The Ford GT40 remains an icon of the motorsport and endurance racing world due to the historic success it had competing in the 24 hours of Le Mans in the 1960s. The well documented intense rivalry between Henry Ford and Enzo Ferrari led to one of the most epic battles in motorsport’s history – both on and off the track.
Henry Ford had become aware that Enzo Ferrari was considering selling his company and jumped at the chance to buy it, not least owing to Ferrari’s dominance on the endurance racing circuit. Negotiations ensued, however at an advanced stage Enzo rather unapologetically shut the door on Ford – reportedly when he realised he wouldn’t be allowed to compete in Indianapolis if the deal went through.
Given that Ford had spent millions in the due diligence process he was understandably outraged. Legend has it that Ford briefed product manager, Don Frey to, “go to Le Mans, and beat his ass.” With a big budget behind the racing division, that’s exactly what they did, taking victory four times in a row from 1966 through to 1969.
Built to commemorate 50 years since the marque won the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, a new iteration of the Ford GT, known as the second generation GT, was unveiled in 2015.
On 19th June 2016 the Number 68 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing won the LMGTE Pro Class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, further cementing the anniversary of the win 50 years earlier.
The second-generation GT utilises a heavily modified Ford EcoBoost V6 engine. Its compactness, not least from its bespoke dry sump, allowed its designers to pursue a ‘teardrop profile’ as often seen in LMP1 cars. Larger turbochargers and aluminium manifolds enabled a power output from the twin-turbocharged 3.5L engine of 647 bhp and 550 lb.ft of torque. Paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the car is propelled to a claimed 216mph.
Inspired by Ford’s LMP1 cars, the bodywork is of a teardrop profile around the cockpit and the ‘flying buttresses’ which create a tunnel effect around the rear of the car for improved aerodynamic performance, aided by an active rear spoiler – adjustable to suit different driving conditions.
Hydraulic pushrod suspension ensures the primary components are kept inboard to maximise aerodynamic freedom, whilst the seating position remained fixed to provide maximum space for the bodywork and the ‘teardrop’ shape. The steering wheel and pedals are subsequently manually adjustable by the driver.
Ford’s application process to buy the car was strict. Preferring to handpick their clients, only 1,350 GTs are planned to be produced through to 2022 at Multimatic’s facilities in Ontario, Canada. Notably fewer than the total of first generation GTs, of which 4,038 were produced from 2005-2006.
What the GT appreciates is being driven properly: trailing the brakes into a corner, getting back on the power at the apex, doing what race drivers are meant to do to itMatt Prior, AutoCar Magazine
This very special example was built to the sought after Victory Edition specification which was commissioned by Bill Ford to celebrate the 2016 LMGTE Pro Class win. Only available to senior Ford Executives, the Victory Edition featured a racing-inspired colour scheme which consisted of Liquid Red, Lightning Blue and Frozen White, similar to the Le Mans-winning LM GTE car.
Other optional features specified on this car include 20” gloss-exposed Carbon Fibre wheels, Red brake callipers, a Carbon Fibre exterior finish and the ‘dark energy ’ interior theme including 6-point harnesses.
It is thought that no more than 7 or 8 Victory Edition cars were built globally. This particular example is the only EU spec vehicle that was built. Surely the most collectible variant of an already very special motorcar.