so a track-only supercar could be seen as a threat to the Prancing Horse’s similar creations. A head-to-head between the Ford GT MkII and Ferrari’s P80/C sounds like the perfect way to settle it…