But the real difference is its design. Yes, like all those rivals the GT uses a mid-mounted, twin-turbo engine to deliver enormous power to the rear wheels alone, but at a more fundamental level, it is an entirely different kind of car: a racing car no less. While the Europeans adapted their road-going designs to cope as best as possible with the track, the Americans designed a car first and foremost to race, then created the best road car they could from what they had.
You don’t even need to turn on the engine to see the consequences of this approach. The cockpit is Lotus Elise snug, so being on better than simply speaking terms with your passenger helps. There is nowhere to stow anything in the car while what you’d laughably described as a boot is in fact so small it would struggle to swallow much more than a decent sized washbag. The modest modestly proportioned overnight bag is simply out of the question. The engine is not a snarling V8 but a blue collar V6 closely related to the one used by Ford in its pick-up truck. It doesn’t exactly sing to you, but it’s immensely strong and, boosted to 660bhp, endows the GT with sledgehammer performance.
But just as road cars rarely feel at home on the track, so the GT feels hemmed in by the public road. It actually rides very well, but it didn’t seem to steer or stop as sweetly as the McLaren 720S I’d driven a couple of days earlier.
On the track it’s a completely different story, and where you’ll find all the proof you need as to this car’s preferred environment. It was devastatingly quick, not just because of its power and grip but suspension and aerodynamic systems that kept the car so stable you could brake deeper and harder into any given corner than any other road car I’ve driven.
What does this mean? First, that this is a car like no other to wear a number plate. Second that the Ford GT is not a GT at all: two of you could only go on holiday if you sent your luggage on ahead of you. Instead it is a scarcely disguised racing car, and comes complete with the thrills and discomforts that implies. As for me, while its on road limitations were anything but lost on me, on the track it was nothing less than sublime.