Under pressure: The Ford GT’s steering secret revealed

The Ford GT is a $400,000-plus high-performance supercar filled with the latest technology.

It has a racing style carbon fiber chassis and pushrod suspension, carbon fiber bodywork, carbon-ceramic brakes, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a direct-injected twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out at least 600 horsepower.

Why “at least?” Because Ford hasn’t revealed all of the GT’s secrets yet.

This hasn’t stopped it from already selling out the first 500 cars it plans to build starting later this year.

One neat tidbit that has trickled out is that the GT features an old-school hydraulic power steering assist, much to the delight of the kind of enthusiasts willing to buy an exotic car before they even know the exact price or get a chance to drive it.

Automakers have been making the shift to electric assist in recent years because it’s more energy efficient and easier to equip with computer-controlled self-steering systems. Skilled drivers would rather take matters into their own hands, however, and prefer the more natural feedback that hydraulic assist provides. Brands like Ferrari and McLaren have stuck with it for just this reason.

But that’s not why it ended up in the GT.

The GT has a gigantic rear wing that moves to reduce drag, increase downforce, and act as an airbrake when needed. Its active suspension system can also lower the ride height by 15 mm when it’s in a special Track mode to further improve its handling.

Ford Performance Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi won’t yet reveal exactly how the suspension adjustment works, except that it involves a rocker and two springs. But what that rocker has in common with the wing is that they use the same hydraulic system.

Hameedi says when his teamed looked at that, it just made sense to run the power steering off of it, too. The better feel it delivers is just a happy byproduct of an effort to simplify things and reduce overall weight.

How much does the GT weigh, you ask? Good luck getting that info out of Jamal. He says that’s the one thing everyone, especially his competitors, wants to know the most, and that it will likely be the last thing anyone finds out.

Not that it matters. Along with the 500 GTs he’s already sold, he has a list of 6,006 names who want to buy the next 500.

Details? Who needs them?

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