The Blue Oval is betting big on its new Allen Park facility.
The arrival of the Ford GT and the Blue Oval’s triumphant return to Le Mans isn’t coming without some updates back home. The company is investing $200 million into a vehicle testing complex in Allen Park, Michigan near Detroit that will include a wind tunnel and climatic chamber in the pursuit of both performance and fuel economy.
The complex is expected to begin construction this spring, and will sit on 13 acres of land next to Ford’s Driveablity Test Facility. When completed in 2019, the new complex will include a wind tunnel for vehicle aerodynamic testing up to 200 miles per hour (321 kilometers per hour), as well as a rolling road simulation.
"This new wind tunnel facility will not only allow us to test our performance and racing vehicle lineup but will also enable us to share innovations across all our global Ford products," said Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak.
The test facility will be able to accommodate not only the GT supercar, but also larger vehicles like the Super Duty pickup. A climatic chamber, meanwhile, will be able to produce temperatures as low as minus-40 degrees fahrenheit and as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
"This investment in new world-class test facilities underpins Ford’s ongoing commitment to advance our capabilities to continue to provide our customers with high-quality vehicles," Raj Nair, Ford’s product chief and chief technical officer, said in a statement.
With the arrival of the Ranger and Bronco in coming months, the facility could not have come at a better time. Both the small pickup and SUV will be built at Ford's Michigan assembly plant, and will undoubtedly make use of the new facility.