Why does a Mustang — the Mustang GTD — cost $300,000, you may have wondered, when this racecar-for-the-road was announced last month. One feature you’re paying for is the car’s active aerodynamic features, which Ford detailed in a presentation Tuesday evening at the Detroit Auto Show.
Chief among the aero tricks: a Drag Reduction System, a term you’re probably familiar with from Formula 1, where a wing device is driver-controlled and its use is limited. On the Mustang GTD, the system’s automatic. Depending on conditions second by second, hydraulics can change the angle of attack of the rear wing, along with flaps under the front of the car, to strike a balance of best airflow for speed and best downforce for control. Braking into a corner, for example, the DRS closes the wing and flaps to maximize downforce and grip. On straightaways, these parts are, shall we say, open for business.
“Every surface, body opening and vent on and under Mustang GTD’s body is functional,” said Greg Goodall, Mustang GTD chief engineer. “Some air is directed for cooling, other for aerodynamics and downforce. All of it to help GTD go faster or stick to the pavement no matter what the conditions are.
“We actively manage where the center of air pressure is on the vehicle, so the front and rear can remain balanced,” said Goodall. “The ability to do this isn’t allowed in racing, where the rules don’t allow actively managing airflow.”
So, it’s tech that’s verboten in GT3 racing, and it’s new to the streets for Ford.
“Our Le Mans drivers would love to have the technology GTD has for the track and street,” said Goodall.
Oh, and the car will ride high enough to clear speed bumps in everyday driving, but when called upon, the suspension can hunker down by 40mm (1.6 inches), also for better aerodynamics.
The GTD team is continuing to refine the aero tech in simulation and on track (Road Atlanta and Spa in Belgium were mentioned). The gallery above shows some images of what we’re talking about here.
Eventually, Ford promises, the Mustang GTD will tackle the Nurburgring, gunning for a lap of under 7 minutes.
Ford also released the Mustang “family portrait” shown here: