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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whatever happened to great looking sports prototypes?

Looking at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the other weekend brough home the sharp contrast between the iconic 1967 photo of two Ferrari P4s and a P3/4 in that formation finish. Continue reading

what is it about that DeltaWing thing? #IndyCar

When I first read about the DeltaWing it was in a magazine article and the proposition was that it could be the new IndyCar. Having read the article and checked the date on the Magazine; it was the April issue, I came to the conclusion that it was an April Fool spoof and left it at that. 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.

Weekend round up – 17th June 2012

This weekend saw the Le Mans 24, one of the great races around the world, plus another classic in the IndyCar race on the Milwaukee Mile. Backing that up the NASCAR circus rolled into Michigan, so some good action.

The Milwaukee Mile is probably the one Indy oval that we’d really like to see (besides Indy itself of course). It has history going back to the roadster days and if we ever win that lottery we will be over there.

So to the action: Continue reading

Roy Salvadori RIP

With a name like that he could only have been a racing driver really, but he was also a successful businessman and, most of all, a gentleman.

As a man of his word he stuck with Aston Martin’s dreadful F1 project instead of staying on with Cooper where he might have won a world championship; certainly he would have won a Grand Prix or two. Instead of rear engined results he followed the handshake agreement into wasted time and races with one of the last front engined F1 cars. Continue reading

weekend roundup – 12 June 2011

#lemans – Good action at The Sarthe with Audi holding off Peugeot by not very much after what was almost a 24 hour grand prix. Nice to know that Mac and Rocky are OK after two massive shunts. Pleanty of hard luck stories as always, but a classic race with the result uncertain right up until the flag dropped.

In my opinion Anthony Davidson wasn’t blocking the lead Audi late in the race. He was leaving the door wide open at the chicanes and gave the Audi every chance to get by, he just didn’t back off and let him through. All pretty fair in my book.

#indycar – our favourite Will Power finally got an oval win in the second of the twin races in Texas, so that’s a monkey off his back. Even if he was favoured by the lottery for grid positions, it’s his name on the record book and he can maybe win a few more now that first one is behind him. WP is now 21 points clear at the top of the table having extended his lead by 5 after the Texas Twins. As to the method of drawing the grid for the second race by lots, it may be good for the spectacle, but it is no way to operate a professional race at this sort of level.

#f1 – The Canadian GP gave usa fantastic race with Jensen Button coming from last to first despite six trips to the pit lane. Another gritty drive from Webbo saw him salvage third after a hard day at the office and Schumi doing well coming in fourth right up Webbo’s exhaust pipes.

We also got another edition of Lewis in the Wars. He just seems to be in a place where he just can’t do right at the moment. but he can turn that round.

#nascar – meanwhile over in the Poconos on that unique flat tri-oval the return to shifting gears brought transmission problems to some. Jeff Gordon beat off the Ugly Brothers to tie third on the all time winner’s list with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on 84 visits to Victory Lane. A good run for JPM saw him lead a fair bit before losing third gear and fading to seventh. Not a good day for championship front runner Edwards with a dud engine dropping him right down the order.

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