Ford GT Spy Photography? One of the first prototypes of the all-new 2005 Ford GT supercar was recently spotted during noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) testing on the Los Angeles "River" Basin concrete expanses commonly used for action scenes in Hollywood movies. The Ford GT has disappointed many spy photographers because the exterior form remains true to the original concept that was a hit on the show circuit. The first fiberglass prototype bodies were created from molds lifted directly from a clay model of the concept. As such, The Ford GT engineering team is testing prototypes without the heavy camouflage that can sometimes hinder testing, especially if loose fitting materials create excessive wind noise during NVH tests. The team will make subtle exterior changes in future prototypes and the first three Centennial production cars, including an integrated spoiler and bumper.
Traffic Stopper: Los Angeles drivers were some of the first to see a Ford GT testing in public early in 2002. Part of Ford's Los Angeles NVH testing routine is to repeatedly drive a pre-established public city route to collect data on interior noise levels. The recorded data is then used to help identify and resolve noise issues, and then compared to more refined prototypes later in development. Ford chief program engineer Neil Hannemann drew quite a bit of attention on the roads, even during this routine gas stop. Ford GT test drivers have even reported "chasers" that follow the car for long periods of times.
Burned Out? You might think the Ford GT team is celebrating the end of a long day by having a little fun. Actually, this burnout is part of an NVH test to determine how it impacts interior noise volumes. Ford GT development engineer Jamie Cullen is behind the wheel during this test, part of a battery of tests performed with early prototypes. The early cars use 4.6-liter 400-horsepower engines before prototypes of the final 500-horsepower 5.4-liter production motors are available. Engineers primarily test attributes like NVH, steering and braking with these cars since the engines don't significantly change results. "The Ford GT team is on such a short deadline that we can't even afford to do a burnout unless it's part of a test," said Neil Hannemann, Ford GT chief program engineer.
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