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Ford Motor Co. on Friday celebrated the beginning of production and delivery of the highly anticipated Ford GT supercar in Ontario, Canada.

The $450,000-plus car has garnered lots of attention since its introduction at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, including celebrities like Jay Leno and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.

“This is really a celebration more than anything; it’s a celebration for all the people that design and develope and are now building the Ford GT as a showcase for us as a company,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development, and chief technical officer. His comments came during an employee and media event Friday at the GT production facility in Markham, Ontario.

The company is not releasing a list of GT buyers. However, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and CEO and Chairman Mark Fields will be the first two to take delivery later this month.

The Dearborn automaker received about 6,500 online applications for the first 500 GTs that will be produced as 2017 and 2018 model-year cars.

The high demand caused the automaker to extend production through the 2020 model year. The first three model years are already sold out, while ordering for the fourth will open in early 2018. Production is capped at 250 cars per model-year.

Ford implemented a rigorous vetting process that included previous GT ownership, activity on social media and a legal document stating they won’t sell the vehicle for a certain amount of time to help prevent buyers from flipping them quickly for a profit.

The GT is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine. It’s the same engine that debuted in Ford’s Taurus SHO and is under the hood of the 2015 F-150 pickup. But the GT engine kicks it up several notches with custom pistons, rods, turbos and cams that help it get more than 600 horsepower. The supercar includes a number of lightweighting tricks, including a carbon-fiber tub and a gorilla-glass windshield that is 12 pounds lighter than a traditional windshield.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

Twitter: @MikeWayland

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