The Ford GT Won't Go for Any Official Lap Records
Bad news, armchair racers. Don't expect any more official 'Ring times out of Ford anytime soon.
Unlike its peers over at Chevy who seem to have adopted a "sub-7-minute all of the things" approach to fast-car making, Ford appears to be completely unconcerned with the metaphorical spitting contest that is setting lap records.
Over the weekend, we reported on the Ford GT setting a lap time of 2:38.62 at Virginia International Raceway during a relatively routine diagnostic visit, inadvertently breaking the lap record there for production cars. In an email to The Drive, a Ford Performance spokesperson said the GT was able to break the record despite having "just a small support crew, less than ideal circuit conditions, and [racing driver Billy Johnson] driving the Ford GT on that track for the first time."
We then asked whether the company had plans to go back with a full crew on a better day, with a lighter Competition Series car and a bit more motivation in order to get an even faster time. Armchair racing fans of the Blue Oval, bad news: The answer is no. No additional record-related trips to VIR. No record-related trips to the Nürburgring. No record-related trips to any track, in fact.
"We have no plans to go for any lap records at VIR or other circuits going forward," said the Ford rep. "As Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Performance put it 'We’ve got new cars to work on.'" I don't know about you, but to us, this sounds like a slightly nicer way of echoing a sentiment shared by Hyundai N boss Albert Biermann (formerly of BMW M) who earlier this month called Nürburgring record attempts a straight up "waste of time."
It's certainly interesting how some manufacturers invest so much into setting up camp at tracks like the Nürburgring while others such as Hyundai, certain divisions of Porsche, and now Ford publicly denounce its relevance. What say you? Are 'Ring records (and lap times, in general) a vital part of proving a car's performance mettle or a somewhat wasteful marketing exercise? Let us know in the comments section.