Ford has announced that its 2017 Ford GT supercar can reach a top speed of 216 mph – the highest ever for any Ford production vehicle. Back in December, Ford announced that the first street-legal version of the 2017 Ford GT rolled off its production line in Markham, Ontario.

Raj Nair, executive vice president, global product development and chief technical officer at Ford, attributed part of the success of the car to its extensive use of composite materials. The Ford GT features a carbon fiber composite monocoque and is the second Ford vehicle to be made with carbon fiber wheels.

“The Ford GT is all about performance,” said Nair. “We achieved considerable weight savings with the carbon fiber architecture. We then reinvested some of that savings into where it counts most – performance, specifically, the active dynamics. The result is an even faster car.”

Ford GT’s dry weight just tops 3,000 pounds, which places the supercar between its two primary competitors, the McLaren 675LT and Ferrari 488. Ford GT’s power-to-weight ratio is 4.72 pounds/horsepower. In development testing last year, with Ford and its competitors track-prepped in identical conditions and with the same driver behind the wheel, the Ford GT clocked in faster than the McLaren 675LT and Ferrari 458 Speciale at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Canada.

Between the Ford GT and the GT350R, the OEM appears committed to composites for the long haul. Back in September, in an interview with Composites Manufacturing, David Wagner, the technical leader for lightweight vehicle design at Ford, said composites have a strong future at Ford and the automotive industry at large.

“Carbon fiber is the essential element of our Ford GT supercar,” said Wagner. “All of the automotive industry has been working on carbon fiber for lots of years on the low-volume specialty vehicles, and it’s getting closer and closer to making the breakthrough into high-volume, regular series production.”