BACK TO LIFE 1966 GT40 Le Mans Winner is Being Restored
At the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans something amazing happened. It was a long time in the making, but finally an American car won the race. To be more specific, a 1966 Ford GT40 Mark II won the race.
In fact, the GT40 made up the top three finishers. They surpassed Porsche, Ferrari, Alpine, and more. It was a wonderful day in the world of racing, and to this day it is remembered as a legendary and iconic race in both the history of Le Mans and of American motor-sports.
We’re not sure how they managed it, but RK Motor Charlotte has gotten their hands on the winning ’66 GT40 from that very day. It has lived a hard day since its stunning victory, having been made into a test car and then sold to a variety of owners.
One owner in particular even made the ride street legal and painted it gold. But don’t fear — over the next year and a half RK Motors Charlotte will be restoring this beautiful Mark II back to exactly how it was on race day, and they will even release their first feature film documenting the restoration!
Of course, if you know motor-sports history well then you may also recall the controversy surrounding this win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The fact that the GT40 made up the top three finishers may seem like a positive result, but in reality it led the team (Shelby-American Inc.) to have to make a very difficult choice.
Of the three, two of the super cars were on the exact same lap as one another. Thus, the team had to decide whether to let the two lead cars race it out (and risk damaging the cars and not finishing), or dictate the finishing order (which would certainly result in a good deal of discontentment), or, lastly, they could arrange for a photo-finish tie.
The team chose the latter. However, the organizers of the event informed the team that since one of the cars (the one driven by McLaren/Amon) had started about sixty feet behind the other car (driven by Miles/Hulme), that this would be taken into account. The team stuck to their decision of orchestrating a tie, despite knowing that the McLaren/Amon car would win. In protest, Ken Miles suddenly slowed his car just before the finish line.
Controversy such as this only makes this car even more intriguing. Too many legends are lost along the way, so it is a great sight when one is brought back to life.
The Ford GT40 went on to win the Le Mans race all the way until 1969 — proving that it was not simply a competitor, but a winner. Feel free to check out some more information on the amazing build by RK Motor Charlotte, and don’t forget to watch the first teaser video of the fantastic build below!
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