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.
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
The trip from South Orange County to Utah Motorsports Campus is about 700 miles. I left early in the morning in my 2005 Ford GT to avoid Los Angeles traffic. The drive north on Interstate 15 was pretty straightforward through California, Nevada, a little corner of Arizona and halfway through Utah. Then the skies darkened and tiny snow flurries began during my fill up in Beaver, Utah. As a native of Golden, Colorado I’m quite aware of Springtime in the Rockies and what it means in terms of unpredictable weather. Even in late April anything can happen.
About an hour north of Beaver I heard a light tap-tapping on the Ford GT’s roof and windshield. I didn’t want to believe it was hail, but within 30 seconds the light tapping had become a loud rumble as the highway turned white outside my windshield. I could see the hail bouncing off the windshield, and it was only about the size of caviar. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t damage the car’s body or paint, but with no bridge in sight all I could do was hope it didn’t get worse. I also got very focused on making smooth, slow control inputs to the steering wheel, brake and accelerator.
The hail only lasted about 2 minutes, dissipating as quickly as it began. I continued on to Salt Lake City without incident and was happy to finally check into Ford’s host hotel before the sun set. The next day I washed the road grime off the Ford GT and was thrilled to see its unblemished Midnight Blue paint sparkling in the Utah sunlight. I also met Doug DeMuro the next day so we could shoot my Ford GT (which is now his Ford GT) as part of a comparison between the 2005 Ford GT and the new Ford GT being introduced. I’ll talk more about the event in tomorrow’s post.