Wrecked, designated for transmission testing, and modified for street use, the 1966 Ford GT40 with chassis number P/1046 might not have initially had the retirement befitting a car that famously won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But it’s now back in its Le Mans livery and will once again go under the spotlight at this fall’s London’s Hampton Court Concours of Elegance.
Driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon at Le Mans in 1966, P/1046 wasn’t supposed to win the race. When it was clear in the closing laps that Ford GT40s would occupy the first, second and third positions (delivering the ultimate insult to Ferrari, which saw just two privateer teams in the top 10), the race-leading car of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme was asked to slow up and allow the GT 40s of McLaren / Amon and Ronnie Bucknum / Dick Hutcherson to form rank. Ford’s intent was to have all three cars cross the line simultaneously, signifying that a car, not a particular driver, had won the race. Le Mans sanctioning body Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) would have none of this, as in its eyes, every race needed to have a declared winner. Though Miles’s car had been ahead in the closing laps, McLaren’s car was ruled to have traveled eight meters farther in the equivalent time, so it was awarded the victory.
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