Car racing is usually a pretty passive affair for the audience. Unless we're talking about the 24 hours of Le Mans. Because there the density of experiences for the visitors is almost as big as for the drivers - especially if one makes in a Ford GT on the way to the Sarthe.
There are definitely better cars for this ring. Yes, at the Nürburgring he likes to feel at home, in Laguna Seca or in Spa. But for the Cologne ring and its permanent construction sites, the Ford GT is certainly not made. But life is not a request concert even in a super sports car and sometimes you have to be able to force yourself - especially if it serves higher goals. And what goal could be higher for a Ford GT than the Le Mans circuit? After all, the legend of the first and only Detroit super sports car was born here on the Sarthe road circuit, when the original placed 1966 in first three places and kicked Ferrari in the buttocks as well as Henry Ford did bursting acquisition negotiations apparently considered necessary. Also, the rebirth of the recent edition justifies the Americans with the centenary of victory and has become the 50. Anniversary of the triumph immediately recovered. And on top of that, after four races in a row at least, the factory says goodbye to the 24 hours this year, leaving the field of 2020 to the customer teams that have chosen a GT. So if a mission is worth a bit of drudgery at the wheel, then this one.
In addition, even the construction sites on the Cologne ring not eternal and on the A4 to Aachen, there is for the first and only time on this tour back to the roots even free time. So, look up! And only milliseconds after the kickdown you experience an acceleration that a spaceman can not experience more spectacularly.
The driving force is an 3,5 liter large V6 engine, which is unusually quiet for a super sports car, but offers all the more power and passion. It is not for nothing that the superchargers, which are ventilated by mighty fans, press the six cylinders a little more than 650 PS and mobilize just under 750 Nm, which is surprisingly frictionally locked onto the road by the wide rollers in the rear. Because the GT has neither the wind nor the scale much resistance to offer, the Tempo 100 mark falls after only about 2,8 seconds, and if the courage does not leave on the road, accelerates the GT then nothing you nothing more on just 350 km / h. So far, no other roadworthy Ford was so fast.
But first, the pleasure lasts only briefly, and second, the highway is not the right track for the GT anyway. Even if you should not translate the GT here as Gran Turismo, the long-distance racer belongs to the highway. Not least because you do not have to move quite so far beyond the permitted, if you want to have a bit of thrill.
So down from the well-developed highway and up the winding Byways, which lead through lonely fields and sparse forests to the southwest. There, the GT can really show what's in it. It is not for nothing that he almost swells with the road, fool-proofs his track, uses every short straight to intermediate sprint and delays with the ceramic brakes and the huge Airbrake of the mighty spoiler in front of the curves so irony that the centrifugal force almost the eyes out of the skull drives. Why the hell is it only 700 kilometers from Cologne to Le Mans?
Although the GT was developed especially for long-distance races. But that is why he is still no car for long distances. On the contrary: In every detail you notice the super athlete that he was only laboriously pressed into the corset of everyday life and government jungle to somehow get a street legal. Since starts with the miserable overview, especially backwards, it goes on with an infotainment that would be difficult for a small car of 15.000 Euro, in a luxury toy for the 40fachen price but a joke, and it ends with what you do not once with the greatest benevolence may call "trunk". Because the compartment behind the engine swallows a meager eleven liters and is actually overwhelmed with one, two jackets. And the filing under the driver's seat is full of a wallet that is better filled when you pay your fuel in cash. After all, a supercar is not a food lover.
But does that bother you on this road trip? Not at all. On the contrary, you can even proudly bear the passenger's toiletry bag behind your own headrest and carry-on luggage in the footwell of the passenger. And one does not complain about the fact that the hard seat shells fused directly with the carbon body and the setting therefore rather modest. Because you will be rewarded for these shortcomings with terrific experiences, sees only thumbs and flattened cell phones, feels at each intermediate sprint like the young Steve McQueen and at the latest, if you have mastered the congestion on the motorway ring at the entrance to Paris, you may to feel like a hero. The self-confidence becomes so great that it even lasts for a lap of honor before the fight with the hotel underground garage: Once Triumphal Arch, Champs d'Elysees and Eiffel Tower please - so much time must be.
The second stage on the day after Le Mans is short but intense. And most of all, you do not drive them alone. The closer you get to the race, the greater the density of supercars. Especially from England, the vast majority of fans come on their own and are not too bad for a trip to Le Mans in Bentley or Ferrari. On the contrary: the network is full of the "perfect route" for the arrival to this huge spectacle and at the latest when the rich speeders on the evening before the big race with their luxurious athletes next Golf GTI and Focus RS on a meadow next to the track their tent They are turning into big boys who are celebrating a passionate PS party without standing arrogance.
But as hard as it is in terms of mood and temperatures, it's worth it to stay sober, at least until the morning before the race. Because as long as the majority of the track is open to everyone. And the later the evening, the brighter the traffic and the less attentive the gendarmerie. No wonder then that it gets loud at Le Mans at three in the morning and the Ford GT also yells again. Because only once you have driven at full throttle on the Mulsanne straight, then you really arrived in Le Mans and the GT back to its very roots. And the memory of the Cologne Ring has long been washed away by adrenaline from the brain.