Tuesday, 12 January 2010


NSR Ford P68 (Ford 3L GT)

NSR are about to release one of the most beautiful racing cars ever designed, the Ford P68. The P68 was released in 1968 and had a very disappointing racing career never reached its potential. The NSR offering looks faithful to the 1:1 race car with a high degree of detail and stunning decal and paint finish.

This from Wikipedia: "At the end of the 1967 season the FIA redrew the rules for sports car racing. Engine capacity was limited to 3 litres for the lightest, most advanced Group 6 sports prototype class, while a new 5 litre Group 4 Sports Car class was introduced for vehicles of which at least 50 examples had been built. Ford's American headquarters organisation withdrew from sports car racing at the end of 1967, leaving those teams committed to running the aging GT40 without factory support.

While some teams, such as JWA, decided to go down the Group 4 Sports Car route and began work on updating the GT40, Alan Mann Racing decided to build a brand new prototype car around Ford Europe's recently-introduced 3.0L DFV V8 Formula One engine."

Raising sponsorship from Ford Europe, as well as Burmah-Castrol and Goodyear, AMR procured the services of leading Ford aerodynamicist Len Bailey, who had designed much of the GT40's bodywork, to work on their new car."

"The first batch of cars was ready for the season-opening BOAC 500 race, at Brands Hatch in March 1968. Even this early in its career, the P68 had started to grow spoilers and air dams at its front and rear. Two cars were entered, for Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, and Jochen Rindt and Mike Spence. However, the two cars were relatively untested, with one actually being brand new, and teething troubles beset the weekend.

Although initially slow during practice, gradual tuning and tweaking meant that by the end of qualifying McLaren had managed to put in a lap fast enough to take second place on the grid, splitting the works Porsche 907s. Unfortunately, the Rindt/Spence car had suffered an engine mount failure and failed to qualify. Spence, something of a Brands Hatch specialist, was substituted into the lead car for the race, and was at the wheel, leading the race, when a rubber joint in the transmission failed, putting the car out."

"Although neither car had finished, the pace and performance while running looked to be promising better for the future. This promise was never to be fulfilled.

With Mike Spence's death during practice for the 1968 Indianapolis 500, fellow Brit Chris Irwin was drafted in for the P68's next race: the 1968 1000km Nürburgring. He was lucky to escape death when he lost control of his car at the Flugplatz during practice, although his injuries were severe enough for his career to be ended. The car was destroyed. In the race, once again the remaining P68 failed to finish due to mechanical gremlins.

This was to be the pattern during all the remaining races for which the P68 was entered during 1968. One tantalising highlight occurred when Frank Gardner, who performed much of the P68's limited developmental testing, took pole position at the 1000km Spa race. However, once again the car flattered to deceive, as it stuttered to a halt on the first lap of the race with faulty electrics. By this time the P68's faults were all too apparent, and Alan Mann Racing decided not to travel to the Zeltweg race."

You can read more about the Ford P68 on the NSR Website Here


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