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First-Time Race Between Ford GT and Jet Aircraft

Source: Ford Motor Company | Published: Fri Sep 23, 2005

The aerospace-inspired 2005 Ford GT super car wins at speeds over 170 mph in a race against a CAP 232 aerobatic plane at the world's largest air show, AirVenture.

Although onlookers at the world's largest air show, AirVenture, had their feet on the ground, there is no doubt many hearts were flying as Ford Motor Company raced its 2005 Ford GT super car against a CAP 232 aerobatic plane at the show.

Built on advanced lightweight materials, technology and manufacturing assembly processes used in aerospace, the Ford GT is much like a fighter aircraft, such as the F16 and F18.

All-aluminum space frame - like an aluminum air frame - consisting of complex cast aluminum structures, detailed extruded aluminum cross members and stamped aluminum components. The space frame is designed to be light enough to meet performance targets, yet durable and stiff enough for handling severe road loads seen during extreme driving conditions. The hybrid aluminum space frame consists of 35 detailed aluminum extrusions, four complex castings, four semi solid formed nodes and conventionally stamped aluminum panels.

In order to preserve the vintage Ford GT40 styling, super plastic formed aluminum body panels are engineered into the vehicle's outer body structure combined with state-of-the-art carbon fiber materials. Lightweight closures, including a two-piece super plastic formed door and a lightweight aluminum carbon fiber rear deck, were used to reduce overall vehicle weight.

The use of conventional and advanced joining technologies are employed to provide added functional benefit, including the use of friction stir welded aluminum, advanced high-strength structural adhesives and specially designed mechanical fasteners to enable attachment of the aluminum body panels. Automated welding was the primary joining technology used to assemble the hybrid space frame extrusions to castings, providing enhanced mechanical properties and improved stiffness. High-strength two-part structural epoxy adhesives were used to supplement mechanical fasteners, providing additional torsional and bending stiffness benefits, as well as benefits in reducing noise, vibration and harshness in the space frame and body system. Mechanically fastening the body in white to the space frame was accomplished using machinable self-locating aluminum rivnuts, a unique and cost effective method for attaching body panels to a space frame.

Ford Milestones in Air Travel in Land and Air

Previous week's spectacle of wings and wheels has special significance for Ford and its history. Most people know that Ford founder Henry Ford brought land travel to the masses with his Model T. But few recall that he did the same for air travel - making flight available to the masses with the Ford Tri-Motor plane. With that, Henry would be proud to know the two worlds continue to combine in Ford's supercar of the future, the Ford GT:

  • Ford laid the foundation for the world's modern system of commercial aviation, including the first modern airport and popularization of all-metal aircraft with the Ford Tri-Motor.
  • In 1954, Ford Motor Company introduces the Thunderbird: named for the thunderbird, which according to Indian legend was a divine helper of man.
  • 1964, Ford Motor Company introduces the Ford Mustang, whose name is inspired by the WWII P-51 fighter plane.
  • The company was founded the same year - 1903 - as the Wright brothers' famous flight; Henry Ford and the Wright brothers become friends.
  • It was Henry and Edsel Ford who put the nation on wings through their efforts to develop aircraft to serve the public, then building public confidence in their safety, reliability and necessity.
  • In the 1920s, Ford Motor Company becomes the world's largest manufacturer of aircraft.
  • Ford built one B-24 bomber an hour at its Willow Run plant during World War II.
  • Just as Henry made automobiles accessible by the masses through assembly line production, he brought commercial flight to the masses by applying the assembly line method to planes.
  • Ford laid the foundation for our modern system of commercial aviation, including the world's first modern airport with a concrete runway and all-metal aircraft with the Ford Tri-Motor.
  • For his pioneering efforts, Henry Ford was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1984 and recognized by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission on Dec. 17, 2002.
    Ford Motor Company sponsors Countdown to Kitty Hawk, the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first powered flight at Kitty Hawk.

Ford GT: One of World's Fastest Cars

Just as the Ford GT40 was the first race car to break the 200-mph barrier at LeMans, the new 2005 Ford GT has become the first production road car wearing the Ford badge to achieve top speed in excess of 200 mph. During engineering testing for high-speed stability and powertrain durability at Italy's famed Nardo test facility, the Ford GT reached a certified top speed of 205 mph. In 1996, a GT40 reached a trap speed of 201mph on the Mulsanne Straight during the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race, and now the new Ford GT continues that legend by again breaking new ground.

"Driving the Ford GT at speeds above 200 mph was remarkably uneventful, which is a very positive outcome," said Mark McGowan, Ford GT vehicle dynamics supervisor, driver during the Nardo testing and driver for the AirVenture race. "The Ford GT race with jet aircraft is the perfect way to illustrate this vehicle's roots in aerospace and to bring full circle Ford's heritage with the GT40's speed record."

Ford GT vs. Jet Aircraft Photo Gallery
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