The Race-Winning DNA of the Ford GT40

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Ford GT40 Restoration 3

In the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Ford had as much in common with Ferrari as you would expect a blue oval to have in common with a prancing horse.

The Italian manufacturer was used to winning the grueling endurance event with various teams. The American company, represented by the Shelby-American Inc. and Holman & Moody/Essex Wire Corp squads? Not so much.

Ferrari’s cars ran powerful V12 engines. As part of the Ford Total Performance initiative discussed in the video below, Ford stuffed a giant 427-cubic-inch V8 into its MkII GT40 racer.

That big block’s 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque gave the GT40 a better power-to-weight ratio than its rivals from Ferrari and Germany – despite the fact that, at 2,600 pounds, it was heavier than them. Those impressive output figures also allowed the GT40 to hit a significantly higher top speed, perfect for gaining ground on the Mulsanne Straight.

Other touches, such as lighter fiberglass and a redesigned nose section that helped reduce overall weight, only added to the GT40’s abilities. It went on to take the checkered flag in 1966. GT40s of varying types would continue to win at Le Mans through the rest of the 1960s. Let’s hope the modern Ford GT race car can leave its challenging past behind it and return Ford to its former glory.

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via [Motor Authority]

Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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