GT40 ON THE BLOCK

FAMOUS 1966 LE MANS FORD GT40 EXPECTED TO SET A RECORD

CLASSIC NEWS / REVIEWS / CLUB NEWS / AUCTION ACTION / GOTAWAYS

A HIGHLIGHT OF the 2018 Monterey Classic Car week and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will be the auction by R M Sotherby's of a Ford GT40 Mk II that helped Ford humiliate Ferrari in 1966.

Driven to third overall in the 1966 Le Mans classic, the Holman Moody/FoMoCo team GT40 Mk II bears chassis number P/1016.

Ford made history by winning at La Sarthe four years in a row – unprecedented dominance by a single make and model. The first in 1966 saw GT40s sweep to a 1-2-3 result, with chassis P/1016 taking third. Prior to Le Mans it competed in the Sebring 12 Hour race.

Refreshed for Le Mans it was ninth fastest qualifier. By the end of the first race lap it was holding third. Braking issues dropped it to 10th at seven hours. Racing hard it regained 5th place after nine hours, and 4th two hours later.

During hour 17 it took 3rd place. With two Shelby American’s GT40s ahead of it, Ford was assured a 1-2-3 finish achieving the elusive goal of beating Ferrari at Le Mans.

After the race, P/1016 was used for six months as a Le Mans-liveried promotional car. The following season it was used as a test mule in the development of the GT40 Mk IIB. This resulted in the car receiving bigger disc brakes, wider Halibrand rear wheels, lighter bodywork sections, relocated oil tanks and spare wheel, a new heavy-duty roll cage, an aluminium instrument panel, and a fire suppression system.

For the season opener at Daytona in February 1967, driven by rising star Mark Donohue and Revlon cosmetics heir Peter Revson, P/1016 joined two GT40s, but all three cars suffered from output shaft failures.

This marked the last racing appearance of P/1016 in period. It was then fitted with a 7-litre engine and with Mark Donohue driving was timed at 203 mph on the Mulsanne Straight and set fourth fastest lap time overall.

Back in the U.S. and it was donated to William Harrah’s Automobile Collection in Reno, Nevada in 1970.

From 1983 the GT40 passed through a number of hands before collector Peter Livanos acquired it in 1988. Livanos commissioned ex-Shelby mechanics Steele Therkelsen and Carroll Smith (who guided Allan Moffat’s 1-2 Ford finish at Bathurst) to prepare the car for vintage events, where in 1989 famed Le Mans veterans Brian Redman and Jacky Ickx drove it.

In 2004, the current owner, a private collector, returned it to Holman for additional refurbishment. It has been raced at the Le Mans Classic, several of the Classic Endurance Series, including at the Istanbul and Barcelona Grand Prix Circuits, and one each at the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed.

It is being sold in its 1966 Le Mans livery of gold with pink highlights. There’s no doubt P/1016 will be popular among bidders when it goes up for sale in August 2018 and is likely to eclipse the previous record of AUD$14.8 million paid for a GT40 in 2012.