When Ford set out to build the new Ford GT, it was a multipurpose project, designed to win races, of course, but also to develop new engine technologies, stretch the company’s understanding of aerodynamics and push the boundaries of advanced materials usage, all for eventual use in other models across the Ford lineup.
In developing the engine, there was a lot of spillover to the Ford F-150 Raptor:
Ford GT’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is the company’s most powerful EcoBoost ever, delivering 647 horsepower. It was developed alongside the GT race engine and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine used in the F-150 Raptor high-performance off-road pickup, which shares almost 60 percent of its parts with GT’s engine.
For instance, during racing, the test engine’s crankshafts in the Daytona Prototype were cracking under grueling conditions. With little time to get ready for the Sebring endurance race that year, the team made a key decision to substitute the Daytona prototype’s race crankshaft with a pre-production F-150 Raptor crankshaft. The Daytona prototype won its first race at Sebring that year.
The digital dash technology is appearing already:
GT’s role as a technology test bed is evident throughout the supercar, with some innovations, … hitting showrooms soon. For example, all-digital dashboard technology, similar to that in the supercar’s, is available in the 2018 Mustang, and is coming to additional new Ford vehicles.
The company’s push into customized driving modes that help customers fit a vehicle’s performance to specific conditions is expanding rapidly in Mustang and other performance models. The hydraulic suspension can change ride height and compliance with the turn of a knob when selecting driving modes, Wet, Normal, Sport, Track and the guaranteed to get you a ticket, V-Max, designed strictly for track use and maximum straight line speed.
Overall, this had to be a great project to work on and some Ford engineers probably still grin every day as a result. It’s also indicative of how today’s street cars and trucks are more closely related than one might think to high tech supercars like the Ford GT and quickly benefit from advances developed for the track. This is a great time for automotive technology.