The original GT40 first raced at Le Mans in 1964 and was not very successful with all three cars retiring, but the experience gained then and in 1965 allowed the Mark II to dominate the race in 1966 with a 1-2-3 finish. The Mark IV won the following year (when four Mark IVs three Mark IIs and three Mark Is raced) and after a rules change re-engined Mark Is won the race in 1968 and 1969. Rule changes again in 1970 rendered the car obsolete.
The Mark III was a road-car only, of which 7 were built.
Just as with many classic sportscars, several companies made replicas of the GT40 - of varying quality. One of the best such companies was Safir Engineering, which bought the rights to the name "GT40" in 1985, and built cars until 1999 with chassis numbers continuing the sequence where the original Ford cars stopped.
At the 2002 Detroit Auto Show, a new GT40 Concept was unveiled by Ford. This is to be put on sale in 2003 as part of Ford's centenary. Curiously, Ford had never claimed "GT40" as a trademark. Demands of $40 million from Safir for the name were rejected, and the car will be known officially as the "Ford GT".
|Year||Car||Drivers||Distance (miles)||Av. Speed (mph)|
|1966||Ford GT40 Mk II||C.Amon, B.McLaren||3009.4||125.39|
|1967||Ford GT40 Mk IV||D.Gurney, A.J. Foyt||2630.2||135.48|
|1968||Ford GT40 Mk I||P.Rodriguez, L.Bianchi||2766.9||115.29|
|1969||Ford GT40 Mk I||J.Ickx, J.Oliver||3105.6||129.40|