What is it?
To all intents and purposes, it’s a genuine Ford GT40. Yes, it’s built new (in South Africa by the same people who make Noble’s chassis), but this is no ordinary replica.
Ninety percent of this car’s components are interchangeable with those of the original Ford race car; it’s technically called the GT40 (Mk I) “Continuation”; it’s officially licensed to use the GT40 name; it’s even eligible for the GT40 register, and the chassis numbers follow the same pattern. And it’s absolutely brilliant.
What’s it like?
At the risk of sounding obvious, it must be like driving a genuine Ford GT40. So it’s rather loud, for a start. In the back of this car is a Roush-tuned small-block Ford V8 tuned for 430bhp and 430lb ft of torque. All of which is good, considering the claimed weight is just 1090kg, which gives it a power-to-weight ratio a gnat’s shy of 400bhp per tonne.
We’ve timed this car and we know it’ll crack 60mph in less than four seconds (it would be quicker still if first wasn’t, authentically, out on a dog-leg) and, although we haven’t verified this, it will do the other side of 200mph. And this isn’t even the quickest one; you can get a 7.0-litre “mk II” with 120bhp extra horsepower. Gulp.
The power delivery from the Roush-tuned motor is fabulous. It’ll pull from idle if you want, but it sounds a bit tappety below 2000rpm, but from there, it’ll take full throttle and pull with magnificent, building linearity right through to 6500. And, if you’re doing it in second and you happen to have a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 at similarly full chat next to you, you’ll exactly match each other’s pace. This car is that fast.
It’s also beautifully finished. Well, so long as you’re expecting something finished like a race car from 40-something years ago. Panel gaps are not razor sharp like today’s cars, the doors leak and there’s the odd rattle here and there. But it feels solid, and every bit as authentic as the claims go.
The seats are soft, velour-esque and have metal hoops sewn in; the driving position is spot on – low, reclined (those doors slice in scarily, so mind your head); the steering wheel is big, unadjustable (though removable) and bears the magic GT40 logo; and the pedals are heavy. In fact the brakes, excellent as they are and adustable for front-rear bias, are unassisted, so you really have to stand on them to get results. This GT40’s gearshift requires a hefty touch, too, while visibility is not, as they say, ‘all that’.
So this isn’t an easy car to drive by any modern standards, but it rides better than you’d expect (the authentic tyres, on knock-off alloys, have high sidewalls) and, once you get some temperature into the mechanicals, it starts to flow from corner to corner rather more easily than you’d think too. The turning circle is never handy, and the unassisted steering is always heavy at town speeds, but low speeds aren’t the GT40’s forte. The original was built to go fast and, it follows, so was this one.
And it’s when you up the pace a bit that you really get the best out of the Superformance GT40. Its gearshift becomes much easier when you’ve a few revs wound on, the clutch is better if you’re just using it to flash through the gears and the throttle’s initial stiction becomes irrelevant if you’re using at least 50 percent of it.