Just as the previous generation Ford GT released in 2005 had a “Heritage Edition” (often called the Gulf Edition) that hearkened back to the 1968 and 1969 Le Mans winning GT40s sporting a similar Gulf Oil livery, the new 2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition recalls the very GT40 that brought Ford global acclaim.
It was 1966 when the Ford GT40 Mark II prepared by Shelby America entered Le Mans to complete Ford’s arch rival – Ferrari. The new Mark II’s, while looking similar to the Mark I GT40, had a larger 7.0-litre engine that was repurposed from NASCAR, this meant that Carol Shelby’s Mk.1 chassis had to be modified a bit to fit in the now larger and heavier V8.
It was this very car that was driven to victory by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in 1966. Ford didn’t just win the 1966 Le Mans but absolutely dominated over Ferrari by taking a 1-2-3 standings with the GT40. The 2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition brings back memories of that year and that very Ford GT that crossed over the finish line first.
The Shadow Black exterior that is pinstriped in the signature Ford GT style gives an instant recollection to what happened 51-years ago when Chris Amon teamed up with Bruce McLaren to challenge the onslaught of Ferraris at Le Mans. The Frozen White #2 on the hood and doors pays homage to the Ford Performance No.2 GT40 Mark II that was raced by Shelby America and won in 1966.
The occasion presented itself perfectly, and I found myself up close with two of the greatest American cars of all time. A 2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition, next to its ancestor that started it all – the 1966 Ford GT40 Mark II. While there’s enough that’s been said and revered about the classic as it barely needs another introduction, Ford’s modern interpretation of the 60s sportscar has been instrumental in every aspect; from design to performance. Everything from the roof line that drops down below the shoulder arches to the interior that is draped with carbon fibre seats and has leather steering wheel, just like the 1966 car.