This story begins during the early 60s with the desire shown by Ford in winning the mythical 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race, considered a maximum symbol of resistance and automobile performance, at the time. And it, curiously enough, started with an attempt to buy Ferrari! - which is understandable, considering the staggering power the Italian cars had been showing at that race. However, negotiations failed, so, in 1963, they started building a new car, the Ford GT40, one of the most extraordinary sports cars ever.
Under the direction of John Wyer a project called Ford GT was thus begun, which was based on Lola Mk 6, a rather evolved car for its time. The global similarities were obvious, but the design of the new prototype outshone anything anyone expected, with its simultaneously elegant and aggressive lines, whichever way you looked at it. Its low profile, which made it unmistakable, resulted of regulations which imposed that the height didn't exceed the 40 inches (1,02 m) and originated the acronym GT40.
Its first appearance in a car race happened in 1964, at the 1000Km of Nürburgring and revealed itself to be disastrous. It would take the entire season of the following year to develop the original Ford GT version, called Mk I, and make it trustworthy and competitive. And that's how a new, more powerful version was created, the Mk II, which would be the most acclaimed version of all. The Mk III version ensued, which was destined for the road only. At last, the Ford Mk IV, the most powerful of all, was totally redesigned in the USA by Carrol Shelby.
The car had a long career filled with success and completely fulfilled its original goal, as it won the 24 h Le Mans race four four years in a row. The only time this ever happened, at the 1969 edition - the last one - the winner was not only a GT 40, but also the same car that had won the year before! This was also one of the most emotional editions ever, as the victory was only decided in the last few metres, after a fierce competition. Not only did this victory remain in the memory of every GT fan, but the GT 40 itself gained the status of the eternal sports car.
Ford GT40 Mk I
Ford GT40 Mk II
Ford GT40 Mk III
Ford GT40 Mk IV