The early 2000s was a golden age for supercars, it was a collection of different designs, innovations, engines, and future poster fillers. In this period, two front and center cars were two “GT”s with similar recipes, yet very different finished products.
The Ford GT packed a supercharged V8 whereas the Porsche Carrera GT had a thumping naturally aspirated V10 connected to 6-speed manual gearboxes and designs deeply rooted in motorsport. Ford and Porsche managed to create two of the very best supercars of the last 20 years, whose designs would go on to influence some of their future models while also allowing the manufacturers to give subtle cues to the past.
Motorsport Roots Translated To The Road
Both cars have their designs deeply rooted in motorsport with one race, in particular, being shared between the Ford and the Porsche; the Le Mans 24-hour. Ford’s roots are within its ancestral namesake and design inspiration; The Ford GT40. Designed and engineered by the legendary Carol Shelby, the GT40 achieved four overall Le Mans victories and is Ford’s most successful racing car, therefore for Ford’s centenary only one car should be recreated.
The Ford GT is a modern-day recreation of the GT40 and the 60s beauty of the race car was brought beautifully into the modern-day. It features a retro body coupled with modern dynamics achieved through a super plastic-formed frame, and aluminum body panels. It uses lightweight four-piston aluminum Brembo calipers with cross-drilled and vented rotors at all four corners. The Carrera GT has roots in motorsport design, but they are much more subtle. The Carrera GT features an engine originally designed for Porsche’s Le Mans prototype, which due to the internal politics within their parent VW Group, never raced.
The Carrera GT was originally designed as something to draw attention to the Porsche stand at the Paris Motorshow however it gained so much attention that Porsche decided to put it into production. Similar to Ford, Porsche used very high-tech construction techniques and materials such as Pure Carbon Fiber Monocoque and Subframe with a Carbon fiber-reinforced Silicon Carbide (C/SiC) ceramic composite braking system.
500 HP+ of Motorsport Heaven
Both cars have naturally aspirated engines connected to 6-speed manual gearboxes, however, that is pretty much where the engine similarities start and end. The Porsche has arguably one of the best sounding and most iconic engines ever put in a road car, it’s iconic shriek as it climbs effortlessly through the revs is a sound adored by car lovers worldwide.
The engine itself is an absolute masterpiece; it’s a 5.7-liter V10 originally developed for the Footwork F1 Team which produces 603 HP, its layout is a longitudinal, rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The narrow-angle V10, aluminum block, and heads with chain-driven dual overhead camshafts and intake camshafts are equipped with variable valve timing for the four valves per cylinder.
The exhaust valves differ from the intake valves in the fact that they are sodium-cooled. The Ford GT, on the other hand, sticks to the roots of the original GT40 by sticking a thumping great V8 directly behind the driver. The V8 in question is a 5.4-liter longitudinally mid-mounted supercharged V8 engine attached to a Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission and a motorsport-inspired dry sump. Similar to the Porsche it is a DOHC with 4 valves per cylinder layout.
The cylinder heads are similar to that of the 2000 Ford Mustang SVR, however, the wall casting is thicker in the exhaust port. The camshafts are also unique for the Ford GT, with more lift and duration than those found in the Shelby GT500. The power output is 550 hp. The GT was also voted Top Gear Magazines’ “Gas Guzzler of 2005”.
2000s Icons That Still Shine Today
Both these cars carry a huge legacy that carries on from the early 2000s when they were built right to the present day. For example, a Carrera GT was recently sold at auction for 1.21 million dollars, and many gearheads still lust after and long for a Carrera GT to be parked in their garage. While less valuable than the Carrera, the Ford, with a GT “Heritage Edition” selling recently at auction for nearing $700,000, is just as lusted after.
The Ford GT is also remembered as having been owned by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson and featuring on the cover of Gran Turismo 4. Ford even made a new GT in 2017 which, while straying from the design of the 2005-2006 GT, featuring a turbocharged V6 for example, was an equally successful and highly regarded car.
The early 2000s gave us many great supercars, the Ferrari Enzo, the Pagani Zonda, and the McLaren Mercedes SLR, yet few carry quite as high a reputation as the two GTs spotlighted here, with one from Ford and one from Porsche. Both of these supercars are hugely powerful, have manual gearboxes, and sport eye-watering price tags. Yet both are totally different and utterly wonderful.
Source: Porsche, Ford.