the Ford GT40
The I recently spent an afternoon racing a
Ford GT40 around a tortuous figure of eight
circuit in West Wales. But it wasn't just me:
my other half, Gwyn, was driving another GT40,
the anglo-american sports car that showed Enzo
how to do it properly back in the 1960s.
It took quite some time to get used to the
controls, gently feathering the throttle as I
negotiated the tight hairpins. There's a
mixture of fear, getting used to a mid-engined
car's handling, mixed with the competitive
edge of not letting Gwyn, under any
circumstances, get past.
Gradually I got used to the car's crisp
handling, roaring down the straights at high
speed, backing off sharply for the hairpins,
then sticking the power back on as I powered
out. Luckily the GT40 is a forgiving old
beast, tolerating an inexperienced pilot like
Gwyn got on the pace appreciably quicker
than I did, barreling past me as we came up on
the chicanes, and soon her car's tail lights
were a dim and distant view.
But perhaps a little high-speed driving
experience, like a little knowledge, is a
Gwyn managed to roll the GT40 she was
driving, and it ended up off the track and on
its roof. Luckily she wasn't hurt, and the car
suffered very little damage.
Before this we'd had 10 laps of door
handle to door handle racing, almost banging
the rear wheelarches as we power-slid out of
the hairpins side by side, with just
enough time to let the mighty Ford straighten
up for a straight-line sprint before the next
hairpin. At one point there is a small bridge
where the track crosses over itself, and
keeping the cars from leaping in the air
necessitated further throttle control.
A quick dust over and it was back on the
track. Both drivers, refreshed by a cup of
rosie lee (tea in Cockney rhyming slang) and
digestive biscuits, were soon back at the
Oh, I forgot to say: you didn't think we
were racing REAL GT40s did you? Sadly not.
Instead we were trying out our new Scalextric
GT40 set! It's great fun, and it's more
exciting than any computer-based motor racing
game. And if you roll these GT40s, all you'll
damage is your ego.
the author: Richard Barnett is a lifelong car enthusiast who has also been lucky enough
to work with cars throughout his professional career. He claims to have
started his motoring interest when he was two and a half years old.
During his working life Richard has sold motoring books, run a motoring
library, done motor industry consultancy, been a motoring journalist
(writing stories for the now defunct
AutoClassic, Classic and Sportscar and
Autosport) and currently works in motor industry pr.
A member of Britain's prestige Royal Automobile Club, Richard is also a
member of the Society of Automotive Historians, the Vintage Sports Car Club,
the Historic Sports Car Club and the Classic Rally Association.
He has an extensive motoring library and attends as many historic motor
racing events as his calendar allows.
Richard owns a Lancia Flaminia and his favourite car is a Facel Vega