Fans of fast Fords are in for a treat at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard this year, with news that a surprise new mystery Ford will have its world unveiling at the Festival.
The car is still firmly under wraps but already speculation is mounting that the car – shown in a teaser image released today (21st June) – will be a street-legal version of the Le Mans racer. One big clue about that is the big new rear wing on the car in the picture.
All Ford is saying, however, is that a special “supercar announcement” will be made at its press conference on the Ford stand in the Drift Paddock at 09:45am on Thursday, 4th July. Ford’s Mr Performance, Hermann Salenbauch, will unveil the car, along with Larry Holt from Canadian automotive engineering company Multimatic.
When it comes to fast Fords, the company has made a strong showing in recent years. A concept Ford GT was shown in Sussex in 2015, and at the UK launch of the 216mph, 647bhp supercar in 2017 the Duke of Richmond (then Lord March) drove a bright yellow GT up the Hillclimb to declare that year’s Festival open. At the time the Duke told us: “Ever since I saw the GT it has been among the cars I have most wanted to drive.”
Ford’s answer to Ferrari and McLaren supercars car was then blasted up the hill all weekend by Ford Chip Ganassi team drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, part of the team that won its class at Le Mans in 2016 to follow in the tyre tracks of the original Ford GT’s memorable win at Le Mans 50 years earlier.
Ford and Le Mans continue to be inextricably linked, and at this year’s Festival the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT, number 66, will be taking on the Hilllcimb, fresh from racing in the GTE Pro class in the 24 Hours classic earlier this month.
The race GT will be far from the only Ford to take on the hill this year, in what promises to be the fastest, smokiest, driftiest demonstration of Blue Oval-style performance yet.
The most powerful fast road Ford at FOS will surely be the 760bhp Mustang Shelby GT500 making its UK debut. Other new road cars include the all-new Focus ST and, on the off-road course, the Raptor version of the Ranger 4x4 pickup.
Ford racers tackling the 1.16-mile Hillclimb make for an exciting prospect, with machines that include the 2018 NASCAR championship-winning Team Penske Ford Fusion, the 1980 Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri, Gymkhana TEN star Ken Block’s Hoonitruck and Escort RS Cosworth, and champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jnr's Ford Mustang RTR. For rally fans Ford is bringing along its Ford Fiesta WRC car which will see action on the rally stage. Have we ever had as many fast Fords at FOS before?