Ford unveils the GT ’66 Heritage Edition tribute model to its 1966 Le Mans victory. Plus some unseen footage of its ’66 race with ‘reflections from Ford icons’ on commentary[Not a valid template]
Were you aware that Ford won the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans? If not, we’d like to know what kind of sound-insulated rock you’ve been hiding under since Ford announced the brand new GT would race in the 2016 race, given that pretty much all of the furore surrounded this nugget of information: ‘could Ford win on the 50th anniversary of its first Le Mans victory?’, etc, etc
You might have thought then that this particular drum had been banged beyond exhaustion, especially given that Ford completed a fairy-tale weekend by taking LMGTE-Pro category victory and placing two cars on the class podium. But no, and proof of that particular pudding arrives courtesy of the recently announced GT ’66 Heritage Edition.
As far as we can tell, there have been no performance modifications made to the GT at all for this limited edition run, the Heritage Edition retaining the GT’s 600bhp 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, sport-tuned suspension and seven-speed transmission gear ratios. So yes, the new Heritage Edition is primarily a facelift, featuring as it does gold 20in alloys, gold-accented leather upholstery, plus Shadow Black and Frozen White graphics, the latter reminiscent of the livery used on Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon’s Mk II GT40 in 1966.
Yep, another sodding limited edition. Don’t despair though, for while the admittedly gorgeous Heritage Edition will remain just a footnote (if that) in Ford’s Le Mans history, it’s quite a different matter to the GT40 Mk II on which it’s, ahem, ‘based’. As well as winning Ford’s first ever Le Mans, the GT40 Mk II locked out the podium outright with a 1-2-3. The ’66 race was also the first of an eventual four wins on the bounce for Ford at Le Mans, a result that wouldn’t be repeated until Porsche in 1984. But more than that, it was a mighty middle finger to Ferrari after a planned takeover had gone south when Il Commendatore changed his mind at the 11th hour. It was also the climax a season-long humiliation for Maranello: first place at Le Mans would eventually secure the International Manufacturers Championship – essentially the forerunner to the World Sportscar Championship – for Ford, over Ferrari, by just two points.