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Having always raced in Gulf’s blue and orange colours, this particular GT40, known by its chassis number – #1075 – won the Le Mans 24 Hours not once but twice, in 1968 and 1969. Four other championship wins – at Brands Hatch, Spa, Watkins Glen and Sebring – add to this GT40’s status as the very best of its breed.

At the new Ford GT ’68 Heritage’s unveiling, its incredibly successful predecessor made a rare public appearance, tailing the new car around the Laguna Seca circuit. While the presentation focused on the Heritage car, camera lenses were inevitably drawn to one of motorsport’s genuine greats, evidence if it was needed that #1075 still carries grandeur in motor racing circles – but what made #1075 the great that it is still regarded as today?

In 1968, Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman overcame Porsche’s challenge in the six-hour BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch. Later, that year at the Spa 1,000km in Belgium, Ickx demonstrated his wet-weather mastery on his home circuit to take a second win for #1075, alongside Redman.

Back on home territory, with Ickx now joined by Belgian counterpart, Lucien Bianchi, Watkins Glen was the setting for a third win. Unfortunately for Ickx, he would miss out on his quest to win the grandest prize of all – Le Mans – after injury sidelined him.

Mexican ace, Pedro Rodríguez, was drafted in to help Bianchi clinch the win, comfortably beating Porsche’s four-car challenge and, in the process, ensuring the Gulf Ford GT40s became World Champions.

Ickx would return a year later, looking to atone for his absence the year before, and saw off formidable competition from Porsche, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, in a race where few expected the car to be competitive.

He and team-mate, Jackie Oliver, gave #1075 the send-off it deserved, ensuring it had a place in Gulf’s history forever, by winning Le Mans, which was decided on the very last lap, for closest ever finish of the 24 Hours.

The car runs and sounds exactly as it did 50 years ago.

Car enthusiasts describe Gulf Ford GT 40 #1075 as a “Holy Grail” of collectors’ cars. Its value is unmeasurable by ordinary standards.

This is the car that was the inspiration for the 2019/20 Gulf Heritage Edition model – and as a result the 2019 model year cars will carry number 9 – commemorating the 1968 Le Mans victory, while 2020 cars will carry number 6, #1075’s winning number in 1969.