What Superhero Should Drive a Ford GT? Captain America!

Ford GT Captain America
Does any car better fit Captain America’s mojo better than a Ford GT?

As a Halloween “treat” I’m willing to post an image I normally wouldn’t share widely. But this shot turned out really well, mostly because the Ford GT diverts attention from me, so here you go.

When I dressed as Captain America for Halloween a couple years ago I had no plan to drive the Ford GT. In fact, I was going to drive the used 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S I owned at the time. Then it occurred to me: “Captain American in a Porsche 911, while a Ford GT sits in the garage?!” I quickly broke out GT and captured this shot before hopping in the American supercar.

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Ford GT: A Comparison of Three Generations

Ford GT Generations Lookout Comparison Test
Bringing together three generations of Ford GT is a rare opportunity

In May of 2017 Kelley Blue Book performed a comparison of the three generations of Ford GT, meaning the original Ford GT40, the second-generation 2005-2006 Ford GT, and the new Ford GT. I arranged the comparison test using the black-and-orange West Coast Ford GT press car, plus my 2005 Midnight Blue Ford GT and a Gulf livery Superformance Ford GT40 from their local offices here in Irvine, California.

This wasn’t the most original idea — it’s been done a couple times by other publications — but just because something has been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done again, and better.

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Ford Will Produce More Ford GTs — But How Many is Too Many?

New Ford GT Red Silver Detroit 2017
Ford just announced an increase in Ford GT production

This would normally be a Flashback Friday post but Ford recently made a big Ford GT announcement that deserves immediate coverage. Check back next Friday for another trip down memory lane of Karl’s Past Cars. For today, let’s talk about new Ford GT production numbers.

2017 Ford GT Production
2017 Ford GT production began on December 16, 2016

When Ford first announced production of the new Ford GT it was set at 500 units produced over 2 years (logically figuring 250 produced each year). Then the automaker was flooded with 6,500 applications in April of 2016, quickly leading Ford to commit to 4 years of production and a total of 1,000 units. The first 750 units were immediately allocated, leaving 250 available for a final round of application and review.

Ford GT Being Built at Multimatic in Canada
MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 16, 2016–Raj Nair, Ford executive VP, global product development and chief technical officer, drove the Ford GT supercar off the line to help celebrate the event along with employees and guests. The all-new Ford GT is entering the final phase of development and production has begun. One of the first Ford GTs is being driven off the line at the Multimatic assembly location with the first behind the scenes look at the assembly line for all-new Ford GT. The Ford GT is the culmination of years of Ford innovation in aerodynamics, lightweight carbon fiber construction and ultra-efficient EcoBoost engines. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen

Yesterday Ford decided to increase new Ford GT production to 1,350 total units, extending production through 2022. For years I had heard rumors that total production could go as high as 1,250, so the new number didn’t really surprise me. What did surprise me was the length of production — 6 years. 

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Ford GT Owners Rally 12: Old and New Ford GTs, Plus a Mustang Shelby GT350R

Ford GT Owners Rally 12
A collection of over 80 Ford GTs attended Owners Rally 12

In August of 2017 another gathering of Ford GTs and Ford GT owners came together in Park City, Utah. While this was the 12th Ford GT Owners Rally, it was the first to feature new Ford GTs alongside 2005 and 2006 models. I had every intention of driving my 2005 Ford GT to this rally. After all, it was the same road trip I’d made in my GT just 4 months earlier to attend the new Ford GT press launch.

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Grille
A Mustang Shelby GT350R is the perfect alternative to a Ford GT at this rally

Sadly, after planning to drive the GT my schedule shifted and I couldn’t afford the 2 extra days to make the trip up and back. I quickly purchased airplane tickets and wondered what kind of rental car I’d be stuck in while following GTs through the mountains of Utah. Then I had an idea. What if I contacted Ford and asked for one of the new Shelby GT350Rs? I hadn’t driven one yet, and I’d be showcasing the Shelby to a highly-targeted demographic of likely customers.

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New Ford GT: Race Car for the Street Status Confirmed

New Ford GT 2005 Ford GT Utah Karl Brauer
Having both generations of Ford GT to experience during the press launch provided great perspective

When the new Ford GT press launch was over I had almost everything I needed to understand the GT’s capabilities and purpose. I say “almost” because there was an additional dimension to the GT’s engineering brilliance I had yet to explore, but I didn’t know this at the time…

Sure, I’d driven it on the street pretty aggressively, and I’d driven it on the track even more aggressively. But it was my first experience in Ford’s half-million dollar supercar on a track I’d never driven. To say I left plenty of reserve in my approach as I piloted the new Ford GT in both locations is an understatement.

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Ford Race Driver Billy Johnson Drives My 2005 Ford GT

2005 Ford GT Billy Johnson Karl
Ford race driver Billy Johnson drove my 2005 Ford GT during the new Ford GT press launch

One unexpected occurrence during the new Ford GT press launch was having Ford factory race driver, and lead Ford GT development driver, Billy Johnson drive my 2005 Ford GT. Billy had never driven a 2005 or 2006 Ford GT before the event, and when I heard that I was anxious to have him drive mine. The second-generation Ford GT remains one of the best-driving cars of all time, and I wanted Billy Johnson to experience it.

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Driving the New Ford GT at the Press Launch

New Ford GT Red and Silver Press Launch
Driving the new Ford GT on the track confirmed its rumored capabilities…

After arriving at Utah Motorsports Campus in my 2005 Ford GT, and shooting some photos of it with a new Frozen White Ford GT, it was time to drive. The morning weather was still being typical Springtime in the Rockies, which meant bright sunlight one minute and overcast skies with light snow flurries the next. Both generations of Ford GT liked the cool temperatures, but it made things a bit nerve-wracking when driving the cars on the track.

The weather during the afternoon street drive was mercifully sunny and stable. The deserted roads east of Tooele provided the perfect driving conditions to explore our Liquid Red Ford GT press car. The GT lived up to its billing as a lightweight, barely-street-legal race car. The most compelling aspect was the immediate throttle response provided by the pre-boosted 3.5-liter V6 when placing the GT in “Sport” mode. Feedback through the Ford GT’s steering wheel and seat-of-pants was also pretty amazing, providing a level of confidence few cars offer at any price.

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Finally, I Get to Drive the New Ford GT

New Ford GT Press Launch Karl Brauer First Drive
My first time driving the new Ford GT left quite an impression

After driving 700 miles to Salt Lake city (through rain, snow flurries and hail) in my 2005 Ford GT I checked into my hotel and went to bed. The next day I hit the car wash before meeting Doug DeMuro and shooting a video of my car. This was part of a 2005 Ford GT versus 2017 Ford GT comparison Doug was creating for his YouTube channel. After spending a few hours shooting with Doug we traveled to the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah for the new Ford GT’s press launch opening dinner. A few feet from our table an original GT40 was parked next to a new Ford GT, setting the stage for a celebration of Ford’s multi-generational supercar.

New Ford GT Competition GT40
An original Ford GT40 sat next to a new Ford GT Competition Series during dinner

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Old Ford GT Crashes New Ford GT Intro

2005 Ford GT versus New Ford GT
Driving my 2005 Ford GT to the new Ford GT press launch was a unique opportunity

In late April 2017 the much-anticipated new Ford GT was finally going to be available for automotive journalists to drive at its global press launch. Up until that point the only experience most folks, even industry insiders, had with the new Ford GT involved staring at it behind roped off sections of Ford’s auto show displays. I was fortunate enough to actually sit in the new GT at the 2017 Detroit Auto a few months earlier, but that was only for a few glorious, stationary minutes.

2005 Ford GT Utah State Line
The first half of my drive to the Ford GT press launch was trouble free

When I received notice of the new Ford GT press launch at Utah Motorsports Campus, about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City, I immediately knew how I was getting to the event. As I’ve stated many times, the 2005-2006 Ford GT is one of the best long-distance supercars ever created. It’s quick, it’s comfortable, and its easy going nature places almost no physical demands on the driver. It will even clear 24-plus mpg if you keep it in sixth gear, as 2,000 rpm translates to 80 mph. Plus I was pretty sure I’d be the only journalist showing up to the new Ford GT press launch in his own Ford GT

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Ford GT Owners Rally 11 in Austin, Texas

Ford GT Owners Rally 11 Yellow New Ford GT
The Ford Performance booth housed a Triple Yellow new Ford GT

In September 2016 the Ford GT Forum hosted the 11th annual Ford GT Owners Rally in Austin, Texas. Austin is one of my favorite towns, so having a really good excuse to go there was fine with me. Austin is also home to one of America’s better track facilities, the Circuit of the Americas (also known as COTA), which made it a great excuse to bring my car.

Ford GT Owners Rally 11 COTA Entry
Over 70 Ford GTs lined up to enter COTA for a parade lap during Owners Rally 11

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