1966 was the year, and the GT40 MkII the car, that finally saw Ford take their revenge on Ferrari by winning at Le Mans. Much like the car itself, this win was largely achieved through brute force. Graham Hill and Brian Muir’s #7 MkII was one of 8 that Ford entered into the race.
Entered by the British team Alan Mann Racing and prepared by Ford Advanced Vehicles, the car nearly didn’t make the race. Dick Thompson, Hill’s original co-driver, had a shunt in practice, colliding with another GT40. After making back to the pits, race officials told the team that Thompson and the car were disqualified.
Only Ford’s director of racing, Leo Beebe, effectively doing the motorsport equivalent of threatened to take his ball home – withdrawing all Fords – saw the car reinstated. But Thompson was not. The Australian Brian Muir was flown in at the 11th hour to partner Hill – doing his first ever laps of the Le Mans circuit during qualifying!