Former Grand Prix driver and 1969 Le Mans victor, Jackie Oliver, is all set to revisit his Le Mans and Ford GT40 glory days by driving one of the four JW Automotive Gulf GT40s (chassis number 1084), in the forthcoming Silverstone Historic Festival...
Former Grand Prix driver and 1969 Le Mans victor, Jackie Oliver, is all set to revisit his Le Mans and Ford GT40 glory days by driving one of the four JW Automotive Gulf GT40s (chassis number 1084), in the forthcoming Silverstone Historic Festival (25-27 August 2001).
Oliver will race in the two 1960s Endurance Cars races - for sports and GT cars as raced 1962-67 - which will be held on Saturday, August 25 and Monday, August 27. Competitors will cover 8 laps in each race round Silverstone's 3.14-mile Historic Grand Prix circuit. Other cars eligible for these races are the likes of the mighty Ferrari 250GTOs and 275LMs, Ferrari P, P2 and P3 sports prototypes, Shelby American Cobras, Aston Martin Project cars and DB4GT Zagatos, Lightweight Jaguar E-Types, Bizzarinis, Alpine Renaults, Alfa Romeo TZ2s, and Chevrolet Stingrays.
New in 1965, the GT40 that Oliver will drive is the fifth production Ford GT40 Mark I, a sister car to the Gulf GT40 that he took to victory at Le Mans in 1969. It was prepared by Shelby American Inc and entered by Rob Walker for its debut race at Le Mans 1965, where it was driven by Umberto Maglioli and Bob Bondurant. All of the GT40s entered in this race fared badly, however, with none making it to the finish line. But, after this inauspicious start, GT40s went on to dominate Le Mans, winning outright from 1966 - 1969 inclusive.
After Le Mans 1965, 1084 was shipped to America where it spent two months travelling through the States as one of the four cars in Carroll Shelby's Cobra Caravan - a mobile display comprising an `R' model 350 GT Mustang, a 427 Cobra, a Cobra Daytona Coupe and the GT40.
After its tour of America, the car returned to England where it was garaged until 1968. It was then rebuilt by JW Automotive, liveried in Gulf colours and raced by the legendary Gulf-sponsored JWA team in the Spa 1000kms classic. In the capable hands of David Hobbs and Paul Hawkins it finished fourth overall.
Oliver started his motor sport career in 1961 racing a Mini, progressing through to Formula One in 1968, partnering Graham Hill at Lotus. He raced in 50 Grands Prix before finally hanging up his F1 helmet in 1977. In addition to his Le Mans victory with Jacky Ickx in 1969, Oliver also won the Sebring 12-hour race in the same year and was the CanAm Series champion in 1974.
His talents within motor sport were not restricted to the cockpit however - he was also the `O' in Arrows and jointly owned the F1 team until 1997 when he and partner Alan Rees sold it to Tom Walkinshaw.
"Martin Colvill - owner of 1084 - comments; "I have owned this car since 1981 and have much enjoyed racing it in suitable events in the UK and around the world since then - perhaps 150 races in total, during which it has proved very reliable. A car that was built to run 24-hour races makes light work of 20 laps!
"I am very pleased that Jackie Oliver will be driving 1084 at the Silverstone Historic Festival, with the opportunity to put it through its paces on the magnificent Grand Prix circuit," he concludes.
For ticket information and advance bookings for the Silverstone Historic Festival, call Silverstone on 01327 850204 or visit www.silverstone-circuit.co.uk