The Ford GTs of Robertson Racing

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Mated to an Emco 6-speed sequential transmission, an air-powered paddle shift assembly was added for LeMans duty in 2011 and has been on board ever since. The rear wing's original patent (the thing that goes inside a mold) was fashioned by H, and then SE Composites, who did all of the carbon work, created the mold and the final product.

Take note of the wing's mounting. The supports for the carbon wing are custom-machined aluminum. What you might not be able to tell is that the supports have mounting holes drilled in several places, allowing the height of the wing in relation to the roof to be easily and quickly adjusted. The two carbon tubes are actually brake ducts that are fed from vents in the top of the rear panel. By the way, the entire rear panel of the car is a single piece of carbon fiber with several latches to secure it. Removal of the entire rear cover of the car takes less than a minute and only requires two people.

 

Here you can see some of the attention to detail that goes into something as simple as the rear bodywork. Rod end-jointed stays help to secure the body work, and rollers (top right) allow hooks on the rear cover to slot in and then latch down.
Speaking of fancy bodywork, every exterior panel on the car is constructed from carbon fiber with the exception of the aluminum roof skin. Many structural under-body components are carbon fiber as well. Here is a shot of the front nose of the car. The front “frame rails” and bumper support are all carbon, as is the radiator mounting and ducting, the brake ducts, the fuel filling assembly etc. The yellow jack stands are actually located where the air jack points are.
The underside of the car is almost completely flat, except at the tail where it starts to turn up. FIA/ALMS rules for the class dictate that the undertray of the vehicle may only change direction once, which rules out crazy complicated diffusers like you see on cars in Global Time Attack. You can also see the jack stands again. Three air jacks are used on each car, and these custom jack stands are designed to hook into the air jacks. There's another surprise for the air jacks, too.

There are two cars, and a third one slowly being pieced together. The team has several spare doors, front and rear covers, panels and more. The current configuration of each car has about $100,000 worth of carbon fiber components and panels. The Ford GT was a $100,000 car to begin with, not including the fancy chassis from Doran. You do the math.

 

Taking a step back and looking at one of the spare chassis, you'll notice what looks like square carbon fiber tubes connecting the driver compartment to the rear “subframe”. You can also see these in the previous engine bay photos. This is actually a sticker – one made out of graphite lava mat. FIA and ALMS have very strict rules regarding cockpit temperature in relation to ambient temperature. With the all-aluminum Ford GT chassis basically being an engine with a driver seat and wheels bolted on, even something as simple as heat soak into the chassis itself can be a major hurdle to overcome when trying to manage cockpit temperatures. Attention to detail in all aspects of heat management and heat shielding are key. Even with all of these preventative measures, air conditioning is still required to meet the temperature mandates. You can just make out the AC compressor dead center in the back of the image. At the right, the large tank is the dry sump reservoir. More carbon feeds air to oil coolers, and the tubes under the door sill on the right are how coolant gets from the radiators up front to the engine here in the back.

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