Rebuilding A Racing Car Legend

In the mid to late 1960s Ford’s GT40s, driven by Jackie Ickx, drove competitors into the ground, including top rival Ferrari, at legendary Le Mans – the pinnacle race on the endurance calendar. Almost 40 years later, executives at Ford are given the green light to rebuild a production version of the famous Ford GT – a classic sports car for the modern market. Rebuilding A Racing Car Legend screens at 7pm on Saturday 1 March on TVNZ Family on TVNZ 6.

The chance to rebuild a racing car legend is a dream come true for a small team of Ford engineers and designers. But with that opportunity comes plenty of pressure. They have to deliver three show cars for the company’s centennial celebrations just 15 months away. That’s less than a third of the time of a normal rebuild schedule and with one-tenth the number of staff. The team will live in a pressure cooker environment until those cars roll out. Failure is not an option.

But what will the new car look like? The designers and engineers begin their journey in turning a racing legend into a production super car and there are dramas along the way. Simple things like wind-down windows, which didn’t exist in the race car, become serious problems for a production vehicle and safety issues are time-consuming road blocks.

As problems are resolved and early versions take to the track, excitement builds amongst the team members. And history has the chance to repeat itself with an on-track duel between the Ford GT and its target vehicle, the Ferrari 360, at the testing Road Atlanta circuit. History is being rewritten. The Ford GT is back.

Saturday 1 March at 7pm on TVNZ 6