The new Ford GT supercar is not just a lightweight, high-horsepower track car, but a new halo car for the brand that employs a combination of complex software and sensor set integration that showcases future technology that will trickle down to future mainstream production models.
Speaking with the media at today’s Ford GT innovation forum in Detroit, Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi revealed the new Ford GT is a vastly different car than its 2005 predecessor.
While ABS was one of the most high-tech systems of the 2005 Ford GT, the new GT employees over 50 different sensors (15 sensor sets) and 28 microprocessors. There are six communication area networks which, via 3000 different signals, generate a staggering 300MB of data per second (over 100GB of data per hour).
Hameedi claims the new GT employs 10 million lines of ‘mission critical’ software code, three million more than the new Boeing 787 dreamliner and eight million more than an F22 fighter jet - though one could argue that more code isn’t necessarily a good thing.
According to Hameedi the real challenge is getting all the signals to talk to each other while making sure “when one sensor shuts down it doesn’t crash the whole system”.
The data rate is refreshed every eight milliseconds and includes the following sensor sets:
- Front safety sensors
- Outside temperature sensors
- Sunload sensor
- Humidity sensor
- Gyro sensor
- Auto dimming mirror sensors
- Occupation classification sensor
- Wing position sensor
- ABS wheel speed sensors
- Steering wheel position sensor
- Pedal position sensors
- Door window position sensor
- Side impact sensor
- Tyre pressure sensor
- Vehicle speed sensor
Meanwhile the 28 microprocessors take the sensor data and manage everything from body, transaxle and hydraulic control to simple things like the door latches, which have their own unique processor.
Hameedi says the introduction of so much computing power means the new GT will be safer and faster for “99 out of 100 drivers”, while for those wannabe or actual professional racing drivers it still manages to provide systems such as active aerodynamic control that would have otherwise been impossible.
But despite all its computing power, Ford engineers are still debating whether the car’s Track mode (one of four, along with Normal, Sport, and Wet) will actually switch all the control aids off or simply increase the tolerance substantially and leave some systems still on.
“Do you truly turn everything off if you can make the car go faster with some things on? Do you leave them on or do you truly say do you want everything off? Okay then, you can be the slower guy but the hero,” Hameedi told CarAdvice.
The new Ford GT is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with about 450kW (exact figures are yet to be released), with power delivered to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle.
Ford GT production will be capped at 250 units per year and, as previously reported, the GT will not be made in right-hand drive.