Great Cars #11
By Ray Hutton
This sumptuous book tells the story of one of the world’s most important racing cars. Always raced in Gulf’s iconic blue-and-orange colours, this Ford GT40, known by its chassis number ‘1075’, won the Le Mans 24 Hours not just once but twice, in 1968 and 1969, and the second victory came after the closest fight ever seen at the finish of this great endurance race. Four other championship wins – at Brands Hatch, Spa, Watkins Glen and Sebring – add to this GT40’s distinction as the very best of its breed, driven by ‘greats’ such as Jacky Ickx, Pedro Rodríguez and Brian Redman. The car’s entire competition life is covered in fascinating detail, together with biographies of its drivers and insights into John Wyer’s crack team that ran it, all supported by a fine collection of period photographs.
Early in 1968, after two non-finishes in Florida, at Daytona and Sebring, Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman overcame Porsche’s challenge in the six-hour BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch.
At the Spa 1,000Km in Belgium, torrential rain allowed Ickx to demonstrate his wet-weather mastery on his home circuit and take a second win for ‘1075’, ably supported by Redman.
Back in the USA, with Ickx now partnered by fellow Belgian Lucien Bianchi, Watkins Glen brought a third win amid controversy about team orders.
With Ickx sidelined by injury, Mexican ace Pedro Rodríguez was drafted in to join Bianchi at Le Mans – and they won comfortably after Porsche’s four-car works challenge collapsed.
The second of three outings in 1969 saw a return to the Sebring 12 Hours and an unexpected success for Ickx and Jackie Oliver against formidable new opposition from Porsche, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.
And so to Le Mans again: in this old warhorse’s final race Ickx and Oliver again achieved the unexpected by putting themselves in strong contention for victory – but it was only decided on the last lap.
Ray Hutton’s first race as a working motorsport journalist, the 1968 BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, was also the first win for ‘1075’. Through his reporting in subsequent years, including the epic Le Mans of 1969, he came to know all of the car’s drivers, as well as team manager John Wyer. A long-time editor of Autocar, he has enjoyed a distinguished career in motoring and motorsport journalism. He is honorary president of the International Car of the Year Jury, vice-president of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and an associate member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club. His work has twice won the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Montagu Trophy and the Bentley International Trophy.
Hardbound | 320 pages | 300+ Color & Black and White photos
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 09 November, 2017.