Supercar Hypermiling Day 1: Ford GT

As if we didn't already know Zac Moseley from the Manhattan Classic Car Club has the best job in the world, he's driving it home this week with what we thought was an interesting class project: Five cars, five days, 250 miles and 7.5 gallons of gas. Is hypermiling more fun in a supercar than a Prius? We'll be running the show-and-tell all this week. — ed. For the next three weeks, my apartment is being gutted and I'm staying in Englewood, New Jersey with the in-laws. That means I'm a commuter. It's not to say driving a different performance car every day gets boring, but commuting in general sucks and you have to look for new challenges to make it interesting. I decided to see how far I could stretch the gas mileage. I went for the highest gear the car would handle and tried to hit the brakes as little as possible. lots of coasting was involved too, which works since it's basically downhill all the way from the George Washington Bridge to the Club.

Day 1 Ford GT
Sure the Ford GT hits peak horsepower at 6,500 rpm, but you haven't lived until you've spent an hour-and-a-half behind the wheel at 600 rpm! Unfortunately for the GT (and my sanity), leaving Manhattan on Saturday evening meant stop and go all the way from Houston Street to the George Washington Bridge. What was most impressive was how much driving could be done without touching the gas pedal.

The GTs relentless low-end torque was plenty happy to get the GT moving at 500 rpm with little hesitation and no sign of stalling. Once it got back up to a 900-rpm idle I could drop in the next gear and repeat, getting up to 30 mph or so before requiring additional throttle input. As congestion eased, the best technique for fuel economy was to borrow what the GM engineers worked out for the Corvette Z06 — give it just a pinch of gas, and skip across the gearbox from first to fourth to sixth. In sixth at 55 mph, the GT's 5.4-liter V8 chugs along at a meager 1,200 rpm. The result? 17 mpg! I was hoping for 20+, but considering that 15 of the 30 miles I covered took 90 minutes, mostly stopped and idling, I have to hand to this American brute for teatotaling. Apparently, I'm not the first to put the Ford GT through a fuel sipping test. On May 14, 2007, during an economy driving contest , Icelandic Ford dealership employee Gísli Jón Bjarnason achieved 20.8 mpg when he took a Ford GT through hilly terrain around Reykjavik.

Tomorrow's the F430, hopefully this prancing horse doesn't have the same appetite for petrol that it's makers have for Chianti!