On the 50th anniversary of the GT40 podium sweep at Le Mans, a Ford GT bopped Ferrari and Corvette on the bean and took first place in its class.
After 50 years… game on!
Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais piloted the No. 68 GT to victory. The group started the race in the pole position, and spent much of the 24-hour race at or near the top of the leaderboard. Hand was in the driver’s seat when the GT took first place in the 20th hour and never gave it up.
After the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 grabbed 2nd, the No. 69 Ford GT rounded out the podium in third place, and the No. 66 GT finished fourth.
Ford invested big time to create this generation GT in time for the 50th anniversary of the podium sweeping victory wrought from Ferrari in 1966. The GT40 also won in 1967, 1968 and 1969 before “dropping the mic” and leaving the race. That 1966 race was a grudge match, as Henry Ford wanted to beat Enzo Ferrari in the Italian’s back yard after Enzo balked at a Ford buyout.
Last year’s winner, the No. 64 Corvette burst open a tire wall at Turn 1 after driver Tommy Milner lost control. Corvettes finished seventh and 10th.
As for the LMP1 class, Porsche defended its title after Toyota screwed the pooch in the final moments.
With the No. 5 TS050 Hybrid, Toyota had been poised to clinch its first Le Mans victory. Inside the final 10 minutes, driver Kazuki Nakajima was comfortably ahead of Porsche – leading by 1 minute, 24 seconds. But he lost power and halted on the pit straight with five minutes left — overtaken by Porsche’s Neel Jani. For Nakajima, this was deja vu all over again, as he had lead the race in 2014, until forced to retire.
During the 24 hours of the race, the top tier drivers drive OVER 3,000 miles – more than are traversed in an entire F-1 season. They average over 120 miles an hour, for 24 hours. Top drivers and teams compete while navigating a jumble of different classes, with vastly different capabilities and driver acumen.
Our automotive artists have captured the drama and history of this race. Click on LE MANS to see all.
In his BENTLEY @ LE MANS, Charles Maher has painted the Bentley winning Le Mans in 2003, 73 years since it dominated the race.
Maher has painted the first generation GT40s. His GULF GT40 #6 captures the #1075 chassis, that won Le Mans in 1968 and 1969. BLACK GT40 is Maher’s portrayal of the first of Ford’s winning GT-40s. The winner was black, not baby blue & orange!
We have prints of Maher dramatizing the ASTON MARTIN that won Le Mans in 1959. This is the racer Roy Savadori and Carroll Shelby drove at an average speed of 112 mph, in the magnificent DBR-1.
A more stirring print than Maher’s 44 inch long COBRA @ SEBRING, you will not find. Maher painted the Peter Brock designed coupe version of the Cobra, the Daytona Coupe, to help Shelby contest in the World Manufacturer’s Championship, which pitted Shelby against the Ferrari GTO. The print is panoramic!
With one of these prints, you don’t have to wait a year to thrill to Le Mans.