Will Lightning Strike Again?
So driving your heart out, making your shifts over the last 24 hours, busting your bearings against the world’s most iconic brands and drivers, proving you, Ken Miles and Dennis Hulme behind the wheel of a Ford 7 liter powered GT40 Mark II supercar deserve a rousing trophy hoist in the winner’s circle of 1966’s Le Mans 24 hour endurance race. You’re about to make your statement putting the rest of the racing world on notice: Ford Motor Company builds cars capable of enduring more and outperforming all others. You can taste it!
Ken’s at the wheel. Victory’s in sight. Miles & teammate Dennis Hulme’s previous 24 hours blur speed, adrenalin and pride as the finish line lies ahead with Ferrari’s P3 entrants nothing more than carcasses along the roadside. Ford’s hierarchy, though, radioed out instruction: All three finishing Ford GT40 Mark II’s were to cross the finish line together. Take that Enzo! Ford’s 3 car team finish posted single digit salutes ending a race going down in history with, if not the most dominant win in Le Mans’ record books to date, at least the most controversial finish. Slowing his GT40, Miles, leading most of Ford’s race, allowed Bruce McClaren and Chris Amon’s Mark II across the finish line first.
Road and Track’s September,1966 Le Mans summary article provided me by The Glen’s International Motor Racing Research Center carefully details teammates Miles and Hulme endurance of 359 Circuit de la Sarthe 8.357 mile laps. 359 Dunlop curves. 359 Mulsanne Straights. 3009.2 race record miles. This car, this very body, engine, transmission, steering wheel; all of it, running 24 hours carrying designers’, engineers’, mechanics’, drivers’, planners’ best efforts, and, for that matter the entire Ford Motor Company itself along with Shelby American, into automobile racing lore. Yet within victory’s view, driver Ken Miles decelerated.
While numerous events celebrating Ford’s supercar winners run this weekend and other times surrounding this anniversary, the real Le Mans 1966 winner wasn’t car #1, GT40P/1015. It was just the fastest. Many thanks to the Larry H. Miller Group for allowing me access to this thoroughbred vehicle.
4 Ford’s GT cars qualified under class GTE Pro. Will Ford recapture Le Mans glory with their newest GT incarnation? Tune in to Fordperformance.tv and watch! Race begins Saturday, June 18, 3 PM local time in Le Mans, 9AM Eastern, 6 AM Pacific, US. Go Ford!
See you at the track.