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The Ford GT is absolutely sick with high-tech innovation and you need to know why

Jon Phillips | May 5, 2015
Forget about Teslas, Google cars and Apple cars. The 2017 Ford GT is a high-tech tour-de-force, and Ford does it all with a gasoline engine, lightweight materials and advanced aerodynamics.

The turbos' intercoolers also take advantage of the form-fitting body design, as they're hidden in the haunches of the rear wheel wells. Cool air enters the intercooolers through the front mesh, and then all the hot air that's generated by the intercoolers' heat exchange is routed through the back of the "ring of fire" LED taillights.

And here's another high-tech feature that's relatively hidden from view: Not just the tub chassis, but all the GT's body panels are made from high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber. The car features front and rear subframes made of aluminum (another lightweight material), but there's no heavy steel anywhere in the vehicle.

The goal here is to chase class-leading power-to-weight ratios--and not just for faster acceleration, but for improved weight transfer and all the handling dynamics that follow. And this isn't just about sprung weight. Unsprung weight even gets the lightweight treatment with 20-inch carbon fiber wheels.

ford gt carbon fiber wheel
JON PHILLIPS. Here's the Ford GT's carbon fiber wheel-before it's painted black.

Of course, Ford paints over most of the carbon fiber to protect it from the elements, but there are still healthy helpings of exposed weaving to remind onlookers of the GT's high-tech underpinnings.

Trickle-down technology
The car's cabin is also carbon-fibered out. The seats are fixed in the carbon fiber passenger cell, so to nail the perfect driving position, you have to either shorten or lengthen the distance of the adjustable steering wheel and pedals.

"The dash is a single piece of carbon fiber," said Ford Design Director Chris Svensson. "We're taking away material. The carbon is replacing the steel, and the bits that are wrapped in fabric are breakthrough airbags. It's lightweight to the extreme."

There's that word again: lightweight. And that's really what Ford's Silicon Valley technology demo was all about. This most American and old-school of car manufacturers wants to use the Ford GT as living, turbo-breathing demonstration of its forward-thinking tech chops, and plans to trickle down all the weight-saving tricks it developed for the supercar into vehicles normal people might actually buy.

ford gt exhausts
JON PHILLIPS/An extremely aggressive rear end. Surely, Ford expects this is the view that other drivers will be seeing on track days.

To this extent, the GT is a pure platform for innovation. With "small lot runs" like the GT, says Nair, "we can iterate the technologies on a faster basis than what we'd be able to do with a mainstream product." And, of course, lightweight cars consume less gas, and that helps Ford reach ever-more-stringent Federal standards, while also polishing up its green-tech karma points.


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