Gathered the three Ford GT40 protagonists of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966


Time of the arrival of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966.

In 2016 have been met 50 years of the first victory of Ford in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which took place in the 1966 edition. The date marked to fire in the history of the brand american, that after two editions trying to beat a Ferrari on his land without success, through the project GT40 to Carroll Shelby, at that time occupied with the Cobra Daytona, that yes he could defeat the almighty Ferrari 250 GTO on circuit.

To celebrate this anniversary, Ford Motor Company decided to create the project, Ford GT 2017, recently presented and whose racing version managed to overcome precisely to Ferrari in this edition 2016 of the 24-hour French. Edition could not miss a tribute to that historic date, even with the presence of the 3 Ford GT40 mkII with which the mark copaba the podium full of 1966, featured prominently in the exposición’Americans at Le Mans’.

The opportunity presented in this temporary exhibition was so unique in that not only is it rare to find together these three historical protagonists, but after many years, now we can say that we are not in the best state of display possible, thanks to the recent and costly restoration of GT40 P/1046, the issue of black colour and winner of the test with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon to his commanders.


The podium complete 1966 live.
On very few occasions have been seen together and with so much detail to these three real protagonists of the story, both the brand and the history of motor sport. These, not only formed part of one of the most eye-catching of the history of the race, a French in addition, starred in one of the anecdotes more curious and memorable of the history of motorsport. Because despite the fact that they crossed together to the goal, did not win the Ford which in theory should have done it.

The final victory resided in the chassis P/1046, driven by Amon and McLaren, however, who led the trial in the final moments of the race was chassis P/1015 piloted by Ken miles and Denny Hulme. The official story tells us how Ken miles was leading comfortably out of the race in its closing stages, with the chassis P/1046 going second, but in the same turn. Both belonged to the team Shelby American, and they had a great advantage over the third-ranked provisional, another GT40 mkII team Holman-Moody, driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson, that aventajaban no less than 12 turns.

In those moments, Leo Beebe, a marketing executive of Ford, had the bright idea of slowing the first two GT40 to wait for the car from Holman-Moody and so, the trio victor cross along the goal line. So when the three specimens came to the checkered flag, with the second GT40 slightly ahead of Ken miles, in theory, the leader, saw one of the shadow most popular race and one of the moments most embarrassing for any team, because the direction of the race gave him the victory in the second vehicle because, in spite of getting almost parallel to the goal with the GT40 of Thousands, he had come out in a more delayed and are, therefore, given a distance traveled greater, more specifically from 8 meters more.


Instant of arrival, with the 3 GT40 in training.
the reaction Of Ken miles and Dennis Hulme, the main affected by this decision, little or nothing is known, but this situation was surely the biggest bucket of cold water of your life. Ford, by contrast, was too busy with her amazing result. They had not only defeated finally the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Ferrari, in addition, had achieved a hat-trick with historical photo for the story included.

On the decision of these team orders to the contrary, yes that has been talked about a lot. For some, these were taken without taking into account the distance traveled of the vehicle, and therefore, the end result was just a result of the oversight, however, for others, Ken miles was not exactly the favorite driver of Ford, despite having obtained brilliant victories with the GT40, so we speculate that the maneuver on the part of the makers of Ford was intentional, to give the win to Amon and McLaren. Today, half a century later, this, only remain conjecture without foundation or basis, and the only thing certain is that three GT40 managed to cross the finish line on that Sunday in June of 1966.

What is certain is that the efforts of Ford in this regard were significant, only in this edition participated up to 8 units of the GT40 mkII, the latest evolution of the sport, which joined up to other 5 GT40 of private computers with specifications lower. In total, the GT40 accounted for 13 of the 55 vehicles that were involved accused. Taking into account that among all the categories only accounted for 55 vehicles, we can say that the Ford GT40 accounted for almost a quarter of all the staff of participants, compared to only two Ferrari 330 P3 official.


Rear of the Ford GT40 mkII chassis P/1046.


In ‘American at Le Mans’ we were able to be face to face with these three sacred cows of the motorsport, appreciating not only the beauty exuded by their bodies, but the low height, only 40 inches (101.6 cms) that will give just his name.

Although the exemplary most admired could not be other than chassis P/1046, which as we said at the start of this article, recently was presented after a extensive complete restoration, which took more than 20 months and about 4,000 hours of work to return to its original state the black GT40. This restoration was commissioned by the new owner of the model, the founder of RK Motors Charlotte, and the exhibition ‘American at Le Mans’ was the first occasion where it was exposed publicly by the model.

This same month of August, the P/1046, will be exposed together with other
important american models related to the career French
the events that will take place in Monterey
, where will be held the
Concours dElegance Pebble Beach 2016.