New Gt40 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Source Channel Four's 4Car web site .
"Yes, it looks uncannily similar to Ford's GT40, the four-times Le Mans winner of the late 60s. Yes, it carries the same name. But no, it's not 40 inches high - in fact, it's a whole eighteen inches longer and four inches taller. We guess GT44 wouldn't have quite the same sentimental connotations.
The 2002 GT40 is the latest of Ford's so-called Living Legends series of cars, which already includes the modern-day but 60s-look Thunderbird, the Mustang and the Forty-Nine concept. It has been "engineered from the beginning for production", which more than hints that it's as much of a commercial possibility as a showpiece. Originally conceived as an American Le Mans racer to take on Ferrari, this time around the GT40 again has a supercar-rivalling specification. Fitted with a six-speed gearbox and an all-aluminium 5.4-litre V8 producing 500 bhp and 500 lb ft torque, it is built on an aluminium spaceframe chassis which keeps its weight down to around 1200 kg - less than many modern superminis. Its panels are composite.
"The GT40 concept should do three things: go fast, handle exceptionally and look great", said Chris Theodore, Ford's Vice President of North America Product Development. "To be true to its Ford heritage, we had to create a supercar that would be uniquely a Ford. Anyone can do technology showpieces, high-displacement engines and modernistic designs, but there's much more to a GT40. There's heritage and heart. We think this car remains true to the spirit of its predecessors".
And speaking of heritage the Ford design team, headed by Camilo Pardo, a painter of classic GT40s, went through a process of immersing themselves in the culture of the original. They borrowed one off a collector to study in the studio - and lapped it around Ford's Dearborn proving ground - and also watched period car racing films every day; these included Grand Prix (John Frankenheimer, 1966) and presumably, Le Mans starring Steve McQueen (Lee H Katzkin, 1971). "Freeing ourselves from the fear of creating a car that looked too much like the original was a liberating experience for the team", said Pardo. In other words, they were told they needn't deviate too much from its look.
But if the new GT40 looks like a slightly scaled-up reworking, underneath its retro shell is the all-modern chassis. The sections of extruded aluminium and aluminium panels are built around a central 'backbone', for rigidity and light weight. It features all-round independent suspension with unequal-length control arms and longitudinally mounted spring-damper units, which allow for its low profile; the brakes are also state-of-the-art Alcon six-piston monoblock callipers with huge cross-drilled discs. However, the overall philosophy was to keep it simple, so the GT40 does not feature complex electronic driving aids.
"Like its namesake, the GT40 concept is not overwrought with advanced technologies", says Ford design supremo J Mays. "It is a no-frills machine. You won't find voice-activated telematics here - not even power windows - just pure, refined performance". Indeed, "strapped into the GT40 concept's driver seat with a five-point safety harness and reaching for the wheel, one gets an instant surge of adrenalin in appreciation for what it must have been like to barrel down the Mulsanne Straight at 200 mph". That cockpit - with two seats as a concession to road use - features leather-wrapped Recaro bucket seats, ventilated like those of the original. There are analogue gauges and toggle switches, of course, though you do get another concession to everyday driving (and modern demands): a CD player. Why you would want to listen to that, with a rumbling V8 engine mounted directly behind your head, is anyone's guess.
On the outside, besides the lovingly recreated swooping lines, there are alloy wheels (18-inch in front, 19-inch behind) shod with white-lettered Eagle Goodyear tyres. You can view the mid-mounted engine through the backlight, which reveals the V8 and its stainless steel pipes, fuel lines and anodised aluuminum fittings, supercharger and intercooler. "We could build a 200-mph supercar and fill it with a range of cutting-edge technologies, but it wouldn't be Ford GT40", says John Coletti, Chief of Ford's SVT (Special Vehicle Team) Engineering. "But rest assured: if this car meets an Italian exotic on a winding road or finds itself at a stoplight next to an American muscle car, it will have no trouble defending its honour".
With supercars a-plenty on the market - even Volkswagen has one on the way, the Nardi - Ford's contender will have its work cut out to defend that honour. Whilst there is undoubtedly an appetite for heritage, nostalgia and recapturing of a bygone 'golden age' of motoring, the GT40, if it is to go into production, will have to do a lot more than just look like a classic, albeit a stunning one."