Pit Stop for A Winner

Le Mans, Ford GT40, Jacky Ickx, Jackie Oliver

By 1969 there were only two cars which had won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice and here is one, Ford GT40 n. 1075. (The other double winner had been a prewar Bentley.) The winning GT40 is in for a stop during the 1969 race which took place on June 14-15. Belgian Jacky Ickx has climbed into the car as his co-driver, Englishman Jackie Oliver, stands behind the GT40. The man in the white shirt watching at the right rear of the car is probably David Yorke who stood in for team owner John Wyer at JW Automotive Engineering’s  1969 Le Mans effort.

After its 1968 win, Wyer had then sent the same car back in 1969 for another go. The second win for 1075 was much closer than the one in 1968 when the Wyer-entered GT40 had won by five laps. The 1969 24 Hours featured a late race duel between 1075 and a works Porsche 908L driven by Hans Herrmann and Gérard Larrousse. The lead changed several times, including twice during the last lap, leaving the Ford to win from the Porsche by about 400 feet.

The 1969 race had number of other unusual aspects as well. It was the last use of the classic Le Mans start and, to protest the dangers of that run and jump-in process, Jacky Ickx did not run to his car but rather walked across and carefully belted himself in, being virtually the last one away. Porsche had entered two of its new 917s and three 908s, plus another 917 was entered by British privateer John Wolfe. Wolfe, unbelted, crashed at Maison Blanche at the end of the first lap and was thrown out of his rolling 917 and killed while his car’s fuel tank broke loose and exploded, disabling Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312P.

Not only did 1075 win Le Mans twice but also won championship races at Brands Hatch, Spa and Watkins Glen in 1968 and at Sebring in 1969. Today, Ford GT40 n. 1075 is part of an important American collection.

Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

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