GT40 or not? Time to set the record straight.

There has been a growing use of the term GT40 to describe the seven litre cars, the MkII of 1965 to 1967 and the 1967 MkIV. None of these were known as GT40s at the time that they raced though, so here is the story.

The Ford GT of 1964 was built under a package title of GT40 that described a GT car that would be 40 inched high, but in racing terms it was always entered as a Ford GT through 1964 and 1965. In the latter year the seven litre car was introduced and the was initially known as the GT X, X for experimental. The 1965 Le Mans entry list has the two seven litre cars down as GT X models, although by the time of the race their official designation was Ford GT MkII. At the time the 4.7 litre model was going into production for customers to race or use as a road car. This was the Ford GT MkIII, or GT40.

In 1966 the 7 litre GT MkII had been revised and was described as a MkIIA, but the suffix was not much used and they were usually just called a MkII. These cars ran in the Group 6 prototype class of the championship and the production 4.7 litre cars ran in the Group 4 class as a GT40.

During 1966 Ford developed the J car, so called because it was built to meet the requirements of Appendix J of the regulations. A J Type ran at the Le Mans test weekend, but did not race. This was the type of Ford GT that Ken Miles was killed testing at Riverside later in the year and it had a completely different type of chassis to the other GT models.

For 1967 the J car had evolved into the GT MkIV and became the main focus of the Group 6 championship thrust, but the MkII was developed to meet changes in the regulations and was entered as a Ford GT MkIIB. In the Group 4 category the GT40 continued to race with either the 4.7 or 5 litre engine.

By 1968 the big bangers were outlawed from Group 6, but the GT40 was still eligible for Group 4 and ran competitively through the year as it did with less success in 1969, but the same GT40, chassis 1075, won Le Mans in both of those years.

It was much later that lazy journalism started to see the term GT40 being applied to the MkIIs. Yes they did have a modified version of the chassis that went into the GT40, but they were a different car. As for the MkIV it has nothing to do with the GT40 model.

So when you hear someone like Jeremy Clarkson tell you that the GT40 won Le Mans four years in a row he is wrong and so are any books or websites that refer to Mks II and IV as GT40s. The myth is constantly perpetuated on social media too, so those of us who know the truth must speak up!

Advertisements

Musings on Jeremy Clarkson and the lastest Top Gear news #BBC

Trial by social media is a fact of life in the modern world, at least in the one that we like to think of as being civilised, but is something of a misnomer as social media is no better that mob rule. Continue reading

Help make 2015 the year that we get John Surtees his knighthood #F1

It is an on-going disgrace that we shower honours on all sorts of minor celebrities and sports people and yet have still not honoured the only person to have won world championships on both two and four wheels. Continue reading

stop nagging; we know!

Yes, we know that we need to get on with writing some more of our Setting the Record Straight series, and we will try to dust off the research on the James Hunt v David Morgan story and also the 1966-69 story of Fords at Le Mans so that we can get those stories on here. Continue reading

whose turn next for pantomime villain? #F1

Earlier this year we had Pastor Maldonado cast in the role of the man in the black cloak, twirling his moustache whilst casting F1’s poor virgins out into the snow, chaining them to the railroad tracks or just punting them off into the boondocks, but now it is Romain Grosjean who has inherited the mantle. Continue reading

Oops! We found some stuff we had forgotten

Whilst having a bit of a clear out we’ve found a couple of lengthy draft posts that we were working on a good while ago and never got around to finishing.

One is on the Ford GT40 at Le Mans and the other is on the Hunt versus Morgan incident in F3 back in 1970. Both are almost done, but are at that stage where there is a bit of detailed research to be completed in order to make sure that we get them as correct as we can manage.

Both have been printed off and we are working on making up a list for each of the things that need to be verified, or taken out.

We will try and get that done in the coming weeks and get both posts published. Apologies if you saw the trailers for these and have been waiting for the outcome.

Is the Italian GP at Monza the spiritual home of F1 now?

As DJ is holding his BBC boycott protest it falls to me to report on what may have come over as an error by the BBC commentary team last weekend when they said that the old banked Monza circuit was last used in 1961 and maybe gave the impression that it was always used up until that point and never since.

The banked track at Monza still exists and you see the North banking clearly as the cars come down from Lesmo 2 and the cars come under the bridge. When the banking was used the cars would start, as now, from the left side of the pit straight, do a conventional lap of the road course, but on the exit of the Parabolica would keep right past the pits and on to the North banking, off that and down the straight to the South banking and then emerge from that onto the left side of the pit straight to start the next lap.

This combined course was ready in time for the Italian GP in 1955, and was used again for F1 in only three more years; 1956, 1960 and 1961, but was also used for the 1000kms Monza sports/GT world championship race through until 1969, reverting to the road course only from the 1970 race.

The banking was threatened with demolition a few years back, but a concerted campaign saw that off for the time being. It can’t last forever without some work, and therefore money, being invested, but it would be good to think that it will be around for a while as a reminder of a different era in motor sport.

Monza is one of the great tracks and about the only one that is around from the start of the F1 world championship that the guys who raced then would still recognise. Silverstone is a very different track now, Spa is so much shorter, and the others are long gone from the scene. France may have held the first GP, but that has been off the calendar for a while now. The UK may be home to more teams than anywhere else, but Italy, through Monza, has that F1 world championship continuity and, with such passionate fans, has a good claim to be the spiritual home of F1, and why not?

 

%d bloggers like this: