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HomeArts & CultureFord's GT supercar mirrors fighter jets and racing cars

Ford's GT supercar mirrors fighter jets and racing cars

Ford has turned to jet fighters and racing cars as inspiration for the all-new digital dashboard that features in the latest incarnation of its GT supercar

The “smart” digital display, which works in a way similar to those used in modern jet fighters and racing cars, shows data based on five special driving modes.

“Driver focus and attention are key with such high performance,” said Jamal Hameedi, the chief engineer at Ford Performance. “We’ve designed the GT with a sleek digital instrument display that changes depending on driving mode in ways that are important and usable to the driver.”

Ford engineers and designers created the state-of-the-art digital gauge cluster to be customisable and able to tailor information to each drive mode, to help ensure customers taking the Ford GT to its limits are provided the data they need to make critical decisions behind the wheel in the most efficient possible way.

The five drive modes are accessed through steering wheel-mounted controls, to help keep eyes and attention on the road and hands on the wheel.

The layout is designed around which data is most important, when to present it, and how to show information in a way that’s most expedient for a driver to process.

To test the initial design, the Le Mans motor race winner Scott Maxwell of Multimatic was invited to the Ford GT simulation lab to offer feedback. Maxwell suggested changing the tachometer to provide an expanded view of the EcoBoost V6 redline approach for greater peripheral visibility. The racing car driver also recommended tweaks to the prioritisation of performance information.

Joey Hand, the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of Ford GT last year, raved about the different drive modes recently on a visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “This is exactly what I want to see when I want to see it,” he said. “You guys did a great job.”

The innovative 10-inch wide dash is far advanced from the original Ford GT racer, when the cockpit was hardwired with a fixed set of analogue gauges, buttons and knobs across the dashboard that had to address almost every situation.

For the new dashboard, Ford designers and engineers worked closely with Pektron (for electronic design, development, implementation and manufacture) and Conjure (for graphical design).

“We spent an enormous amount of time getting this just right,” says Nick Terzes, the Ford GT engineering supervisor. “The result is simple, but achieving simple perfectly can be a challenge.”

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