There has been a lot of buzz around the web in recent days about the possibility that Ford might be planning an assault on the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the centre of that rumour is the hope that it might include the resurrection of the GT moniker to the blue oval’s stable.
When they hear the term GT40, many enthusiasts think of the Ford GT, a more modern recreation of Ford’s world beating racer originally created by Carroll Shelby and his team close to fifty years ago. That half century mark is key, as the 50th anniversary of Ford’s win at the legendary French race, with a Ford GT40 Mk II, happens in 2016.
The story goes that in 1963, Enzo Ferrari was interested in selling the company bearing his name to Ford. Henry Ford II was interested and spent a small fortune initiating the process, which ground to a halt when Enzo refused to relinquish control of Ferrari’s open wheel racing activities and ended the negotiations. Ford was incensed and vowed to beat Ferrari at Le Mans at any cost. The result is one of the greatest racing cars of all time, which is also one of the most American.
Some behind the scenes discussions at the Lone Star Le Mans a couple of weeks ago seem to indicate that Ford is deeply interested in launching a new GT program to coincide with the upcoming anniversary. You can learn more about it from Marshall Pruett over at Road & Track.
If you aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, or even if you are, allow me to lead you on a bit of a historic trip.
The GT40 story had a Canadian element to it as well, as the Toronto based Comstock Racing partnered with Ford of Canada with a plan to dominate Canadian racing. The plan included Shelby Cobras GT350s and the mighty GT40. The cars were driven by some of the biggest name drivers in the country, such as Ludwig Heimrath, Eppie Wietzes, John Cannon and Craig Fisher.
And now a couple of modern views to show just how well the beast has withstood the test of time.