When a car is as limited and in-demand as the Ford GT, you might think there's little need or room for special editions – every single one is pretty damn special. But that hasn't proven the case in Dearborn. Last year, Ford celebrated Le Mans triumphs of the past with the '66 Heritage Edition and this year it's reaching out to competitors on smaller stages with the new Competition Series. The track-focused GT drops weight and lowers center of gravity with help from a major dose of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials.
"The Ford GT has racing in its blood," reminds Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development, and chief technical officer. "The Competition Series was developed with the most hardcore track enthusiasts in mind, providing a tailored set of lightweight features and unique livery to match."
Ford has already made carbon fiber a centerpiece of the 3,054-lb (1,385-kg) GT's structure. With the Competition Series, it adds more carbon and swaps out a few components and pieces for lighter alternatives. Carbon fiber wheels come standard, bolted on with titanium lug nuts. A titanium exhaust is also standard. The Perspex acrylic engine hatch cover with carbon fiber prop rod contributes to the weight losses, getting further help from thinned-out Gorilla Glass behind the driver.
The latest GT flashes its carbon with a gloss carbon stripe down the middle and carbon mirror caps, A-pillars and lower body trim. The carbon fiber orgy continues inside, where the material shows itself on the console, registers and door sills. The anodized red paddle shifters and instrument panel badge add to the performance-forward look.
Non-essential luxuries like infotainment and stereo hardware, AC, storage bins and cupholders (not the cupholders!) have been ripped out. A special center console plate fills in the space left by the departure of the infotainment screen, and the F1-style steering wheel gets a unique front design to fill things out around the vanished infotainment controls.
Ford promises that all essential driving features remain the same, so buyers can look forward to the roar of the 647-hp EcoBoost V6 and air-channeling efficiency of the advanced aerodynamics. The drive should only prove more thrilling, as the car is not only lighter outright but also boasts a lower center of gravity thanks to the weight losses at higher areas of the car.
Ford is offering the Competition Series in North America for all available model years of the already-limited GT. The six available colors are shadow black, frozen white, ingot silver, liquid blue, liquid grey and triple yellow. It is showing the car at the Daytona 500 this weekend. Not so coincidentally, Daytona also happens to be where the Ford GT race car (No. 66) took home a GTLM class victory at Rolex 24 last month.