Ford GT application process to favor previous owners

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Daytona Beach, Florida — Justin Verlander keeps calling about it. Jay Leno and other celebrities keep asking, too. Some would-be owners have even handed Ford Motor Co. executives blank checks and told them to write in a number.

Brian Stormer, 55, stands with his 2006 Ford GT outside the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. He hopes to be among first 250 owners of the new GT.

But everyone who wants one of Ford’s new GT supercars has been told the same thing: apply online.

The Dearborn automaker will implement a rigorous vetting process for the 250 GTs that will be available at the end of this year. Executives say the online applications, which will go live sometime in February, are meant to reward longtime Ford customers and ensure the cars will be used on the road — and not kept in a museum or marked up and re-sold to the highest bidder.

“There’s a loyal following to the car,” Raj Nair, Ford’s product chief, said in an interview. “We want to prioritize people who are going to care about the car, keep the car and drive the car.”

Applicants will have to sign a legal document saying they won’t sell the vehicle for a certain amount of time to help prevent buyers from flipping them quickly for a profit. The application will be lengthy and ask a number of questions, like how many Ford vehicles a person has previously owned, how active they are on social media, and how often they plan to drive it.

“It will try to understand what your relationship with Ford is,” Nair said.

Executives haven’t said for how long they’ll produce the supercars, but it’s expected that demand will be so high that, many who want one won’t be able to get one.

Brian Stormer, a 55-years-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is confident he’ll be among the first 250 to get a new GT.

Ford invited dozens of GT owners to display their supercars outside the Daytona International Speedway.

Stormer owns two 2006 GTs, a grey one with a light racing stripe, and a red one that serves as a backup in case his other is damaged. He works on the cars himself and has taken them to tracks around the world, including Miami, New Orleans and Virginia.

Stormer said he was happy when he found out Ford would give priority to previous owners.

“There’s a lot of faithful Ford owners and they deserve these cars,” he said. “I don’t care if some guy has $20 million, I’d rather it go to a guy who’s going to enjoy it.”

Stormer grew up in Iowa and remembers playing with a red GT slot car toy in his basement. After owning his own pet pharmaceutical company and doing well for himself, he said the GT appealed to him because it was American-made.

He was thrilled when Ford unveiled the new GT at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, so much so that after the reveal he booked plane tickets from Florida to Detroit to visit the supercar in person. He came to Dearborn last summer for a GT owners rally, and is active on online owners forums.

He was in Daytona with dozens of other GT owners who were invited to the Rolex 24 by Ford, and had their GTs on display outside the Daytona International Speedway in a special Ford car corral.

“Ford GT owners are some really special people,” he said. “It’s like a brotherhood.”

He said his first destination if he were to get a new GT, much like his ‘06 one, would be the race track.

“That’s the first place I’m going to go,” he said. “I’m going to drive it and enjoy it.”

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