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2017 GT: Ford’s first Viper fighter in years

by Patrick Rall on

While the American supercar race has been reserved for the Dodge Viper and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for the last nine years, the 2017 Ford GT is pickups up where the last Ford GT left off when it was discontinued after 2006. When the new GT arrives for the 2017 model year, it will be yet another American supercar which the mighty Viper will have to defeat to stake its claim as the top performance car from the USA.

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Unfortunately, when the 2017 Ford GT debuted last month in Detroit in the unique blue hue, details on the newest Blue Oval supercar were limited. We know that it is a mid engine, rear wheel drive configuration with a body and chassis comprised heavily of lightweight carbon fiber composites, with the retuned turbocharged V6 (also used in the SVT Raptor, Taurus SHO, and Ford EcoBoost endurance racing car) visible through a clear bubble. This will likely pack more power than any past EcoBoost production engine and Ford has promised at least 600 horsepower. Power will be sent to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox that is likely also designed with a major dose of racing experience.

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When the 2015 Chicago Auto Show opened, the 2017 Ford GT was once again on display, this time in silver, but the only new information is that it will be built at Ford’s Markham, Ontario production facility.

Based on what we know about the 2017 Ford GT, it should be a formidable opponent for both the Dodge Viper and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The Viper packs 645 horsepower and the Corvette Z06 offers 650 horsepower for the 2015 model year, so anything south of 650 horsepower from the new Ford supercar would be a huge surprise, but even with less power, the GT could put up a tough fight for the Viper.

With the GT being comprised so heavily of carbon fiber and using a V6, the new Ford supercar will likely have a lower curb weight than the Viper. The 2006 Ford GT tipped the scales at 3,485 pounds and it use the lightweight carbon fiber of the new model. The current Dodge Viper curb weight ranges from 3,300-3,450 pounds, so the 2017 GT won’t need to lose much weight to weigh less than the Viper.

On paper, the 2017 Ford GT should be able to at least keep up with the 2015 Dodge Viper, but that was also the case with the previous 2005-2006 GT, which failed to keep on with the Viper from the same era in real world performance tests. With the new GT not slated to arrive until sometime during the 2016 calendar year, we are going to have plenty of time to debate the new American supercar race and over the next year, we should get more pieces of the puzzle from Ford.

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The 2017 Ford GT is sleek yet angular, with every line and angle seeming as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing. However, I will need to see the twin turbo V6 in action before I stop questioning the Motor Company’s decision not to use a supercharged V8.

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As new tidbits of information are announced, we will have more to go on when comparing the 2017 Ford GT to the Dodge Viper and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, but one thing is certain – the American horsepower war is raging right now, and it is only going to get better.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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