Ford GT & Cobra owners, racers and Roy Lunn’s friends and family gathered at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club in Sarasota, FL on December 19, 2015 to celebrate the legendary engineer and designer, known as the Godfather of the GT40. His accomplishments led to Ford’s domination of international sports car racing in the mid-late-1960s.
On June 19th, 2016, racing enthusiasts, friends of the Blue Oval, automotive journalists and historians, and the Ford Motor Company, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of what is probably the most iconic event in auto racing history. It was on June 19th, 1966, when three GT40 Mark II-As, raced by Bruce McLaren & Chris Amon, Ken Miles & Denny Hulme and Ronnie Bucknum & Dick Hutcherson crossed the finish line, respectively – One-Two-Three – to win the 24 Hours of LeMans and change the face of sports car racing.
“I want to congratulate you on your creative role in the historic Ford victory at Le Mans and winning the World GT Championship,” Don Frey, Ford vice-president and general manager, in a letter to Roy Lunn dated June 28, 1966.
It was the first-ever overall win for an American carmaker and the first of four consecutive wins of the world’s most prestigious race. In 1967 a Mark IV J-6, driven by Dan Gurney & A.J. Foyt, took the win and, in 1968 and 1969, a singular early GT40, raced by Pedro Rodriguez & Lucian Bianchi and Jackie Ickx & Jackie Oliver, respectively, made it three and four in a row. For the first time, America and Ford had dominated International road racing.
Ford’s GT40, Mark IIs and Mark IV were designed, engineered and developed under Roy Lunn’s direction at Ford’s Skunk Works, Kar-Kraft. Lunn was manager of the Advanced Concepts Group.
Martyn Schorr, Ford GT owner and author of FORD TOTAL PERFORMANCE, which includes details of Roy Lunn’s career at Ford and Kar-Kraft and the history of the GT40, organized the Tribute.
Neil Ressler, a retired Ford engineer and vice-resident and former head of Advanced Vehicle Technology, attended with his Ford GT. He was chairman of Jaguar Racing and Cosworth Racing in 1999 and involved in the mid-engined GN34 Concept sports car which evolved into the 2005-2006 Ford GT, the spiritual successor to the GT40. He retired in 2001 after 34 years and returned to be join the Ford GT Team.
The Show Of Force included nine Ford GTs, including a rare GTX1 and CP4 (Confirmation Prototype 4), the seventh prototype built. Nine Cobras, including a vintage FIA Cobra built by AC Cars, rounded out the loud and colorful field!
For additional information about Roy Lunn and his career in the automotive industry, please contact Martyn L. Schorr, MLSchorr@Verizon.Net.