Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Forza Motorsport 6: The new Ford GT

I think this is the perfect time to get to know about the cover car of Forza Motorsport 6, the all-new, 2017 Ford GT, a second take of a modern equivalent of the legendary Ford GT40 racing machine that reign Le Mans in the 60's.

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But first, before explaining what's all about the new Ford GT, there is a history lesson about the genesis of the GT40. You see, when Ford decided to buy Italian sports car maker Ferrari in the 60's, Ferrari rejected the offer and with Ford became very angry, the folks decided to hit Ferrari where it badly hurts, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That's where the GT40 was born, with chassis derived from Lola, V8 improved by the legendary Carroll Shelby, and impressive performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 60's, no wonder this American racing legend gave Ferrari a heavy blow in the field of motorsports.

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In 2005, the legendary GT40 racing machine was resurrected as the Ford GT, this time as a bonafide supercar packed with classic looks and modern technology all in one piece. It has a supercharged 5.4L V8 engine that can go 0 to 60 in under three seconds and top speed of 212 mph (341 km/h). It comes with a Ricardo six-speed manual transmission featuring a helical limited-slip differential.

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It's been ten long years since Ford revived the GT40 in the form of the Ford GT supercar targeted against the best European supercars on the market and with the newest incarnation of the legendary Ford GT supercar, this may have done much that. This new Ford GT became the pinnacle of Ford Performance vehicles when it was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, drawing much attention from the crowd. Because the motoring industry ushered in the age of miniaturization of their engines, the new Ford GT never escaped its trend of downsizing so instead of the old Ford GT's supercharged 5.4L V8 engine, it comes with the race-inspired EcoBoost 3.5L V6 Twin Turbo engine which produces over 600 horsepower of power while mated with a 7-speed automatic gearbox.

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The new GT's bodywork is all carbon-fiber and hand-laid from a certain supplier, although the in-house low-cost carbon-fiber development program is provided by Dow Chemical but they're little to do with it. Because of its carbon-fiber bodywork, Ford expects the new GT to have the best power-to-weight ratio, not in class, but of any car on the market. Although Ford hasn't provided the weight of the new GT, the predicted kerb weight of 2,890lbs is proof that this car is very light and because of its predicted 630HP from its 3.5L V6 Twin Turbo engine the hp to lbs curb weight ratio is expected to be...0.22:1...well, at theory at least.

Aerodynamics play a key role on the new GT. First, the active rear spoiler can both rise vertically and lift while its horizontal surface angling upward to gain more downforce and drag if necessary. Then, its active suspension can be risen or lowered at the touch of a button. That proves to be useful on corners or facing against nightmarish speed humps. And then, the way it manages the air. Those flying buttresses linking the roof to each rear fender are curved in section, creating downforce and directing air flowing around the car to the rear wing. It also works as intake tubes because each hollow panel houses piping that flow from an air-to-air intercooler ahead of each rear wheel. Intake air is scooped up, compressed in each turbocharger, and fired through the intercoolers before getting through the winglets and down into the engines. After passing through the intercoolers, the heated air slips through each rear well to the rear, where it escapes through the center of the...and we're not kidding here...rear taillamps. Very unique aerodynamics, I dare say?

Although the 3.5L V6 Twin Turbo is proven to be more powerful than the old GT's V8 produces, Ford says that 0-60 times and top speeds aren't their priority one. Instead, priority one goes to lapping fast times on track days and it promises to be better at dynamics rather than acceleration.

To prove that this new GT is all about business on the track, let's use the Top Gear Test Track as the base of experimentation and let's compare the old GT and the new GT on a one-lap time attack round the track.



So, the old Ford GT managed to lap round the Top Gear Track in 1:21.954 while the new Ford GT did it in...and I'm very amazed by this one, 1:17.071. That's about four seconds quicker than the old one after I conducted these tests.

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It's been an honor to try out Ford's upcoming GT supercar before it reaches dealerships next year in a very limited availability and I am very happy to be part of the Forza Motorsport 6 experience because what would FM6 be without the new GT? Of course, this is the game's cover car after all so it's best to treat it with the respect this modern-day legend truly deserves.

OUTTAKES:

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To mark this occasion, I have created a little party piece on FM6. It's a 2017 Ford GT featuring the 765PRO ALL-STARS from The IDOLM@STER franchise. Yes. I said it too much but both of the games have celebrated their 10th anniversary earlier so what no better time than to handcraft a special Ford GT design for the idol girl-loving petrolheads.

Normally, I shouldn't include Miki Hoshii, Yayoi Takatsuki, and Ritsuko Akizuki because...well, they didn't show up on the big IM@S 10th anniversary concert last summer but as the saying goes "So long as there's mercy. Always mercy", I decided to put them anyway. It would be a shame put these three excluded idol girls into waste. As an added bonus, I decided to put the assistant Kotori into my handcrafted design as well. You'll thank me.

*Pabebe Wave

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