Ferrari Exit’s Ford Deal – And Sparks a Racing Legend
The GT40 might never have happened… imagine for a moment that Ford’s Ferrari deal succeeded in 1963. Ford was committed, but a clause in the contract removed Enzo Ferrari’s racing autonomy. With that violation, Ferrari walked. Enzo and Henry Ford II were furious, yet both companies claimed the split was mutual. Looking back, that moment was the conception of the GT40 rather than the failure of a deal. The history of one of this world’s most iconic GT Sports Racers wouldn’t be if the Ferrari deal had succeeded. Free of Ferrari, Ford was ready to create their own legend… and had only ten months to do it before Le Mans in 64.
Ferrari Was The Undisputed King of Le Mans – Until Ford Entered the Ring
Ford’s eventual 1,2,3 win in 1966 was extraordinary, considering Ferrari was the undisputed champion at Le Mans from 1960-1965 with six consecutive wins. Ford, in two years, lacking Ferrari’s Goliath-like decades of experience – accomplished the near impossible. The GT40 owned the checkered flag four years straight through 1969. The effort was colossal, the wins became sweeter through earlier failures and the school of hard knocks. Planning, hard work, and lots of funding combined with the right talent were the winning ingredients.
The GT40 began Life as a Lola Designed by its Founder Eric Broadley
Lola Cars – Eric Broadley was known for his race-winning, innovative designs. An architect by training turned race car designer-builder, Broadley founded Lola to satisfy his auto racing passion. If it hadn’t been for the Lola MK6, Ford would have had a tough job creating the GT40 from scratch with so little time. Many mods and design changes steadily evolved the MK6 into Ford’s GT40 creation. In hindsight, the MK6 was destined to become the GT40.