The Blue Oval's latest attempt at sports car design, the Shelby GR-1, is a definite step in the right direction and has been described by J Mays, Ford's vice president of design, as a "giant leap toward the future".

The Blue Oval's latest attempt at sports car design, the Shelby GR-1, is a definite step in the right direction and has been described by J Mays, Ford's vice president of design, as a "giant leap toward the future".

Ford unveiled its Shelby GR-1 this week at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the US and it makes a bold statement about the future of Ford performance cars. Last week, CARtoday.com reported that the manufacturer had already prepared a concept car based on the Shelby Cobra roadster concept first seen at the Detroit Motor Show in January this year. This is it...

The front-engined two-seater is based on the Ford GT's underpinnings. The Shelby GR-1 uses Ford's 6,4-litre V10 engine which produces 451 kW at 6 750 r/min and maximum torque of 679 N.m at 5 500 r/min. Drive to the rear wheels is via a six-speed 'box with LSD.

The GR-1 oozes aggression with its dramatic front, dominated by a massive airdam. Air vents on the bonnet and along the sides allow the monstrous V10 to breathe. In profile, it shows a muscular shoulder line running from behind the front wheel arches all the way to the rear.

Upwardly flaring fenders punctuate the strong rear, which seamlessly merges with the cabin. Bold vertical lights (not visible in these pictures) add further definition while short overhangs and compact dimensions define the performance icon's profile.

After this year's Detroit Motor Show, Ford's product chief, Phil Martens, sent the Shelby Cobra roadster concept back to the studio saying it did not "grab his soul". He is reportedly very happy with the new concept, though no decision has been made about the latest concept's production future.