The innovative 10-inch wide digital instrument display is far advanced from the original Ford GT, when the cockpit was hardwired with a fixed set of analog gauges, buttons and knobs across the dashboard that had to address almost every situation.
Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance.
“Driver focus and attention are key with such high 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.”As advanced design work transitioned to putting prototypes on the road, Ford Performance reached out to suppliers at the cutting edge of data display. Ford designers and engineers worked closely with Pektron (for electronic design, development, implementation and manufacture) and Conjure (for graphical design) to create forward-looking renderings that are painstakingly animated, include highlighted font, color and responsiveness, and avoid driver distraction and eye strain.
The five drive modes which are accessed through steering wheel-mounted controls, help keep eyes and attention on the road and hands on the wheel.
Each mode presents information slightly differently – prioritizing what is crucial for each environment and tailoring the display to the given context.
How information is graphically displayed with each drive mode:
- Normal mode displays information in a purposeful, businesslike manner. The theme is simple; the speedometer is centered and bold, gear selection is to the right, fuel and temperature are top left. The hockey-stick-shaped tachometer displays in a compressed scale for lower rpm, as the engine revs so quickly the lower counts mean almost nothing to the driver. The 3,000-to-7,000-rpm range dominates the top of the display.
- Wet mode carries many of the same information concepts over from normal mode, using a blue theme and a “wet floor” concept. Graphics under the speedometer emulate the shine of wet asphalt to remind the driver of the mode selection.
- Sport mode adjusts information priorities. Front and center is gear selection, with the speedometer off to the right and less prominent. It’s displayed in an aggressive orange theme and is the preferred mode for most test drivers.
- Track mode presents a stark combination of black background and highly legible text and graphics, in a crisp, red theme that’s easy for the eye to pick up in a fast-paced environment. Gear selection and engine speed are displayed prominently, while coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature and fuel level – rendered as a percentage rather than miles to empty – are bottom right.
- V-Max offers an entirely different display – purposeful and pared down. Specifically tailored to pursuing maximum top speed, it displays a large, centered speedometer, with tachometer reduced to just a line with indicator dot for minimal distraction. Coolant temperature, oil pressure, oil temperature and turbocharger boost are displayed to the right, with fuel level displayed top left.
“We spent an enormous amount of time getting this just right. The result is simple, but achieving simple perfectly can be a challenge.”Dashboard of the Future?
GT isn’t the only Ford vehicle that will receive full digital instrument display technology. Ford has announced that this innovation will come to other future Ford vehicles.