Raj Nair And Camilo Pardo On The 2017 Ford GT’s Next-Generation Design

In case you’ve never heard of Camilo Pardo, he is a renowned, Detroit-based automotive designer responsible for (among other things) both modern manifestations of the Ford GT – the iteration produced from 2005 to 2006, and the new 2017 Ford GT which made its debut at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

If you follow the Ford story, the name Raj Nair ought to mean something to you as well; he’s the Ford VP of Global Product Development.

Both Camilo Pardo and Raj Nair made an appearance at the recent Auto Moto Film Festival, held in Detroit just ahead of the 2015 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. They made themselves available for an informal Q&A session focusing on the realm of automotive design as a whole, and in particular, on the process behind the new 2017 Ford GT.

These are just a few of their more memorable quotes regarding the new GT, according to our source: Ford GT Forum.

Regarding Inspiration Working Within The Automotive Industry

Camilo: “The dream that designers have is to go to school, get a job at a fantastic company like Ford and do a car that will make an impact. And you can put it at the auto show as a concept car, and then the thing comes around as a production car and it will sit on this shelf: the shelf of the evolution of automotive design. If you can put something on that shelf, than you’ve basically made your dream come true.”

Raj: “It’s really lucky to be working on something you have such passion for. I really feel lucky that we do what we get to do. Not that everybody doesn’t love their job, but I can’t believe the guy that’s designing the next dishwasher, and I’m not knocking anyone who works on dishwashers, feels as passionate about it as we do…

“It is something that’s absolutely changed society. The aspect of where you live… the technical complexity of it, the fact that you trust it to keep your friends and family safe. And the aspect that, despite all of the numbers and data and fuel economy and cargo volume and reliability ratings? To be honest, most of the time you make the decision to buy a car based on your heart. Based on how you feel about it. ‘What does that car say about me?’

Tell me any other product in the world in history that’s ever had that combination. So I feel really lucky to be able to work on something that you can be that passionate about.”

Regarding Working On The 2017 Ford GT Program

Camilo: “I know what happened and what went down with the Ford GT for 2005 and 2006, and all I can do is sit and predict and think about ‘how did it go for the one that you’re doing now?’ It is so much more of a race car. How did things go down in the studio? What was the pressure like? How much time did you have? I mean, we yelled and screamed and barely made it through it! Something tells me you guys had to do it faster.”

Raj: “The new GT, there was an aspect for us that 1966 was a really important year for Ford. If you don’t know, 1966 was the year that we won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and came 1-2-3 in the GT40. Internally at Ford that’s a really big deal… That year – and again apologies to the Ferrari fans who are here – we kicked Ferrari’s ass.

“So, certainly there was an aspect of 2016 coming up and what are we gonna do? It’s the 50th anniversary… It seemed like the stars were aligned with the 2016 50th anniversary and the ten years since we’d done the ’05, so let’s think about what we can do. And the ’05 is a really hard act to follow. You know, Camilo and the rest of the team did just a fantastic job, and there will be programs you remember working on, and the ’05 will be one you always remember working on.

“So how do you follow that act? Well, one of the things we said is we really need to push the boundaries. We want a car that is almost an impossible combination. It is one immediately when you look at it that you will say ‘that’s a Ford GT. It is one that when you immediately look at it you will say ‘wow that is an absolutely next generation supercar that pushes the boundaries beyond for everyone.’ And finally, a design that absolutely delivers functionally. That it delivers on its aerodynamics, it delivers incredible amounts of downforce, it delivers on incredibly low levels of drag…

“So to deliver on all three of those aspects and just to even push beyond what we could deliver technically, aerodynamically, with lightweight, carbon fiber technology and yet still have something that when it rolled out under the smoke in Detroit that people were just gonna say ‘holy $@*# I love that car.'”

You can read more of Camilo and Raj’s memorable remarks at the Ford GT Forum website.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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