There is a modern day trend among supercar makers for track-only versions of their wildest creations. After the success of the Ford GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, it’s no surprise that Ford and Multimatic have produced what is the ultimate American track car.
The Ford GT Mk II gets its name from the 1966 Le Mans-winning GT40, where the Ford achieved its goal of besting Ferrari, finishing 1-2-3 at the checkered flag. Unlike the sixties, however, where private owners could easily operate and maintain professional racing cars, today’s racing environment is technologically sophisticated and racing cars are compromised by the rulebooks. Whether it’s power restrictions, additional weight, or aerodynamics, racing rules often make the racing versions of road cars slower than those bought by customers.
Like all gearheads, the Ford GT team imagined how far their supercar’s performance envelope could be maximized. Before rolling out the GT Mk II to a gathering of media in Dearborn, Michigan, Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer, mused, “An engineer’s dream is to ask what if you were able to remove all of those constraints, how might you really showcase the ultimate capability of the product? And that’s essentially what we’ve done with this product. It’s the ultimate expression of performance for the Ford GT. It combines all of the learnings that we’ve had from our motorsports program, with Larry Holt and the Multimatic team, without any of the restrictions of balance performance. So it really allows us to optimize every element of the vehicle.”
Larry Holt, Multimatic’s Chief Technical Officer, told Wheels.ca, “Despite the fact we did a racing car version of the GT, anybody that’s got any knowledge of the balance of performance process in motorsport, knows that the car that we’re racing is not the full capability of the car. I’ll give you one example. The road car has 650 horsepower. Our present BoP power is about 495. So, you think, ‘Oh, the GTE racecar’s a higher performance version of the road car.’ That’s not the case.”
With the GT Mk II, that’s definitely not the case. The 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 is tuned for a reliable 700 horsepower, fifty more than the road car, and two hundred-and-five more than the Le Mans-winning racer.
Every component and system of the Mk II has been considered in order to deliver one of the most driver-friendly track day supercars available today. It looks the business, plus it has the performance and easy drivability to dominate every track day, anywhere on the planet. The net result is a track day car that is quicker around some circuits than Ford’s own GT racecar.
As Holt puts it, “We’ve got significantly more downforce on the car than the GTE racecar. 400 pounds more. It’s about four times the road car’s aero down force. We’ve got 700 horsepower. We’ve got charge air coolers that allow it to be at that power all day long. It’s got cooling that if you wanted to track day this thing all day long, if you had the stamina, you could.”
One of the car’s most distinguishing design features is the rooftop scoop and it has a massive cool factor, pun intended. For the Mk II, it feeds coolers for the engine, clutches, and transmission. To maintain its power output during high temperature operation, there is a water spray system for the charge air coolers and, according to Holt, this GT will never produce less than 700 horsepower, no matter how hot it gets.
For the Mk II, the GT’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission is carried over, but with a completely different calibration and, when it’s running on track, it sounds just like the racecar, perhaps even a little better. It cracks off shifts nearly as quickly as the racer, despite the GTE car using a race-bred gearbox.
According to Ford, the Mk II weighs over 200 pounds less than the GT road car, rolling over the scales at a remarkable 3,064 pounds. In contrast, the latest Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 weights in at over 3,500 pounds.
The aerodynamic package of the Mk II gives it the purposeful appearance of a racecar and it’s entirely functional. At the nose, there is a massive splitter and large dive planes for downforce, and front fender louvers that relieve air pressure in the wheel wells for significantly less lift at speed.
Underneath the Mk II, there is a modified version of the GTE racecar’s rear diffuser and the only change in shape is a bulge to accommodate the Mk II’s gearbox, which is slightly larger than that of the racecar. According to Holt, that small blister gives up to 7 or 8% in downforce, but the Mk II’s dual element rear wing is much more effective than that of the racer to compensate. In all, the Mk II’s aerodynamic centre of pressure is within a quarter percent of the road car’s, according to Holt, maintaining the GT’s driver-friendly character.
Brakes are carbon ceramics by Brembo, for less unsprung weight, durability, and performance and the Mk II rolls on 19-inch Michelin slicks on unique forged wheels. These changes required that the ABS system be recalibrated for high-grip, on-track performance.
The heart of the Mk II’s suspension is a set of Multimatic’s legendary DSSV spool valve dampers. Where most automotive shocks use a stack of shims to control the flow of fluid through the shock, Multimatic adapted spool valves, commonly used in aerospace, for their predictability. Successful racing teams use Multimatic’s DSSV dampers, from their GTE-spec Ford GTs all the way to Formula 1.
In the Mk II, the dampers are five-way adjustable and are designed to be tuned for each circuit by the driver. The range of adjustment is less than half that of a professional racing damper, simply to avoid the end user getting lost in settings while configuring the suspension on their own.
The cockpit of the Mk II starts with a pair of bespoke, FIA-rated Sparco racing seats and six-point harnesses. The driver faces a modified version of the roadgoing GT’s steering wheel and includes a racing-style quick release for easy ingress and egress through the roll cage.
As you’d expect in a modern track car, there is a MoTeC racing data acquisition system with a built in rear view camera, which is useful since the air intake obscures the view out the rear. Still, given the Mk II’s performance, most drivers will never need to see what’s behind them on track.
For driver safety, there is a race-spec fire suppression system, and should an owner desire, they can add an optional air conditioning unit. The Mk II can be finished in nearly any colour or livery you can imagine.
All of this track day dominating performance comes at a price. It starts at $1.2 Million American dollars (around $1.6 Million Canadian at current rates) and Ford and Multimatic are producing just fifteen per year over the remaining three years of GT production. The Mk II’s production numbers are not incremental to the total GT planned production of 1,350 units, making this the most rare, modern Ford GT.
The GT Mk II is sold exclusively and directly by Multimatic, and with their background in motor racing, they’re fully equipped to support Mk II owners and their track day driving requirements.
Interviews in this story have been condensed and edited for clarity.