Video: GT40 racers take Revival by storm
Iconic racers celebrate 50 years of thunder
If you can't beat 'em in the boardroom, trounce 'em on the track. That sounds simple but it's a pretty accurate summing up of the Ford vs Ferrari battle of the 1960s. It was to give rise to what is unquestionably one of the most handsome, successful, charismatic and beloved racing cars of all time.
The Ford GT40 is 50. The project – a coming together of an Eric Broadley-designed Lola chassis and Ford powertrain – began in 1963 after talks to corral the prancing horse in the Ford stable collapsed. Ford’s response: to build its own car to win Le Mans. Surely everyone knows what happened next, with GT40s beating Ferrari, and everyone else, to win Le Mans in 1966, ‘67, ’68 and ’69. Even for such an amazing race with so many amazing feats, it was a truly astonishing four-run winning streak.
Ford GT40s (and MkIIs etc) are no strangers to Goodwood but such an anniversary clearly demands something special. This year’s Revival was the place to provide it – not just a gathering of GT40s but a wholesale taking-over of the Whitsun Trophy race by nothing but GT40s. A whole grid-full of GT40s. The ultimate one-make race. For the first time. Ford heaven doesn’t get better than this.
To get under the skin of this iconic car we talked to people who own it, race it, and look after it. People like historic racer Martin Stretton, Indy 500 champ Kenny Brack, Sir Jackie Stewart who drove the GT40 both in period and at the Revival, GT40 team manager Florin Moulin, and Red Bull Racing chief tech officer Adrian Newey.
You can hear what they think about the GT40 in our video, and watch – and listen – as they tame the beast. Kenny is the one sawing away at the wheel on what was a rather wet track. As he says, “It’s quite lively to drive so you have to be a little bit careful.” Anything you say Kenny.
We will leave the last word to five times Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro. He says that a car’s performance, look, sound or history can all help establish a bond with a car. But for the GT40, he says, “It’s like it is with people. It's chemistry.”
The GT40 is the racer the whole world has a bond with.