Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Ford GT40

Ford GT40 is one of the most iconic racing cars. The obsession of Ford, which counted with the help of Carroll Shelby, to win a Ferrari in the 24 hours of Le Mans resulted in that beautiful machine. While some GT40 are in museums or in private garages, many are still competing in categories of classics.

After an increasingly successful two year program, Ford and their partner Shelby American continued to campaign the GT40 in prototype endurance racing. The 1965 version of the GT40 proved itself capable and was primary opposition for Ferrari’s P2. For the new season, Ford concentrated on developing the Mark Two GT40 which would compete against Ferrari’s radically different 330 P3.

During the 1965 LeMans, Ford received much attention for two large-displacement GT40s entered in the race. These two cars were prepared by Kar Kraft, a subsidiary of Ford run by Roy Lunn. They chopped up the GT40 chassis to accept the 427 CID Galaxie engine. Unfortunately, development time on these cars was short and the decision to run them at Le Mans was unexpected.

Ford GT40
Ford GT40

The initial performance of the 427 GT40 was promising. The car could reach 210 mph down the Mulsanne straight and qualified almost ten seconds faster than any Ferrari. During the opening hours of the race, prototype GT40s were in the lead. Unfortunately transmission problems arose, retiring both cars. Afterwards, it was clear that the 427 GT40 would be the car to race and a more robust transmission was necessary to make the distance.

Ford GT40
Ford GT40

The 1965 car left many problems which Kar Kraft could not have reversed during their short development time. Although the car was basically the same as the Mark I it had several hundred additional pounds of reinforcing and a longer nose which interfered with aerodynamics. Even though these problems arose, it was decided that the relatively cheap, NASCAR-proven 427 would power the 1966 Mark Two GT40.

In auctions that surround this weekend on the Monterey peninsula, dedicated to the world of motor racing, as you are and can see, RM Auctions yesterday released a Ford GT40/Mirage with a very particular history. Behind boasts several unique merits: in 1967 would win an endurance race at Spa Francorchamps in the hands of Jacky Ickx and Dr. Dick Thompson, being the first victory of a GT40 painted by Gulf. The chassis then sported Mirage code M.10003. And that it was not a GT40, but a Mirage M1, manufactured by John Wyer Automotive Engineering, with the idea of creating a competitive car that fight in endurance racing, taking many of the elements of the GT40, as the engine or the monocoque construction.

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