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Ford GT40

Photo: Walter Pietrowicz
Photo: Walter Pietrowicz

For me, the greatest racecar has to be the Ford GT40, because it’s such a great classic car.  I can’t say that it was the most comfortable of cars for me to drive, given my height—I think I was far too tall, but it was just an enormous pleasure to be behind the wheel of one. It was very, very hot inside, but I grew to have a lot of affection for it. All these considerations are very personal to individuals, I think; a great car doesn’t necessarily have to be particularly successful, but it will hold significance to the driver. My first drive in a GT40 was a test session at Goodwood, on a chilly autumnal day in 1964, under the eagle eye of Ford team manager John Wyer.  Fortunately, I earned his approval by setting a fastest lap within less than a second of Phil Hill’s the week before, something that gives me pleasure to recall after all these years. At the 2006 Goodwood Revival, I was enormously proud to drive a prototype GT40 in the Phil Hill tribute parade, acknowledging his racing achievements—a regular racer at Goodwood, but more importantly America’s first Formula One World Champion, who sadly died on August 28, 2008.

I drove a works Ford GT40 at Le Mans in 1965, and the following year I was a member of the GT40 team that gave Ford its first Le Mans victory, taking the first three places.  Fortune didn’t shine on me in either year, however, as mechanical failures within the first 4 hours of running curtailed progress and led to early retirements.

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