- The iGlobe
24 Hour Le Man's
By Teo Summer Starr
The 24 hour of Le Man's was not only an endurance race, but a race to see who could make a better car. So in the early 1960s, Ford set out to beat Ferrari in producing a better car for Le man's, this car would be later known as the mighty Ford GT40.
The Ford GT40 was launched to Ford to win sports car races against Ferrari, like the Le Man's race, which Ferrari had won 5 consecutive times. The first GT40 was the Mk 1 which featured 4.2 L alloy V8 engines, but 4.7 L engines powered later models.
The Mk.1 was met with very little success, losing each of the 1964 and 1965 Le Man's races. The cars were eventually handed over to Carrol Shelby. Shelby's team tuned the GT40, finally getting a win at Daytona. The Mk.I also won Le Man's in 1968 and 1969 as the Mk II and the Mk. IV were both obsolete after the FIA changed the rules and banned unlimited capacity engines, making the Mk. II and the Mk. IV underivable in races
Â The Mk.II was very similar in appearance to the Mk. I but used a 7.0-litre engine. The car's chassis was also identical Mk. I chassis, but it and other parts of the vehicle had to be redesigned and modified by Shelby to accommodate the larger and heavier 427 engine. While test driving the car, the driver, Ken Miles, almost got killed when the brakes failed, this was portrayed in the movie Ford Vs. Ferrari. In 1966, the Mk.II dominated Le Mans, taking audiences by surprise and beating Ferrari to the finish.
In an effort to attempt to make a car with better aerodynamics and lighter weight For produced the J-car. The entire vehicle weighed only 2,660 pounds and had a 7.0-litre engine. During a test session in August 1966 with Ken Miles, the car went out of control on a straight and crashed, going up in flames with Ken inside. Ken sadly died that day. The J-car was the influence for the Mk. IV.
In 1967 Ford made the Mk. IV, powered by the same 7.0-litre engine as the Mk. II.
The Mk. IV used new bodywork and chassis. As a result of Mile's death, they installed a cage in the Mk.IV, which made it much safer, but the roll cage was so heavy that it wasted a lot of weight. The car was one of the fastest in a straight line that year, achieving speeds over 200 Mph on the 3.6amile Mulsanne Straight. The car only ran two events, 12 hours of Sebring and the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans, it won both events. The installation of the roll cage paid off as it saved Mario Andretti who crashed violently during the 1967 24 hours of Le Man's.