Ford GT Sports Changes at NAIAS 2016

When the Ford GT first appeared at the North American International Auto Show in January 2015, Ford described the car as “production intent.”  Throughout the remainder of the design process, the company has been aiming to keep the eventual production car as close to the debut car as possible.  There were a few items, such as the very thin mirror stalks, that were easily identifiable as destined to be changed, but it’s safe to say that overall very, very little separates the car today from the car at debut.

The design staff at Ford did a great job remaining true to their initial vision within the rules and guidelines carmakers are saddled with.  Now that the car is out sporting a very Stormtrooper color scheme at NAIAS, let’s take a look at some of the subtle changes the car has undergone.

1.  The Front Splitter

The 2016 NAIAS car features high gloss carbon all around, and one of the most stunning pieces is the new split-level front splitter.  Gone is the solid-surface piece from the 2015 show car, replaced with a gorgeous new unit that sports slots on each side of a raised center.

All-New Ford GT

2.  A crazy new diffuser

The diffuser on the 2015 show car was attractive, but the new diffuser is positively jewel-like.  The new piece has a number of additional vanes and the overall shape has changed slightly, including placement of the rear-view cam.  A definite improvement.

The all-new carbon-fiber Ford GT supercar features fully active aerodynamic components to improve braking, handling and stability, including an active rear spoiler keyed to both speed and driver input.

3.  Production Mirrors

We knew it would be difficult to bring the extremely thin mirror stalks and aerodynamic mirror casings to production, but the Ford design team has done a fantastic job of capturing the character of the original show pieces in the production units.  The mirrors are larger, rounder, and rest on a wider stalk, but they look gorgeous, especially with the new carbon (and presumably optional) caps.

4.  Headlights

The interior material on the headlights has changed ever so slightly.  The headlights are one of the best and most advanced design details on the car and they have made it intact.

All-New Ford GT

5.  A “Squircle” gas cap

The circular gas cap of the 2015 debut car has been replaced by a squircle door.


7.  Interior controls & seat materials

Not major changes, but the button configuration and shape has changed slightly.  The PRDNM knob has changed positions and the functionality of the remaining control buttons is different.  You can also see an optional pleated leather seat surface has replaced the material in the original show car.


The lighting controls from the show car have been replaced by the familiar and ubiquitous Ford dial.  Awaiting word on this is an actual production piece or just a placeholder.



To my eyes, the GT looks even better as it has matured to production level.  Undoubtedly a few changes here and there remain, but the car as it is today is nothing short of a design home run.

Bonus note:

Check out the active aero channel shown below.  This is very similar to the design on Porsche’s 918 hypercar.

  • S
  • January 13, 2016
The Mesh (grille texture) is also thinner and not doubled up like the concept
    • S
    • January 13, 2016
    oh...and the marker lights.
      • A
      • January 13, 2016
      You are correct. Good eye.
  • M
  • January 14, 2016
There's quite a bit that's not included here. I'll be seeing the car on Saturday, but my my estimation, here is all that I can suffice:

- All carbon fiber trim on the exterior is now bare glossy carbon
- The front splitter is now a dual element item, compared to a single element on the 2015 NAIAS car
- The headlights have changed slightly from the 2015 car
- An opening trunk panel has been incorporated into the front of the car
- Reflective indicators are added to the body around the wheels for regulatory purposes
- The mirrors are larger - a one-size-fits-all for the whole world unit
- The rockers are a noticeably different shape now. They're flatter than the units on the 2015 NAIAS car
- The rear wing now features an additional extendable gurney flap (that extends beyond the already deployable wing, itself).
- There are more elements to the rear diffuser
- The third brake light (mounted in the rear wing) is noticeably larger
- The center mounted reverse lights (at the very bottom, just above the diffuser) are larger
- The taillight assemblies now feature a clear exterior with red LEDs (they were previously red LEDs with a red suround)
- The reverse camera is mounted higher, and embedded in the bodywork now, compared to being a small pod, hanging down into the diffuser's wake
- The side elements of the taillights no longer feature GT emblems.
The reflectors on the rear bodywork are of a different shape.
- I'm not going to touch on the interior because obviously a ton has changed there.

I'm sure there is a lot more, but that's what I could spot.