Ford of Britain boss Andy Barratt is “fighting very hard” to ensure a sizeable allocation of the highly anticipated Ford GT for the British market, although fewer than 20 cars could go on sale here through official import channels each year.
The concept version of the new halo car for the Ford Performance sub-brand visited Britain last week as part of a tour of Ford’s key global markets, and company chiefs reported a “huge” level of interest in the car, which is expected to cost around £240,000 in Britain.
Production of the GT will commence in Canada near the end of 2016. Although Ford hasn’t officially declared the number of examples it will build in total, the run will be restricted to 250 per year. Overall production numbers will be far fewer than the 2005 GT, of which around 4000 were produced between 2005-06.
“I’m fighting very hard for the allocation because when we produced the last GT, 101 came to Europe and only 28 officially came to the UK,” said Barratt, who started his new role as Ford of Britain’s chairman and managing director last month. “We haven’t declared the absolute run for this GT, but the numbers are going to be a lot lower than the 2005 car.
“Selfishly, seven per cent of Ford’s global sales are in the UK, so my argument is ‘can we have seven per cent [of the production run]?’. I want as many as I can because it is such an iconic car.”
If Barratt succeeds in securing seven per cent of the GT’s production run, it would suggest that 17-18 of the annual total of 250 cars would officially go on sale here. It's expected that the total run over the course of the car's production won't exceed 1000 units, meaning the supercar will remain a rare sight on UK roads.
The Ford GT will be sold in global markets, including Europe. Ford's group vice president and chief technical officer, Raj Nair said: "It will be made in a limited series, even more exclusive than the 2005 GT." Ford design boss Moray Callum also confirmed that availability would mean hundreds of units, rather than thousands.
The Ford GT concept was developed in secret at the company’s Dearborn HQ. Ford’s global project chief, Raj Nair, said: “We had meetings in evenings just to avoid being spotted.”
The GT’s tub and bodywork are made from carbonfibre, which design chief Moray Callum says gave the team “a new level of flexibility” in terms of what could be achieved. “This shape wouldn’t be possible in steel,” he added.
Even the wheel rims are carbonfibre, offering a weight saving of 40% compared with aluminium, according to Ford.
According to chief engineer Jamal Hameedi, who was also responsible for the previous-generation GT, the heavily tapered fuselage was inspired by Formula 1 and LMP1 cars. The GT is also the first Ford to feature active aerodynamics, with a three-stage rear wing that doubles as an airbrake.
The focus on aero efficiency has led to an exceptionally compact cabin. Carbonfibre seats are fixed and moulded into the base of the chassis.
To accommodate different drivers, the pedals will move fore and aft by up to 200mm. The concept, which Ford says has key advantages for crash performance and packaging, has led to a rethink of the control layout. All the main functions are grouped on the steering wheel, ahead of which is a digital display that will change appearance according to the driving mode. Callum said the choice of interior materials was inspired by the Space Shuttle.