With a pedigree including wins at Spa and Monza in the 1960s and ties to the epic Steve McQueen film Le Mans, the GT40 eclipsed the previous record of US$10.34 million ($9.9 million) paid for a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe in 2011.
The purchased GT40, chassis number P/1074, began life as Mirage M.10003, and finished first overall in its debut at Spa in 1967 with Jacky Ickx and ‘The Flying Dentist’ Dr Dick Thompson behind the wheel. The win was also the first for any car under the famous powder blue and marigold Gulf livery.
A regulation change by the FIA for the 1968 season saw Mirage M.10003 taken to J.W.A. in England for its conversion into a Group 4 GT40, where it became P/1074. The original Mirage bodywork was included in the weekend’s auction, and the car could easily be returned to that configuration.
It was the first of three lightweight racing GT40s built for the J.W.A./Gulf team, and one of only two remaining in the world.
P/1074 is currently fitted with an original GT40 Ford 4.7-litre V8 with 328kW of power, but was powered by four other Ford V8 push-rod engines during its active career. It set a lap record at Le Mans in 1968 before going on to win the Monza 1000.
In 1970, it was used as a mobile camera car to assist in the filming of Le Mans, as McQueen insisted the ‘movie star’ cars must be filmed at speed. The entire roof was removed, the windscreen chopped to just a few inches high and the doors were taped shut.
The car went through a series of transformations, including significant restorations in 1983 and 2002.
With its tremendous history, the auctioned GT40 is one of the most desirable endurance racing cars ever built.