Video: The Ford GT40 successor that you've never heard of

09th June 2023
Simon Ostler

Following a rule change at the end of the 1967 season, the permitted engine capacity of Group 6 sports prototypes was reduced to 3.0 litres, which meant the big V8-engined Ford GT40 was no longer permissible in sportscar racing. It marked the end of Ford’s ventures at the Le Mans 24 Hours, as it, along with the likes of Ferrari, were unhappy with how this new restriction had been implemented.

That didn’t stop privateers from continuing to make use of the GT40, though. It was still eligible to race in the Group 4 sportscar class, and it went on to win at Le Mans in 1968 and ’69 with John Wyer Automotive Engineering.

However, Alan Mann Racing, an integral part of Ford’s works effort throughout the 1960s, decided to develop a new prototype that would meet the updated Group 6 regulations. It was called the Ford P68, or the F3L, and it made use of a new Cosworth engine that Ford had introduced in 1967 – the now legendary DFV.

As you can see from this run up the Goodwood Hill at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, it’s an incredibly low and sculpted prototype, but it’s the sound that is more instantly recognisable, that distinct V8 roar of the DFV is best known for its incredible success in Formula 1, but this is one of the first cars it was ever used in.

Only three Ford P68s were ever made, and the reason you might not have heard of it is quite simple, not only did it not race very much – it only competed in five rounds of the World Sportscar Championship over the course of 1968 and ’69 – it failed to finish on every single occasion. A fully open-cockpit Spyder version, named the P69, was developed with several improvements to try and address the car’s woeful reliability and sub-par performance, but it never even made it to the start line after another its new hydraulic wings were banned by the FIA.

  • Video

  • Ford

  • P68

  • GT40

  • FOS

  • Festival of Speed

  • Hillclimb Action


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