The Mk.I was the original Ford GT40. Early prototypes were powered by 4.2 L (255 cu in) alloy V8 engines and production models were powered by 289 cu in (4.7 L) engines as used in the Ford Mustang. Five prototype models were built with roadster bodywork, including the Ford X-1. Two lightweight cars (of a planned five) were built by Alan Mann Racing in 1966, with light alloy bodies and other weight-saving modifications.
The Mk.I met with little success in its initial tune for the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans races. The first success came after their demise at the Nassau Speed Weekend Nov 1964 when the racing was handed over to Carrol Shelby. Shelby's team modified the Ford GT40 and the first win at Daytona February 1965 was achieved. Much was later modified and run by John Wyer in 1968 and 1969, winning Le Mans in both those years and Sebring in 1969. The Mk.II and IV were both obsolete after the FIA had changed the rules to ban unlimited capacity engines, ruling out the 7.0 L (427 cu in) Ford V8. However, the Mk.I, with its smaller engine, was legally able to race as a homologated sports car because of its production numbers.
In 1968 competition came from the Porsche 908 which was the first prototype built for the 3-liter Group 6. The result of the 1968 was resounding success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Pedro Rodríguez and Lucien Bianchi having a clear lead over the Porsches, driving the almighty #9 car with the 'Gulf Oil' colors. The season began slowly for JW, losing at Sebring and Daytona before taking their first win at the BOAC International 500 at Brands Hatch. Later victories included the Grand Prix de Spa, 21st Annual Watkins Glen Sports Car Road Race and the 1000 km di Monza. The engine installed on this car was a naturally aspirated Windsor 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine with a compression ratio of 10.6:1 fuel feed by four 2-barrel 48 IDA Weber carburetors, rated at 425 hp (431 PS; 317 kW) at 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 395 lb⋅ft (536 N⋅m) at 4,750 rpm
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