Click the tiny machined aluminum dial on the steering wheel to Track mode, and something startling happens. The carbon-bodied Ford GT drops to the pavement with a thud, hoisting its rear spoiler to full mast. Where most modern supercars prepare for the track by stiffening up their suspension settings, the GT goes all out, transforming into a hunkered-down cruise missile, ready for launch. Welcome to the machine.

A Brief History of Speed

Before you can appreciate the all-new GT, the $445,000 supercar Ford makes you apply to buy, you need a quick history lesson. In the early 1960s, Ford tried to buy Ferrari, a move to give the American giant some European flair and help the racing-focused Italians bulk up production. When Enzo Ferrari flaked on the deal, Henry Ford II sought revenge on the track.

The result was the GT40, three of which stormed to a stunning 1-2-3 victory at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans—a race Ferrari had dominated for years. After follow-up wins in 1967, 1968, and 1969, Ford, having made its point, left endurance racing.