A thin line exists between racing and street legal cars. When the Ford GT returned in 2004, critics said it was inspired by the legendary GT40, but it lacked the proportions and the pedigree to be a proper contender on the world stage. We disagree with every part of this. After driving John Hennessey’s HPE 1000, it gave me immense respect for the chassis, interior layout, and the incredible build quality Ford put into the project.
Many aftermarket companies offered bolt-ons and performance parts, but they were not enough to get the car track ready. Enter Martin Berak, he has been a GT40 fan all his life, so he formed Matech Concepts in 2007. Their goal was to take the Ford GT and make it a dominant force in the GT3 Championship.
To accomplish this, an initial order was placed for 25 cars. He and his team built several GT3 cars, and in only 4 months they debuted in the European GT3 series. Martin took turns with veteran racer Thomas Mutsch, and it yielded a first place win on the streets of Bucharest.
Ford was initially reticent to allow them to field the car at LeMans, but after the successful ’07 season Matech essentially became a factory-backed team. Their goal was to build a GT1 car for LeMans, which can cost several million dollars and many late nights. To get insights from someone who has been there, they enlisted the help of Count Marc Van der Straten, the owner of MarcVDS Racing. They hired Enrique Scalabroni to design the car, as he was famous for Williams’ F1 victories in ’86 & ’87. He was also Ferrari’s chief of design from 87-90.
With these big names on the project, Ford opened the gates of their testing center in Cologne to make sure the car was ready to race. Development took place throughout 2009, and the car was formally unveiled at Yas Marina on April 17th of 2010. Taking first place, the Ford GT1 caught everyone’s attention. May 9th was the 1,000 km of Spa, and the GT1 locked out the podium with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies.
Needless to say, the Ford GT1 beat up everyone from Aston Martin to Team Corvette bringing home 5 pole positions, 4 wins and another 5 podium finishes. The rules limited the engine size to 5.3 liters, or 325 ci. The NASCAR division of Roush-Yates delivered a 650 horsepower monster with 531 lb-ft of torque. Given the FIA’s balance of performance rules, it was wise to choose an engine designed to run under a restrictor plate. Tuned for 102 octane, the solid lifter masterpiece is still ready to race.
There is only 1 Ford GT1 for sale, and we’re glad to help you get behind the wheel. This chassis is MarcVDS car #40, and it secured several top 5 finished in the 2010 season. The car is owned by none other than Lance Miller, the Co-Owner of Carlisle Events, and one of the world’s most famous collectors.
He has this to say about it: “The car is simply amazing in every aspect. You point the car, it goes. You hit the brakes, is quickly decelerates. The power is really strong, the shifter is incredibly precise and instantaneous. I thought the car would be quite intimidating, however, after a few laps I felt comfortable and found out quickly I was having the time of my life! Any racer will love this car; it’s fast, sexy, stops swiftly and handles extremely well!
Winning Driver Thomas Mutsch: “The noise level in the car was okay. Of course, we needed ear plugs for the radio, but without them you would cause damage to your ears after just 30 minutes. We had no silencers, open pipes all the way to the end which made it very, very loud. I remember particularly in Abu Dhabi, with the stand opposite us, when the car passed by, you really had to put your fingers in your ears, as it was just too loud. It really hurt. We measured the noise level in a drive by at Paul Ricard at 128 decibels.”