Second-Gen Ford GT Was Built Because Mustang Couldn’t Win Le Mans

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The latest Ford GT shouldn’t exist. If the automaker had had its way, it would have returned to 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016 with a Mustang.

Ford’s return to iconic race happened after it had launched the sixth-generation Mustang for the 2015 model year. This generation Mustang was a global product available in both left- and right-hand drive configurations, and the automaker began discussing the possibility of trying to win Le Mans with the Mustang in 2016, Ford CEO Jim Farley said during a recent interview with Top Gear magazine during the launch of the Mustang GTD. 

However, according to Farley, simulations showed that the automaker couldn’t win with the pony car. Its silhouette didn’t help its on-track performance. The Blue Oval had already hooked up with Multimatic for its Le Mans return, which would go on to assist Ford in creating and building the new GT. 

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Ford began producing the GT in 2017 after it had taken it racing. Between then and 2023, the Blue Oval produced 1,350 GTs, with the final 67 being the most extreme. Ford announced the 2023 GT Mk IV in December with more than 800 horsepower from its “unique twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine.” Ford built the majority of the GTs with its 660-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine.

Other changes for the final GT, which is the last of the track-only variants, included a longer wheelbase for improved handling, Multimatic’s Adaptive Spool Valve suspension, and better aero. The fact that Ford didn’t produce it for the road allowed designers to remove the side mirrors and simplify the headlights.

While the end of GT production signals an end for the car to race in Le Mans, Ford isn’t done with the race. The company introduced the Mustang GT3 in June, which builds off the Mustang Dark Horse variant. It will compete in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the automaker might get its wish of winning the race with its iconic pony car.

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The new Mustang GT3 is being built once again by Multimatic. The race car has flared fenders at all four corners, side-exit exhaust ahead of the rear wheels, and a swan-neck-mounted rear wing.

Under the hood, you won’t find the Dark Horse’s 500-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine. Instead, the racer has a 5.4-liter Coyote-based V8 with a carbon-fiber intake. Farley said in June of the GT3’s launch, “Going back to Le Mans is the beginning of building a global motorsports business with Mustang.”