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RPM TV Website | April 20, 2019

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Special Ford GT’s smart livery a reminder of greatness

Special Ford GT’s smart livery a reminder of greatness
Deon Schoeman

The Ford GT supercar may not even be on sale yet, but the Dearborn auto maker has already unveiled a so-called ’66 Heritage Edition, just days after the marque scored a LMGTE Pro class victory at the famous Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race.

The striking black and silver sports car pays homage to the Ford GT40 which took the overall honours in the 1966 Le Mans race, exactly 50 years ago. That car was piloted by New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.

The black and silver livery, originally inspired by the national colours of the race-winning drivers, also includes the No. 2 race car number worn by the winning car, as well as featuring a bespoke interior decked out in ebony leather, with exposed carbon fibre sills.

The No.2 GT40 that won one of motorsport’s most coveted trophies in 1966 headed up an historic one-two-three finish for the Ford GT40 that year, giving the Blue Oval a clean sweep of the Le Mans podium.

In what was clearly an all-out effort to repeat the feat a half-century later, four works-supported Ford GTs, fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, tackled the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hour race. The cars were entered in the LMGTE Pro class, also contested by Ferrari, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Porsche.

While Ford won the class with the No. 18 car of Joey Hand, Sebastian Bourdais and Drik Müller, it failed to achieve the one-two-three result it was hoping for. Spoiling the Blue Oval party was the Ferrari 488 of Giancarlo Fisichella, Tony Vilander and Mateo Malucelli, which challenged for the class lead throughout.

That left the No. 69 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon to take the third spot on the GTE Pro podium, with the No. 66 car of Oliver Pla, Stefan Mücke and Billy Johnson fourth in class.

The Fords showed tremendous pace in qualifying, prompting an increased minimum weight and a smaller restrictor imposed by the race organisers before the race started. Even so, the new sports car dominated the class, with Fisichella’s lone Ferrari the only thorn in the Blue Oval’s side.

The ’66 Heritage Edition will be produced in limited numbers only, and will only be offered as part of the 2017 model year. With total production limited to just 500 cars in the first two years, the chances of actually seeing one of these rare machines are pretty remote, however.

The first deliveries in the US and Europe are expected later this year.

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