Ford GT40 (1965)
|Class :||race car|
|Body versions :||Coupe|
Gasoline engine : 4.7–7 liters
|Wheelbase :||2413 mm|
|Empty weight :||980 kg|
The Ford GT40 is a racing car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for four consecutive years starting in 1966 . It was named after the Gran Turismo class (in which it was never homologated ) and its height of 40 inches (approx. 102 cm). A total of 134 vehicles (racing and road cars) were built from 1964 to 1968.
Background: Ford's return to racing
In 1962, Henry Ford II wanted his company to participate in international racing again in order to use the long-distance races in Le Mans and Indianapolis , which were becoming increasingly popular at that time, as advertising for his cars. These events became more and more popular with young people in particular. At that time, the Europeans dominated this field, not least because the American automobile manufacturers had voluntarily decided to withdraw from motorsport in 1957. This fact had an unfavorable effect on the image of the brands, as successful use in racing was considered an indication of engineering skill and reliability. It was precisely these values that Ford wanted to show by participating (and planned success) in the Le Mans races.
Development history of the Ford GT40 (1965–1968)
Henry Ford II wanted to buy Ferrari in order to be able to ride for the front seats as quickly as possible . Negotiations with Enzo Ferrari got off to a good start. When "Il Commendatore" declared that he wanted to head the future racing department of "Ford-Ferrari", which would then also be called Ferrari-Ford, Ford refused. In May 1963, the purchase finally failed when Enzo Ferrari announced that Ferrari was no longer for sale.
The construction of the GT40 can therefore be seen as retaliation: Ford decided to set up its own sports program to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To do this, he enlisted the help of Eric Broadley , who had already built the Lola Mk6 GT, a prototype with a V8 engine from Ford, in his own company Lola , and bought two chassis from him. Ford founded "Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd" and built a development team in Slough . John Wyer (formerly Aston Martin ) was hired as head. The result was the GT40 in 1964.
In 1965 the decision was made to put a limited number of units on sale. The Mark 1 was sold for racing, the Mark 3 was to be sold to some wealthy prospects if necessary. There was a steel frame under the GRP body. The chassis consisted of double wishbones with coil springs on all wheels, rack and pinion steering and disc brakes . A 4.2-liter V8 from Ford USA worked in the prototype. The engine block and cylinder heads were made of aluminum, the engine had dry sump lubrication and four 48-IDA Weber carburetors . It made 350 bhp (261 kW) at 7000 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque of 275 lbft (373 Nm) could be delivered at 5600 rpm. The unsynchronized four-speed gearbox, which sat in a common housing with the differential, was supplied by Valerio Colotti . This combination did not work and was replaced in the Mark 2 by a gearbox from Ford and a 7.0 liter engine with 485 bhp (361 kW) at 6200 rpm and 475 lbft (644 Nm) at 4000 rpm.
Ford was not satisfied with the performance of the Mark 1. The Mk 2 with the new 7-liter engine was supposed to finally win the 1966 Le Mans 24-hour race . Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren celebrated the long-awaited victory over Ferrari . The GT40 also won in 1967 . It had got a new body for Le Mans and was launched as the MK IV. Later versions also won in 1968 and 1969 . The racing cars were about 320 km / h fast.
Production began in Slough in early 1965; almost all models were made there over the next three years. Only a handful of copies were sold with valid street approval. Disadvantages of the GT40 were poor ventilation and poor all-round visibility. A total of 124 units were built, including twelve prototypes and ten Mk 4. Ford itself speaks of 94 production cars, of which seven Mk 3 and 31 Mk 1 were converted for the road.
The new edition of the Ford GT40
In 2002, Ford showed a model that looked similar to the GT40 at a motor show. The now called Ford GT presented itself with modern technology and hardly changed appearance . The suffix “40” was omitted for two reasons. First, Ford had not secured the rights to the name "GT40". Ford refused to respond to the owner's claim of $ 40 million. Second, the new car was 43 inches high, so the name would no longer have been appropriate.
- John Allen: FORD GT40 Super Profile. Haynes Publishing Group, Somerset 1983, ISBN 0-85429-332-9
- Martin Brüggemann: The Ferrari killer Ford GT40. GT40 - the fastest kind of Ford movement. Oldtimer Markt 1/99, VF Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Mainz, pp. 8–17,
- Adrian Streather: Ford GT - Then, and Now. Veloce Publishing, Dorchester 2006, ISBN 978-1-84584-054-9 . (German edition will be published in autumn 2007)