The Ford GT has been on an absolute tear. It was the talk of the Detroit auto show when it was first unveiled in 2015. Later that year, Ford announced that the car would bring the automaker back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans to shoot for a repeat of the historic 1-2-3 victory in 1966.
Ford did triumph at Le Mans, taking first and third place in the GT’s class (rival Ferrari took second). The company saw so much demand for the $ 400,000, 600-horsepower roadgoing GT that it extended production for an additional two years, beyond the planned-for 500 examples.
In creating the GT, designer Moray Callum and his team pulled out all the stops, crafting a ferociously stylish machine that’s distinguished by its evocation of the Ford GT40s of the 196os and defined by a pair of butressing wings that aid in the kind of aerodynamic downforce that a high-performance racer car requires.
Callum’s team worked in secret, in a modest, tucked-away corner of Ford’s facilities in Michigan. Almost no one knew anything about the GT prior to its jaw-dropping Detroit auto show debut. But Ford did make a video about the studio, prior to the GT’s Le Mans assault.
Check it out:
Just for reference, here’s the legendary GT40 of the 1960s.
And here’s the new GT, at the 2015 Detroit auto show.
Now let’s enter Ford’s skunkworks studio, where the car was created. We gradually enter a somewhat gloomy, very cluttered space. This is where supercars are born?
This guy is perfecting the GT’s steering wheel. Car designers are some of last of the great users of modeling clay on Planet Earth. Note the numerous designs attached to the display board.
We get some big, inspiring color images of the car as we turn a corner.
Why, what’s that?
It’s the pre-production version of the Ford GT, surrounded by designers. They’re scrutinizing every gorgeous inch of the car, getting it ready to actually build next year.
This group is trying to figure something out about the the rear end.
Man, is it ever crowded in here! The full-size clay mock-ups, covered with stickers, are crammed in. There’s 3 of them!
More dramatic images. Plus, some empty boxes. The secret underground GT lab is apparently so secret that no one is allowed to clean up. But clutter stokes the imagination!
Car designers LOVE to be surrounded by visual treatments and studies of what parts of a vehicle could look like.
Here’s a corridor filled with top-secret junk.
We’re not kidding. This is no fancy design atelier — this is where car designers get down to business.
Turn another corner and we start to see …
… another full-size clay model. Artists will spend days refining the shape of a car, treating it more like an exquisite piece of sculpture than a mere automobile.
Check out that incredible buttress. It’s a signature feature of the GT.
And we’re back where we started, with the steering wheel guy.
Headed out. Hmmm …. Wonder what’s under that blue tarp? Guess Ford isn’t ready to reveal all its secrets.
It blew everyone away in Detroit.
And then Ford upped the ante by announcing a racing version that would take in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.