WR TV: Ford Performance Takes Center Stage in Detroit
By Bradley Iger
January 12, 2015
On the opening day of the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Ford’s performance division made a strong showing, revealing not only a new-generation F150 Raptor and the Mustang GT350R, a harder-edged version of an already track-focused version of the new pony car, but an all-new Ford GT supercar as well, which brought with it a number of surprises.
Due in the fall of 2016, the new Raptor will ditch the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 found under the hood of the outgoing model and replace it with a 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which Ford promises will deliver more performance and improved efficiency than the V8, which output 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. The new Raptor will also receive a 10-speed automatic transmission with gear ratios that are said to be appropriate for low speed, high-torque uses as well as high speed trail blasts. Larger Fox Racing shocks with increased travel, along with an all-new terrain management system should also help to make the new Raptor an even more capable off-roader than the truck it replaces.
Next up in the reveal roster was the Mustang GT350R. A clear response to Chevrolet’s Camaro Z/28, the GT350R puts the track-focused GT350 on a 130 pound diet by way of deleting the rear seat, air conditioning, stereo and other non-essential items, along with the use of carbon fiber wheels which remove 13 pounds of unsprung weight from each corner. Bolstered aero bits include a large rear wing and rear diffuser and a unique hood vent which extracts heat and also reduces lift. The GT350R keeps the 5.2-liter V8 from the standard GT350, with an output said to be over 500 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
Ford saved the best for last with the reveal of the all-new mid-engined GT supercar. Featuring a carbon monocoque with structural carbon-fiber body panels with aluminum sub-frames front and back, the new GT features a much more modern approach than the retro-inspired design of the first GT. To further that notion, the new GT tosses the supercharged V8 and will instead get motivation from a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with output said to be “over 600 horsepower” which will be mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Other modern touches include an active rear wing and a completely digital instrument cluster. The new GT will enter production next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GT40's famous 1-2-3 finish at the 1966 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Have a look at some of the highlights from the presentation, as well as a closer look around the trio of new cars in the video below:
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