The F-35 has missiles and guns, so it still wins the day.
We know the Ford GT is fast. That sort of thing happens when you put 647 horsepower into a car weighing just over 3,000 pounds, which is why it can accelerate like a UFO to a top speed of 216 miles per hour. If you were to stage the Ford next to Lockheed Martin’s new F-35A Lightning II on a runway and wave a green flag, the $500,000 car would leave the $100 million fighter for dead – at least until the jet was airborne.
It’s easy to make something go fast in a straight line, but we also know the Ford GT can turn corners. It claimed first, third, and fourth positions at Le Mans in 2016, and that’s doesn’t happen without some serious lateral ability. We know the GT’s shape helps it stick to the pavement, but beneath the bodywork is a network of sensors, wiring, and computers that Ford says offers up more computing power than the aforementioned F-35.
To make that live for you, the automaker offered up some statistics on just how much thinking and analyzing the GT does. More than 50 different sensors communicate with no less than 25 computing systems, processing 300 MB of data each second, which is roughly the equivalent of downloading an hour-long television show. A total of 100 GB (or 100,000 MB) of data is generated each hour using 10 million lines of software code.
Does that mean the Ford GT does all the hard work for the driver? To some extent, yes. The computers do monitor and adjust the car’s stability control system based on the settings selected by the driver, as most modern cars do. But the systems also regularly adjust engine, suspension, and aerodynamic parameters to deliver peak performance at all times, which some might argue makes the driver’s job a bit harder.
It all sounds fabulous, but with Ford only building 1,000 cars over four years, we suspect most GTs will be kept from the public eye in private collections, never realizing their full potential on a track. Perhaps Ford will satiate us mere mortals by sending a few factory cars out on the airshow circuit, so we can really see how it stacks up against the F-35.
2017 Ford GT: First Drive
FORD GT DELIVERS ULTIMATE RACE CAR FOR THE ROAD SUPPORTED BY 50 SENSORS, 25 COMPUTERS… AND 2 CUP HOLDERS
- All-new Ford GT delivers race car experience on the road supported by more than 50 sensors generating 100 GB of data – equivalent to about 25,000 song downloads – per hour
- More than 25 Ford GT computing systems with more software code than a fighter jet process 300 MB of data – comparable to downloading an hour-long TV show – per second
- Ford GT also delivers comfort and convenience using features familiar to all Ford drivers, from cup holders to SYNC 3 connectivity and Ford Easy Fuel
BRENTWOOD, Essex, July 19, 2017 – The all-new Ford GT uses more than 50 different sensors to monitor vehicle performance and behaviour, external environment, and driver inputs for an optimised driving experience.
The ultra-high-performance Ford GT’s sensors provide real-time information on factors from the positions of pedals, steering wheel and deployable rear wing, to air humidity and sunshine levels, delivering the thrill of a Le Mans-winning race car.
Data is generated at a rate of 100GB per hour – equivalent to about 25,000 song downloads –and is processed by more than 25 onboard computing systems comprising 10 million lines of software code – more than a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.*
Between them, the systems can analyse 300MB of data – comparable to downloading an hour-long TV show – every second.
“The Ford GT’s sophisticated computing systems work hand-in-hand with the vehicle’s core race car architecture to enhance performance, and also deliver greater versatility and flexibility,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “By constantly monitoring inputs, vehicle loads and environment, and adjusting the car’s profile and responses to suit, the Ford GT remains as responsive and stable at 180mph as it is at 18mph.”
Many of the Ford GT’s sensor and computing systems enable the performance of the supercar’s engine, electronic stability control, F1-derived active suspension damping, and active aerodynamics to be continuously adjusted within the parameters of the selectable Drive Modes, for optimal performance in any driving scenario.
Others help deliver comfort and convenience whether on road or track, including Ford’s SYNC 3 communications technology and automatic climate control.
Further innovative solutions to deliver a race car experience and 216mph top speed for Ford GT drivers include the fixed seating position. The driver’s seat base is secured in the location that enabled Ford Performance engineers to develop a carbon fibre body with the lowest possible frontal area for optimised aerodynamic performance.
Rather than moving the seat fore and aft, drivers instead adjust the pedal assembly position and the multi-control steering wheel to suit the seat location.
Yet despite the focus on delivering a race car experience for just 1,000 customers across four years of confirmed production, the Ford GT also features creature comforts from Ford family cars.
Retractable cup holders are among the convenience features that distinguish the Ford GT road car from the race car. Made from aluminium for reduced weight, the cup holders are concealed within the centre console. A hidden storage bin is located under the driver’s seat, with further storage pockets behind the seats.
The Ford GT also features the Ford Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system that is standard on models across the Ford range. The system is designed for ease of refuelling and to prevent misfuelling of the 647 horsepower** 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine.
“We developed the Ford GT road car and race car side-by-side, and that led to some creative engineering, such as the road car’s fully integrated roll cage that also meets FIA racing safety requirements using only a small number of add-on components,” Pericak said. “From the turbochargers to the cup holders, every component of the Ford GT has been developed with the driving experience at its core.”