The Ford P68, also called Ford 3L GT or F3L, in 1968, was a racing sports car for the newly introduced class of prototypes to three liters.
After 1967, not only had won again at Le Mans a used Ford USA variant of the Ford GT40, equipped with seven liters of displacement, but also scored very high speeds, was short already for 1968, the engine capacity of built in small numbers prototypes to three liters as in the formula 1 limited. These concerns were also the Ferrari 330P with 4 liters. Although Ferrari had a proper formula 1 engine, they took in 1968 in protest not in sports car races while increased until 1969 with the Ferrari 312P again.
Ford had mid-1967 the Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 engine introduced in Formula 1. This engine, which was until 1982 very successful in Formula 1, also promised success in endurance racing, although there the peak power had to be reduced in order to achieve the necessary stability. As a performance called Ford Through 420hp at 9000/min and a maximum torque of 37.3kgm (366 Nm) at 7000 rpm. As years earlier with the GT40 Ford Europe commissioned a re- British team to build a suitable car.
Alan Mann Racing and aerodynamics expert Len Bailey presented in early April 1968 in Brands Hatch two very flat, streamlined vehicles before, the pro forma had a skylight to be considered as open. The vehicles were 91 cm high and had a frontal area of ??1.20 mÒ® Their partial load-bearing aluminum body was associated with a welded from light metal sheets and riveted frame. Bow and stern hood could fold up completely, so that all aggregates easily were accessible. The curb weight of the car was about 670kg. The brake discs with a diameter of 30 cm were the side of the 15 Rims and not in the wheel discs placed in order to introduce the cooling air better.
One of the two cars had Jim Clark to go, but on the verge of a fatal accident in a Formula 2 race at the Hockenheimring. The new cars from Ford had problems. Nevertheless, Bruce McLaren achieved the second best training time, behind a Porsche 907 with only 2.2 liters of displacement and significantly less power. One of the vehicles was not at the start of the BOAC 500 miles be placed at Brands Hatch, the other fell out with Mike Spence in leadership lying.
In the next run, the 1000km race at the Nð²¢µrgring, Chris Irwin crashed very hard at the section airfield. The fact that the car had a then cutting-edge, riveted aluminum monocoque, probably saved his life. The remaining cars in the race saw the goal again not a fate that was to learn the P68 in all applications. Frank Gardner, who after the death of Clark and Spence, who by now had had an accident in Indianapolis, and the violation of the prototype mainly Irwin moved, but showed by the pole position at the 1000km of Spa on the fast, at that time more than 13km stretch of the potential of Ford on. The car was well over 300km/h but it quickly in handling unstable. This problem, which was concealed by early failure in Spa, it could not completely solve even with spoiler extensions. Some drivers refused flatly to drive the car. Similar Problems had Porsche in 1969 with the first variant of the Porsche 917, so Frank Gardner and David Piper were engaged for ever to a 917 took part in the Nð²¢µrgring.
For the 24-hour race at Le Mans, for political reasons only took place in the autumn of 1968, was already a part of the prototype due to lack of reliability and financing problems no longer up for debate. Ford had with the improvement of John Wyer GT40 old, who were allowed to continue to participate because of the high number built, but with a maximum of 5 liters, for a more suitable vehicle, which was also in 1969 to win again.
For 1969 we made a new attempt. The changed rules, in particular, the minimum weight, favored an open Spyder over the coupe. How Porsche Porsche 908/02 and the Ferrari 312P Barchetta, Ford now an open variant before, called P69, where the passenger seat but was covered. The driving behavior remained the question. Therefore, the vehicle received front and rear big wing. After accidents in Formula 1 have been such escalating Attachments However prohibited. After the Ford stuttering was at Silverstone in the rain with wet electrics at the start, the race and the project was finally abandoned.
The coupe is now owned by David Piper; In 2003, he led it provide, inter alia on the Solitude.
The Ford C100 from 1982, equipped with Cosworth, was a similar project. Here, too, remained from the expected success, though not to the same extent as the Ford 3L, who could never finish a race.