Following our Exclusive image last week, we have more details on the new Falken sponsored Ford GT-R, which had a relatively successful debut in the American Le Mans Series last weekend. Drivers, Anthony Lazzaro and Tim Pappas, finishing 8th in highly competitive GT2 class.
It didn't set the world alight, but this new car has little development and no factory backing from Ford. In addition, the team only received the car on the morning of practice!
The Ford GT-R was born in March 2006 when Oliver Kuttner commissioned Doran Racing (from Grand-Am fame) to design and build a GT2 specification Ford GT. The project was totally independent of Ford, which given the history of the GT40, seems like a wasted opportunity for Ford. The only other car in ALMS GT without a factory base or backing is the Dodge Viper.
It transpires that the car build was easier than many in the past as the Ford GT was designed and built like a race car.
The chassis has been modified with wider track, roll cage, race suspension and brakes. The car is powered by a Roush Yates prepared 5.0 Litre engine with a six speed gearbox.
The bodywork has been replaced by carbon fibre components which include a front splitter and wide-body kit. The front and rear clip has been simplified, removing many of the shut-lines and separate panels.
At the rear a large rear spoiler and Gurney Flap helps downforce. The Robertson car (below) also uses Canards at the front.
Doran Racing plan to build a total of six race cars. The first chassis made its debut at the Sebring 12hrs earlier this year, with ex-Panoz team, Robertson Racing (above). Lack of race time and development have hindered their progress, but Doran are a race winning constructor, so expect them to move up the grid slowly although its hard to see them competing with the top Porsche and Ferrari teams with their works developed cars.
While Robertson Racing have been plugging along, Doran Racing built Chassis 2 for Falken sponsored ‘Black Swan Racing’. The famous Falken livery, which started life in Japanese GT racing adorned the GT2 racecar as it made its way on track last Friday, just hours after it arrived at the circuit. Speedhunters.com published the very first image online!
Given the tight deadline the aim for the team was to complete a race distance, so 8th in class in their first race was quite an achievement, given they lost time in practice while the car needed work to make it race-worthy.
They also earned points in the GT2 Championship, something Robertson Racing have been unable to achieve so far this season.
The Falken Ford GT-R will compete in the remaining rounds of the series, where race finishes and tyre development are the main priorities so the team has a good base line for 2009. Despite the big bucks in ALMS from Porsche, Ferrari and Audi, it is great to see that privateer teams can still compete.
While searching the internet, I came across these great images from "gio" on the Ford GT Forums.
More images are available here.
The next ALMS race is this weekend in Mid-Ohio. In Thursday practice, the Falken car was 10th quickest in GT2, with the second Ford GT-R a place behind
In our earlier story of the Falken Ford GT-R a number of people queried the use of the GT-R designation. The 'R' signifies the racing version, although this was given by Doran Racing, rather than Ford.
Mercedes, BMW, McLaren, Ultima, Renault and Ford have produced GTR/GT-R designated products over time. Not just Nissan!
- Andy Blackmore
Photos: Pat Daly, Ford GT Forum, Marshall Pruett
www.fordgttv.com – Video diary of first car build