The Ford C100 race car to be designed and built starting in 1981 by the Ford Cologne Deutschland, the German subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. Like Ford GT40 of the ancestor of the sixties, designed to fit between the GT and be only 40 inches high, the name of C100 indicates the class (Group C) and the height of the windscreen (100 centimeters). It is a sports prototype designed precisely according to the dictates of group C, introduced for the 1982 season, although in 1981 it was included in Group 6, then still in force. Initially it was powered by a 4 liter V8 Cosworth DFL, which was later replaced with the 3.3-liter version once it was sold to private teams. Of it were built five examples but, though they were often very quick in qualifying, suffered reliability problems, ottenedo only two hits in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1982 Thundersports single championship victory in 1983.
With the announcement of the entry into force of Group C for 1982, engine performance were limited by the control of fuel consumption, leaving full freedom with regard to displacement and engine configuration, a choice similar to that which had characterized the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1975 had similar rules as a result of the oil crisis. Despite the vibrations that afflicted him and made him ill-suited to endurance racing, the naturally aspirated engine Ford Cosworth DFV (used with success in F1 since 1967) had proved successful for himself, winning at Le Mans in 1980 at the expense of a small boat supercharged Porsche, so the optimism justified Ford gave the green light to the development of sportprototipo C100.
The Cosworth engine in the version DFY three-liter with about 386 kW (525hp), was now under turbo engines in F1, and therefore it was decided to make one specific version (called DFL), increasing the displacement to 3.9 liters in order to be able to deliver more power and torque, especially since the competitors Porsche and Lancia were using turbo engines with about 441 kW (600hp). But this variant proved unreliable, disappointing in 1982 and 1983 on both the C 100 than in other cars, leading to the decision to reduce the displacement to 3.3 liters.
The Ford project was discontinued at the end of 1982 after only one full season, in a manner similar to what has already happened with the prototype P68 Ford Cosworth V8 powered 1968/1969.
The Ford Motor Company built and developed a single C100 in 1981, providing it with the 4-liter Cosworth DFL. Although Ford had tried to make her take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1981, the car has not raced in France, instead of three months after debuting at the 1000km of Brands Hatch. Manfred Winkelhock and Klaus Ludwig were the drivers of the car officially registered by the American home, signing the pole position and pulling of 1.1 seconds, the Lola T600 officer Guy Edwards and Emilio de Villota. Unfortunately for Ford, a break with the exchange rate pushed the car to retire after 40 laps, leaving the victory to Lola Edwards/de Villota
For the 1982 season were assembled four other cars, which were used in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) and in collaboration with the World Endurance Zakspeed, which already bore the track in the DRM Ford Capri Turbo. With its C100, now recorded in “Group C”, Ludwig yet started its season with a retreat at the first race of DRM, held at the Zolder circuit, and then get a tenth place in the second race, which took place Hockenheimring (Sebbenesi was retired on the 17th lap, the distance allowed him to still be classified).
The German branch of Ford brought one C100 to 1000km of Monza, the opening race of the World Endurance: Winkelhock, Ludwig and Marc Surer divided the wheel of car number “02″, although at first the Ford had written a second car (with chassis number “03″) to Surer and Klaus Niedzwiedz.
The C100 retreated once again, this time because of an overheating after 18 laps. Ludwig then jumped the DRM race at the Nð²¢µrgring, Surer and Niedzwiedz jumped both the 1000km of Silverstone, while Winkelhock and Ludwig took part in this race, completing a first run with the C100: eighth overall and fifth among the cars of the Group C. The same couple retired again at the 1000km of the Nð²¢µrgring due to a rupture of the differential after 31 laps, coming comiunque classified in twentieth position.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1982 proved even less fruitful: the three entered cars from Ford, only two competed, with Surer and Ludwig to the chassis rail and Winkelhock # 04 and # 03 Niedzwiedz on the frame, but both withdrew for electrical trouble after 71 and 67 laps respectively. At the next race at the Norisring DRM Winkelhock and Ludwig drove the two cars entered, with the first one who got the first podium of C100 placing second behind the Porsche 956 of Jochen Mass, while the second came eighth with two laps down.
At the next race held Hockenheimring, Ludwig improved the result of team-mate ottenedo the first victory with nearly 5 seconds ahead of Zakspeed Capri Turbo Niedzwiedz, while Winkelhock had retired to ignition problems after 11 laps. At that point the DRM held the third race of the season at Hockenheim, where the transmission trouble Ludwig stopped after 28 laps.
The subsequent use of the C100 was in the world at the 1000km of Spa, where Surer and Ludwig piloted the car number “05″, with Winkelhock and Niedzwiedz in “03″, but once again both cars retired. The C100 was entered in the last race of the DRM 1982 again at the Nð²¢µrgring, where Ludwig led to the victory of pulling more than 37 seconds, the Ford Capri Niedzwiedz.
Ford ended the season by recording three cars at the 1000km of Brands Hatch: Surer, Ludwig and Winkelhock in the C100 “03″, Winkelhock and Niedzwiedz in “05″ and Jonathan Palmer and Desiree Wilson with the “04″. The American sportprototipo dominated qualifying, with the car Surer/Ludwig/Winkelhock in pole position and that of Winkelhock/Niedzwiedz to complete the first row; Lancia LC1 the two officers were slower than about two seconds, while the C100 Palmer/Wilson qualified eighth. After the couple Winkelhock/Niedzwiedz had been involved in an accident on lap four of the group, the other two cars ended the race with Palmer and Wilson in the fourth position (second class) and Surer/Ludwig/Winkelhock immediately behind them. At year end, Klaus Ludwig was the pilot of the C100 is better placed in the DRM, fourth with 83 points, which in the world, where he finished 39th with 11 points.
A separate merit the other cars, the Zakspeed always acquired in 1983 and which continued to change in order to maintain competitiveness, so as to rename them Zakspeed C1/4 and Zakspeed C1/8, depending on the number of cylinders of the engine used: with Klaus Niedzwiedz one of them made his league Interserie 1984.