Ever since Ford unveiled their new GT supercar, much has been made about its shift to a fully digital instrument cluster as opposed to the usual analogue dials. And unlike many other cars which have their virtual instruments mimic their old school counterparts, the GT’s doesn’t even bother.
It certainly does look futuristic, but more than being visual posturing, Ford engineers insist that it does serve its practical purposes more effectively. Demonstrating this, they have released a short video that details the car’s different driving modes and the effect it has on dynamic digital cluster.
“Driver focus and attention are key with such high performance,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance. “We’ve designed the GT with a sleek digital instrument display that changes depending on driving mode in ways that are important and usable to the driver.”
A 10-inch ultra-wide high-resolution panel is used here, sitting beyond the binnacle. An expanse of screen that turns on when the car is started, and depending on whether it’s in Normal, Wet, Sport, Track, or V-Max, will have certain information appear more prominently.
Even more interestingly, the GT’s pioneering approach portends future mainstream Ford models adopting this digital instrument cluster. Audi and Mercedes-Benz, notably, have adopted these technologies, and so has Land Rover for some time now. More recently, Peugeot and Volvo have been added to that list.
Ford, in developing the hardware and software for the GT’s digital instrument cluster, did so in collaboration with Pektron, who were responsible for the electronic design, implementation, and manufacturing, along with Conjure which did the graphical design and animation work.
Back to the GT’s five driving modes:
Normal: The speedometer is the most prominent readout with the gear selection to the right while fuel and temperature are shown at the top left. The tachometer, which is shown in as a ‘hockey stick’ shape, is minimised when on lower RPMs and grows larger when chasing the redline.
Wet: The visual change here is that the gauges take on a blue theme, with the graphics underneath the speedometer being more reflective to emulate the shine of wet asphalt.
Sport: The first of the GT’s performance-oriented modes. Things turn an angry orange and puts the current selected gear in large view with the speedometer off to the side.
Track: The orange of Sport mode turns red here, enabling the eye to pick up fast-paced movement against the black background. Gear selection and speed are most prominent while readouts for coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature, and fuel level are organised to the side.
V-Max: This is a pared down setting that reflects the mode’s singular function - speed. The car itself hunkers down and alters its aero bits to create as little aerodynamic drag as possible to let the driver pursue the highest top speed. Fittingly, the speedometer dominates the display while the tachometer plays second fiddle, reduced to a line with an indicator dot for minimal distraction.