Ford GT40 MkIV #2
Ford GT40 MkIV #2
Ford GT40 MkIV #2
The MKIV is known for breaking records both at home and abroad. It only ran in two races: the Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans - the most prestigious race events in all of motorsport. It won both.
About The Ford GT40 MKIV
This victory was no accident. Ford made sure of that. It was specifically, painstakingly designed for endurance, designed for speed…designed to win. Each element of the MKIV was totally different from other GT40s, starting with where it was made. The MKIV was built in the United States, unlike its predecessors the MKI-III cars which were all built in Europe. A company called Kar Kraft built the all-new J series chassis and newly designed long, streamlined bodywork. The MKIV quickly became the most radical and American variant of all the GT40s.
Other modifications were made as well. A NASCAR-style, steel-tube roll cage was added as a direct result of beloved racer Ken Miles’ tragic and ultimately fatal accident. Though it was significantly safer, the roll cage was incredibly heavy. To top it off, driver Dan Gurney was 6' 4" - too tall to fit in the standard GT40. So, the team built the car body around him, lowering the position of the driver’s seat and making a "bubble" shaped piece for the roof of the car This would become known as the "Gurney Bubble" and would be applied to all MKIVs.
This particular beauty, the red MKIV #1, was on the J5 Chassis. Despite its skilled drivers Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt, the red #1 was written off and thought to be least likely to win.
Dan Gurney often complained about its weight. It was a massive 600 pounds heavier than their archrival, the Ferrari 330 P4. During practice at Le Mans in 1967, Gurney developed a strategy in an effort to preserve the brakes - highly stressed under the additional weight of the car. He backed completely off the throttle several hundred yards before the approach to the Mulsanne hairpin (a well-known high-crash zone) virtually coasting into the braking area. This technique (also adopted by his co-driver A.J. Foyt) saved the brakes but increased the car's recorded lap times. Looking on, the Ford team feared that Gurney and Foyt, in their efforts to compromise on chassis settings, had hopelessly "dialed out" their car. However, thanks in part to the car’s incredible aerodynamics, it became the fastest in a straight line that year, topping out at an exceptional 212 mph on the 3.6-mile Mulsanne Straight.
With Drivers A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney at the helm, the red MKIV #1 took the lead within the first 90 minutes and finished an entire four laps ahead of the second-place Ferarri 330 P4.
The overwhelming victory sent the entire team into joyful hysterics. So much so that the pit crew members climbed onto the race-winning car, consequently cracking the bodywork on the nose of the car. That damage to the car’s nose can still be seen on the beautifully preserved car today.
This epic race on Sunday June 11, 1967 is still considered to be the race of the century and this car’s win remains the only all-American victory in Le Mans history.
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