The Father of the GT40: 1963 Lola Mk.6 GT
The Ford GT40 is one of the great tales of automotive achievement, legendary performance, and vindictive vengeance. We like to think of the GT40 as this incredible shape, for which there is no equal. That might be (almost) true.
We know that the GT40 inspired many performance vehicles, such as the DeTomaso Pantera. But a great deal of the GT40 can actually be credited to a company by the name of Lola.
Lola has been building race chassis and bodies for privateer racers for decades. In 1963, they released a mid-engined car called the Mk.6 GT, or Mark 6 GT. It featured a mid-engine placement, a Kammback — which is the name for the high rear that ends abruptly — and a space frame chassis with a very low roofline. Sound familiar?
When the Mk.6 was entered in the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race team did not have a transport vehicle, so they drove it from the factory in Slough, UK, to the track in France. All the Lola team had to do was change the oil for the 4.6-liter Ford V8 before taking to the track. It finished 6th overall.
The folks at Ford were definitely impressed. Along with Henry Ford's desire for revenge on Enzo Ferrari for backing out of a potential deal, he commissioned Lola to build the car that would become the GT40. That iconic vehicle was based largely on the Mk.6, and when the program shifted over to the GT40, only 3 of the Lolas had been built. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these photos of one of the three in existence.