n 1963, Henry Ford II, grandson of the Ford founder, wanted to be more successful in the 24-hour Le Mans. His main goal was to buy some Italian team that was already known for the Formula 1 titles, in addition to the most famous long-term race in the world.

His plans failed when Enzo Ferrari turned down the proposal and decided to continue with his company. Henry then decided to create his own prototype for the competition. The car that would be born of this idea was the Ford GT40, icon that became famous in the tracks and, after losing the name numeral, became one of the best supercars of the last years.

GT40 Project

Since it would no longer be possible to acquire the rampant horse brand, Ford's plans took a new path. Chief executive of the automaker at the time, Lee Iacocca wanted to build a modern and fast car. After several prototypes, much study and much preparation, the GT40 was born in 1964.

The 40 of its name was a reference to model height in inches, or 1.02 m. Its engine was a 4.7l V8 and was in the center-rear position. With 309 horsepower, its top speed was close to 320 km / h.

In his first appearance at Le Mans, the result was not the best. The automaker saw its three cars leave. Despite the defeat, the model had promising performance, especially in the great straight Mulsanne.

Resultado de imagem para ford gt 40 anos 60

Domain Start

For 1965, a new versions of the GT40 were made. The Mark IA traded the engine for a 4.7l borrowed from Shelby Cobra. Already the Mark II had a huge 7.0l propeller of 485 hp. Despite the news, new breaks prevented the first triumph of the sport in Le Mans.

Following the failures of the first two years, four cars were entered for the 1966 race. Victory was finally achieved with Bruce McLaren - the F1 team founder - and Chris Amon. In second and third were two other GT40, which proved the mastery of the model. Henry Ford II finally took revenge on Ferrari.

The victories, however, did not end there. In 1967 the Mark IV version won the race again, repeated over and over again in 1968 and 1969, but with a Mark I. The GT40 went down in history as one of the Le Mans 24 Hour legends, which later saw a long domain of Porsche, but that is a matter for another day.

Picture result for ford gt 40 years 60

To the streets

The first derivation of the GT40 made for the streets was a Mark I version. The goal of the brand was to make a sock with sales, helping to spend the racing version. Then the Mark III was released exclusively as a civil version between 1967 and 1969.

After several decades without a super sports car, the model was reborn as a concept in 2002. This would only be a tribute to Ford's 100th anniversary, but it was so successful that it became a production model.

That's how in 2004 the Ford GT was launched with a retro look and inspired by track legend. However, the name GT40 cannot be used because of a patent issue - someone registered the name and prevented the brand from using it.

That was no problem for the car. In addition to the classic design, the engine was a 5.4l supercharged V8. It yielded 558 horsepower and had 69.1 kgfm of torque. The GT40 reincarnation was a critical and public success, and is a candidate for a classic future.

Back to the origins
The first GT was in production until 2006, and as successful as it was, it was not created to be a racing model. The sport even came to participate in some races, but he was thought of as a sport for the streets.

It was necessary to return to the origins of the classic GT40. As Ford wanted a new model to compete in the world endurance races, the solution was to develop a race car that could be homologated for the stores as well.

This is how in 2016 a new version of the Ford GT was created. With a more aggressive look, it even has lines that refer to the classic of the 1960s. However, unlike the model of the last decade, its goal is to win races.

Modernity is not only in its design. Instead of a V8 thruster, the new GT is equipped with a 3.5l two-turbocharged Ecoboost V6. With this, it yields 656 hp and has torque of 74.6 kgfm.

Back to top
The winning instinct of his ancestor also appeared in the modern version. He has already won the Le Mans 24 Hours of 2016 and was second in 2017 for the GTE Pro category. He would have no greater tribute to the legacy of the GT40, which 50 years ago dominated the French race and became one of the biggest legends of the motor sport.

 

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