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!

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Tasman Series 1968

The Tasman Series was a winter break for the grand prix circus. Founded in 1964 from a series of local races and a couple of international events, it grew into a substantial series with works entries from BRM, Lotus, Brabham and Ferrari at its height. From its beginning as a 2.5 litre maximum capacity single seater series under the old Intercontinental Formula it was extended to accept F5000 entries from 1970 and the series continued to flourish until rising costs killed it off after the 1975 series.

Here is a great clip showing some of the Australian leg of the series in 1968 with Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Denny Hulme, Piers Courage, Dickie Attwood, Frank Gardner and more.

Enjoy it here

1966 CanAm fun at Vegas

The 1966 CanAm series was truly a great spectacle and there were seven drivers in with a mathematical chance of winning the lucrative title going into the final round in Vegas. Here is a link to some great footage and driver interviews from that race. 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

Forgotten Motor Races – the 1967 Oulton Park Spring Cup #F1

The Oulton Park Spring Cup held on the 15th of April 1967 was an unusual event in that it was run to help raise money for the grand prix medical unit. It was the second of five formula one races held in England that year, one of which was the British GP. Continue reading

44 years ago today Jim Clark died at Hockenheim

I was sat quietly pondering about the lack of international motor sport over the Easter weekend; no F1, NASCAR or IndyCar, and reminiscing about the glory days of the sort of events we could enjoy when I was a teenager, those races where several of the F1 stars of the day would turn out to drive a GT or saloon in one or more events on non GP weekends and we had plenty of non championship F1 races too.

We also had F2, and of course it was in one of those races that we lost Jim Clark, 44 years ago today. I’ve written at length about that day here in another blog post so I won’t go all over it again, but it underlined those words that used to appear in motor sport programmes and on the back of tickets: Motor Racing is Dangerous.

It is of course a lot safer today and I would not want to go back to the days of such high risk, even for those with the highest skills, but I must say that those days of my youth were times when there was more opportunity to watch racing here in the UK and also to get close to the top drivers.

Anyway, with the recent loss of Alan Mann, we have lost another key player in that April day 44 years ago, for had the cards fallen slightly differently, Jim Clark and Graham Hill might have been at Brands Hatch driving for Mann instead. As it happened they loaded up the Lotus 48s and went to the European Championship F2 race deep in the woods of southern Germany and Jim’s number was up.

That’s how things were back in those days. Motor racing was dangerous.

 

The #F1 Silly Season drags on

So will Robert make a come back at Renault (sorry, Lotus)? Has the Barra Boy had his time at Williams? Who will be Forcing India?

It’s all getting a bit boring really and we wish that they would all make their minds up. Maybe Robert is the key to some of this and it will be a shame if all of that great potential is lost to F1 should he be unable to make a return. It could be that it is already too late, and that a year off will have dulled the edge.

That would also apply to the Ice Man of course, but he has long been an enigma. Could he make a difference in a Williams. or would a return to F1 in mid grid just bore him rigid? Would we notice if it did? All these questions’ let’s have some answers.

As for the name changes, well we are pleased that it has all gone through, but can’t really understand why there was all that fuss. Yes there can be complications over a name; we here are old enough to remember 1967 and Gulf’s Mirage win at Spa causing a bit of controversy because it didn’t count as a Ford win for manufacturer points even if it was just a modified GT40, but that is hardly relevant in modern F1. There are far more important issues for the constructors and ruling body to be considering; for a start the former mob could get on with sorting out their drivers for 2012.

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