Electric-assisted drivetrains are here to stay, and they've even made some inroads into legitimate supercar territory with the Porsche 918 Spyder, and in mechanical-hybrid terms with the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. But could a hybrid power the next Ford GT?

That's the story slinking around the Web today, as Auto Express says it has inside word that the next GT40-inspired supercar from Ford will get its power from a Porsche 918-like layout, with an electric motor powering the front wheels for low-sped efficiency boosting and high-speed power.

The primary powerplant is pegged as a supercharged V-8, as you'd expect, and total output from the hybrid system is rumored to hit 600 horsepower. That number is very close to the last Ford GT's 5.4-liter dry-sump, aluminum-block supercharged V-8, which was rated at 550 horsepower. A variation on that engine (wet sump, different supercharger) is now found in the 2011 Shelby GT500.

Should Ford choose to go the hybrid route for the next GT, we'd expect the price to rise considerably, as it will add a huge degree of complexity to both the engineering and production of the car. Given its limited volume status, however, that may not be a problem.

As for aesthetics, the next Ford GT is expected to rely less on the retro-themes of the GT40 and go for a derivative but definitively modern look. What might that translate into in real-world terms? Sharper panels, LED lights, and a more futuristic interior.

Built to be lighter as well as more efficient, the next Ford GT could pose a legitimate threat to the mid-engined supercars from Europe--something the last GT didn't quite manage to do.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for more information on the next GT, but for now, consider it all to be hopeful speculation.

[Auto Express]