The Upgraded 2020 Ford GT Has The Only Gulf Livery Throwback That I Don't Hate

Illustration for article titled The Upgraded 2020 Ford GT Has The Only Gulf Livery Throwback That I Dont Hate
Image: Ford

I’m not going to make many friends with this take, but here goes: Gulf liveries are overdone and tacky, now worthier of contempt than admiration. But the upgraded 2020 Ford GT has forced me to eat my highly opinionated words. It looks—and I truly hate to say it—Actually Good.

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Ford announced today that it’s introducing an upgraded version of the GT. It’ll have more engine power—660 horsepower as opposed to 2019's 647, per Ford’s press release—and better cooling. The big technological changes center around the V6 engine, such as:

Beyond 13 additional horsepower compared to 2017-19 GT supercars, the 2020 GT’s EcoBoost engine features a broader torque band and revised engine calibration plus mechanical upgrades that include gallery-cooled pistons and higher-energy ignition coils, thanks to lessons learned from the limited-edition, track-only GT Mk II.

Additional engine cooling and airflow updates includes new buttress air ducts designed to increase air flow by 50 percent while larger intercoolers keep charge air temperatures cooler, preserving peak power for the most strenuous, high-temperature sessions at the track. Suspension damping is increased in track mode to further enhance handling and body control, particularly for those high-speed transient sections of closed-course circuits.

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And while all those changes are well and good, the really neat stuff comes in when Ford starts talking about its new liveries: Gulf Heritage and Liquid Carbon.

Now, it might just be the lighting in these images, but there’s something less horrifyingly obnoxious about 2020's take on the classic Gulf livery. It’s restyled and updated with digitized-looking numbers and a seemingly softer blue, which serves to make the whole look more understated.

Illustration for article titled The Upgraded 2020 Ford GT Has The Only Gulf Livery Throwback That I Dont Hate
Image: Ford

I’m generally a fan of a good retro throwback, but seeing people slap the same old Gulf scheme onto their brand new cars just gets old. I get it, you know exactly one thing about racing history, I am so impressed. But updating the livery to match the design era of your car? Now that’s good. That shows you have some semblance of aesthetic taste and are willing to take chances with tradition.

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I’m having a similar crisis with the liquid carbon style bodywork that Ford has released. Completely free of any color paint, this look features a glossy clear coat that elevates the whole look from “I forgot to finish my car” to “I have a classy minimalist taste and do not need flashy looks to enjoy this machine.”

Illustration for article titled The Upgraded 2020 Ford GT Has The Only Gulf Livery Throwback That I Dont Hate
Image: Ford
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And the Liquid Carbon version comes with a lot of neat little features:

Owners can choose titanium lugnuts, six-point racing harness anchors, five interior options and five caliper colors. Further personalization is available through two over-the-top stripe options – the dual center stripes offered on the standard Ford GT or the single stripe found on the Carbon Series as well as optional painted mirror caps. Stripes and mirror caps are available in any of the seven standard paint colors as well as the extended color palette. For the first time, these features can be ordered independently of one another.

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Congratulations, Ford. You’ve actually managed to sway my rock-solid car paint opinions by proving that not every Gulf livery or plain carbon fiber body has to look like a terrible edgelord is behind the wheel.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Freelancer. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

You know who I don’t like? Anybody who doesn’t have a deep-seated, unwavering affection for anything with gulf livery. It should occupy the same warm and fuzzy part of your soul that puppies do. I don’t care how much you hate dogs, but you should be giddy about puppies.

Know who I do like? Anyone self aware enough to rationally defend their opinions and have enough moxy to have unpopular ones.

So, I disagree with you about gulf liveries. I agree with you about this one, and I enjoyed the article. Cheers.

Also, as much as I love the aesthetic of bare carbon, as someone who’s worked in the composite materials business, I’m leary. UV rays degrade the stuff, and while I'm sure a clear coat provides some protection and most of these types of cars will live lives sheltered from the sun, I'm skeptical about how both the look and structural integrity will hold up long term, and since many of these purchases have investment implications, I don't think I'd personally take the risk.