Le Mans Classic 2012


Images: Magneto for Influx

There’s probably been more motoring column inches dedicated to the Ford GT40 than to any other racing car of the last half a century. There’s a reason why.

At the Le mans Classic, to see these monstrously powerful, fathomlessly rakish racing cars powering through the straights of la Circuit de la Sarthe at speeds of over 200MPH hour is breathtaking. Fifty years on from their conception, they remain the most spectacular example of race-focussed design and engineering we, at least, have ever witnessed.

And the thing is about the GT40 is, that unlike, say, the Porsche Racers, which came to dominate the 24 Hours in the seventies, there isn’t a sense of individuality about them. In fact, each GT40 seems, in a way, to be cut from the same cloth as one another – though the format developed and evolved greatly in terms of its beneath-the-skin identity from the early sixties until the Mark IV cars of the late sixties; that Ford brawn remained unrepentantly, unapologetically, the same.

But for us, the MK IVs are not what we think of as true GT40s. The true GT40s where the ones with that devastatingly snarling visage and the long, stubby-ended profile, the ones that dominated and slew Ferrari’s – a mission that was of course, the car’s birth right.

And one thing that is often missed – associated as it was so much with Henry Ford, Detroit and Carroll Shelby – that the MK I & 2 were British through and through.

Yet another superb victory for Team GB.