The old race car is definitely in its element.
Thanks to more public awareness from the Ford v Ferrari movie, the Ford GT40 is enjoying a lot of attention lately. While movie magic is a lot of fun, it’s interesting to see these race cars in real life. Unfortunately, the rarity of GT40s means just seeing one parked is a treat, so being in one while it’s whipping around turns in a track isn’t realistic. However, you can get a better feel for what that would be like by watching the video below.
Professional driver Olivier Galant took a Ford GT40 Mk I for a good flogging around Circuit Paul Ricard during the recent 2019 Dix Mille Tours. It’s a wonderful event where you get to see all kinds of historic race cars strut their stuff, including this legendary Ford.
While it was the Ford GT40 Mk II which won the 1966 Le Mans, it’s still interesting to see a Mk I stretching its legs. Like any true race car, it lacks all the sound deadening designs for the exhaust, making it wondrously loud and entertaining just at idle. Of course, at wide open throttle things get even louder and it’s glorious. The driver has to stay incredibly engaged in a number of ways, because this car has a manual transmission and no power steering, among other challenging quirks. But as you can see in the video, it’s a real performer.
It’s not entirely clear what spec this GT40 Mk I is running, but it’s likely not what Ford used int the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans. Those races were disastrous for the factory teams, but we all know what happened when Carrol Shelby was brought on board and made some serious changes for the Ford GT40 Mk II.
If you don’t know, the Circuit Paul Ricard is a track located in Le Castellet, France, which is near Marseille. It’s 3.63 miles long and hosts a number of races each year for Formula 2, the F1 World Championship, and the European Le Mans Series, to name a few.