Endurance Icons: Ford GT and GT40 - Two Eras, One Spirit at Le Mans

Fifty years split the original Ford GT and the latest version, and both were created with one goal: to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. Andrew Frankel asks whether their shared history can bridge the passage of time


Jason Fong

Photography Jason Fong  /  Taken from Motor Sport April 2020

It seems strange that the latest Ford GT and the first Ford GT40 are separated by over half a century. Spool back another 50 years or so from the original car’s introduction and you end up at a Ford Motor Company in its infancy, a time when the Model T was just a glint in Henry Ford’s eye.

Today, the modern version has been retired from competition, while the original has become a favourite on the historic racing scene. And here the two Ford GTs sit. Two impossibly low, mid-engined, two-seat sports cars, their family resemblance clear. Unlike almost any other car you’d see on the road, or even in the supercar paddock at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, both the GT and GT40 were designed as racing cars first and adapted for road use second. Which, in the GT40’s case, could simply mean slapping a number plate on a racing car, which is what we have here.