Ultra-high-performance Ford GT will set off fireworks July 4

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Ford's performance division will try to leave behind a difficult month at Le Mans by setting off some fireworks July 4 at England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The automaker will unveil an “ultra-high-performance” version of the Ford GT production car alongside the Mustang Shelby GT500, the most powerful Ford ever produced. The annual Goodwood show is one of Europe’s premier automotive events.

The mid-engine GT’s sister race car was off the pace at the June 15-16 Le Mans 24-hour endurance race. It was the last factory-backed appearance at the famous track that made Ford GT an international household name. To add insult to injury, the best-placing GT in the GTE Pro class was disqualified for violating fuel tank regulations. Worse, the winning Ford in the GTE Am category – a private entry – was stripped of its crown for the same fuel breach.

No use crying over spilled fuel. So Ford is bringing out its big guns next Thursday to blow bad memories away.

Ford is teasing the new GT with a single photograph, but expect the latest evolution of the $700,000-plus halo car Ford has limited to a 1,350 production run. All GTs are hand-built by Multimatic in Canada.

Ending months of suspense after the GT500’s debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced this week that the mega-Mustang’s supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 will make a ground-shaking 760 horsepower – the most of any Detroit muscle car this side of the 840-horsepower Dodge Demon.

Ford announced this week its Mustang Shelby GT500 will make 760 horsepower - the most of any Ford production car. The GT500 will celebrate July 4 at England's Goodwwod Festival of Speed.

Both Fords are expected to make quick runs up Goodwood’s narrow, haybale-lined, 1.16-mile hill-climb course for the assembled multitudes.

The 760-horse Mustang GT500 eclipses by far the Snake’s last model in 2014. That generation boasted 662 horsepower. The 2020 car will mate all that power to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Ford promises customers won’t miss the traditional manual.

Significantly, the GT500’s power figure exceeds the 650-horse Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE – the track-focused, winged GT500’s chief rival.

The supercar halos will preside over a packed Goodwood paddock of Ford muscle. Other toys will include:

  • The all-new Focus ST – alas, for European eyes only, because the pocket rocket has been discontinued on this side of the pond.
  • Joey Logano’s 2018, championship-winning Team Penske Fusion NASCAR
  • Gymkhana TEN star Ken Block’s Hoonitruck and Escort RS Cosworth
  • A Euro-spec Ranger Raptor pickup which will show off its moves on an off-road course.

The No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT racer will also be on hand fresh from its sixth-place Le Mans finish. The car was one of four factory entries making one more bid to win the endurance race after taking the trophy in its maiden voyage in 2016. That win came 50 years after Ford  famously beat Ferrari in 1966, stunning the European racing world.

The #66 Ford GT race car is coming to the Goodwood Festival of Speed July 4. The GT had a disappointing run at Le Mans this year.

Ford was stunned at this year’s race when its No. 68 car was disqualified from fourth place.

Officially, Le Mans stewards found the race car’s total fuel volume was "in excess of the permitted limit." The maximum allowed is 97 liters, while post-race scrutiny found the GT a hair over the limit at 97.83 liters.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.