Heading out to the track is always fun, but sometimes unexpected things can happen. Engine issues, suspension tuning hang-ups, wasted time trying to “dial it in” or maybe even lap times faster than you expected. Like, really fast lap times. Broken record lap times. Say what? See, a few months back Ford had one of their pre-production GT’s out for testing, which ran into some mechanical issues. No big deal they figured, since they would diagnose out the problem by sending the problematic GT, a different GT, and pro racer Billy Johnson out to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for some testing. It just so happen that during this “testing” Johnson ended up beating the production car lap record.
The original production car lap record at VIR was held by the Dodge Viper ACR with a time of 2:40.02, which was set a few years ago when the Viper ACR was out conquering circuits around the country. Now what about the Ford GT time? 2:38.62, which was quite a bit faster on track–considering this wasn’t even a let’s break the record visit to the track anyway. Billy Johnson told Road & Track, “I think I had a two-day notice before I was on a plane to go up [to VIR]. It was to validate an issue with another car…We just happened to turn a fast time when we were testing something else.”
Even crazier was this wasn’t even the “ideal version” of the GT if a lap record was truly the goal. There is a Competition Series GT car, which comes with a handful of weight savings (albeit small, they are there) as well as an A/C delete, or the optional titanium exhaust. Even the regular GT is pretty capable, as the Track Mode setting lowers the car, stiffens the suspension, and the aero really comes to life. Ford Performance Jamal Hameedi told Road & Track, “The tracks that kind of play to the strengths of the car are faster tracks with higher-speed corners. Those really bring out the advanced chassis and aero of the car.”
Only three people were present for the VIR record lap (including Johnson himself) but we look forward to seeing what else the GT is truly capable of. Unfortunately Hameedi told Road & Track, “We’ve got new cars to work on,” which leads us to believe that Ford won’t be sending the GT all over to break records like Dodge did with the Viper ACR just for fun. Maybe we just need to goad Ford into it, or perhaps they can do more “testing” on other tracks.