The production version of the Ford GT, a $400,000 supercar, is beginning to make its way to some lucky first owners. The automaker won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the GT race-car in 2016 and is making only 250 production GTs a year through 2020.
Like all modern supercars, the GT will have multiple drive modes. The supercar’s relatively minimalist interior features a racing-inspired steering wheel that boasts Ford’s answer to Ferrari’s famous manettino drive-mode selector.
We got to check out the GT at Manhattan’s Classic Car Club — and fire the 600-plus horsepower beast up for the first time, a treat for me as I’ve been following the car’s story since its Detroit Auto Show debut in 2015 and wrote a book about the 2016 Le Mans campaign, but I’d never pushed an actual start button.
Ford also walked us through the drive modes, which are accessed by using a thumbwheel on the left side of the steering wheel. Call it a Ford “thumbettino.” (In practice, it’s actually easier to use the Ferrar’s manettino.)
According to Ford, “Normal” is for everyday driving; “Wet,” for bad weather; “Sport,” is for winding public roads; “Track,” is for, well, the track; and “V-Max” is for the drag strip.
“We focused on simplifying the experience,” Derek Bier, the Ford GT’s manager, said in a statement. “Optimizing this car for just about any situation was critical, because ensuring owners always enjoy driving it was a top priority.”
The carmaker added, “Leveraging learnings from the Ford GT racing program, Ford Performance gave each mode a unique instrument cluster display, with elements prioritized to enhance the overall driving experience.”
The drive modes also raise and lower the GT, depending on how the very aerodynamically sophisticated supercar needs to slice thought the air. And both Track mode and V-Max mode require that the vehicle be in park and that the driver OK’s the shift.