April 2013: Ford GT Goes High-Speed Racing

While a Ford GT doesn’t work well for traditional quarter-mile drag racing, it’s a perfect candidate for Shift Sector Airstrip Attack events, like the one at Coalinga Airport in April of 2013. I drove my Ford GT up to this airstrip, about 100 miles northwest of Bakersfield, to try my luck at high-speed, straight-line racing.

2005 Ford GT MacLaren 12C Shift Sector

Two Ford GTs flank a McLaren 12C at Shift Sector

At these Shift Sector events you can race from either a dead stop, like traditional drag racers, or you and your opponent can roll casually up to 50 mph and then punch it up to between 150 and 200 mph. This type of racing offers several advantage for high-horsepower supercars. First, it removes the traction issue that many supercars struggle with when trying to apply full power from a standstill. Second, it really tests a car’s horsepower and/or aerodynamics rather than just it’s ability to put power down from zero-to-60.

Ford GT Shift Sector

Mine wasn’t the only Ford GT at this Shift Sector event

I’m not suggesting one type of racing is superior to the other. Honestly, traditional drag racing is much more applicable to the real situations than racing from 50 to 150 mph, which can (or at least should) only be done on a closed course like an airstrip.

Ford GT versus McLaren 12C

The race between my Ford GT and a McLaren 12C was a good one

Anyway, the Shift Sector was very illuminating. What I quickly discovered is that while my 700-horsepower Ford GT is plenty quick, there are plenty of quicker cars out there. I only went down the strip four times, but I only one once, beating a stock McLaren 12C (barely, as seen above). In each of the other races I lost to a highly modified Ford Mustang, Mazda RX-7 and Nissan GT-R. These guys clearly engineered their cars for this type of racing, making the minor mods to my Ford GT pale in comparison.

Ford GT Winning McLaren 12C

Actually, it was a REALLY good one.

But it was a great time, and one I would gladly participate in again. Maybe with the new Ford GT…