It was the beginning of Motorsport era for Ford in 1960’s. Henry Ford II decided to take his company in long distance endurance racing against the 1957 Automobile Manufacturers Association ban on racing. At that time the 24-hour Grand Prix at Le Mans was the world’s most famous and glamorous motorsport contest, and was dominated by Italians. In the quest to win the Le Mans, Henry Ford II made a $18 million deal with Enzo Ferrari. But Ferrari abruptly cancelled the deal. Now Ford needed a high performance, mid- engine sports car.
Then in April 1964 the advanced and stylish “Ford GT” was released to compete at Le Mans. The car was named the GT for Grand Touring (long distance racing) but the number 40 was added later for its second generation cars, representing its overall height of 40 inches. Then in 1966 after much awaiting and struggle, the Ford GT40 created a history at Le Mans by achieving a Triple Crown with all top three positions with GT40’s. Ford GT40 dominated for next four years at Le Mans.
Ford GT40 was powered by large displacement Ford V8 petrol engines. The capacity configurations used were 4.2 litre, 4.7 litre and 7 litre as per its design models from 1964 to 1969. The car was a mid-engined vehicle with a rear wheel drive. It was outfitted with a 5-speed manual transmission and an advanced suspension system.
The use of premium quality materials in the interior made the cabin superb. It was a car with racing inspired interior and a two-seater arrangement. Carbon fibre was used for adding strength to the glorious interiors. At the back side of seats, the fuel shells were located in the central section. Comfortable space was provided for the drivers but not much luxury was added as it was a car made from the racing point of view.
Ford GT40 featured a strikingly modern look and was designed for a high endurance racing. It was built with four kinds of chassis designs Mk I, Mk II, Mk III and Mk IV. The Mk I and Mk III designs were British built and Mk II and Mk IV designs were American built. The real success to Ford came from the Mk II and Mk IV designs. The body was aerodynamically designed to achieve high speeds and the total height of 40 inches as per the racing rule. GT40 was made in Coupe and Roadster body styles with optional painted racing stripes.