Ford, which does not have an experience in developing a competition car, finds the necessary alliances including with Lola Cars, Shelby and Kar Kraft, and hires as project manager John Wyer who had ensured the achievements of Aston Martin. The development is entrusted to the new Ford Advanced Vehicles division created in England for this project identified with the reference GT40.
The first series, in 1964, is the Mk I with a 4.7 liter V8 engine. Aerodynamics is poorly designed and the results are bad. Meanwhile the arch-rival Ferrari won at Le Mans in 1965 for the sixth year in a row.
HF2 is stubborn. In 1966 you have to win at any price. The Mk II series is equipped with a 7-liter Ford V8 engine. Carroll Shelby replaced Wyer and transferred the maintenance to the United States. The technical problems observed on the early Mk I have been dealt with and the performances of the Mk IIs at Daytona and Sebring are promising.
The triumph occurred at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966 in the presence of the boss. No less than eight Mk II and five Mk I entrusted to several private teams are qualified after the practice. Of these cars only three finish the race, all of them Mk II, but they occupy brilliantly the first three positions. For the first time an American brand has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
There is no reason to minimize this success, and the GT40 will win again the next three editions, in 1967 with a Mk IV and with a return of the Mk I in 1968 and 1969 following a rule change limiting the power. However it should also be reminded the very poor result of Ferrari in 1966, the first car of this brand being outpaced not only by the three Ford but also by four Porsche 906.
On August 24 in Monterey, RM Sotheby's sells a car from the winning trio : the Mk II ranked 3rd at Le Mans in 1966. After that race it was used as a promotional car and then as a development car for the Mk IIB series. Timed at 326 Km/h at Mulsanne in 1967, it meets HF2's target that his GT40 exceed 320 Km/h. It is estimated $ 9M, lot 124.
SOLD for $ 9.8M including premium