The GT40 first raced at the Nürburgring 1000km in May 1964 as a prelude to the eagerly awaited appearance at Le Mans where three cars were entered. All retired, but the Richie Ginther/Masten Gregory car comfortably led the early part of the race. Following more dismal showings, later in the year Carroll Shelby took over from Wyer. A maiden win at Daytona in February 1965 augured well, but the rest of the season was another failure. Six GT40s comprising works and private entries took part at Le Mans and all failed to finish. Ferrari was still on a roll, winning again as it had in 1963 and ’64, making it six victories in a row.
After licking its wounds, the team regrouped and set about the 1966 season in style, scoring a 1-2-3 at the Daytona 24-Hour in February, a 1-2-3 at the Sebring 12-Hour – and then came Le Mans. Remarkably, GT40s posted another 1-2-3 with Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon finishing first, Ken Miles/Denny Hulme second and Ronnie Bucknum/Dick Hutcherson third, all driving 7-litre MkIIs. The cars won again in 1967 with Dan Gurney/AJ Foyt (7-litre MkIV), in 1968 with Pedro Rodriguez/Lucien Bianchi (4.9-litre MkI ‘P’) and in 1969 with Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver, incidentally driving the ’68 race-winning car, chassis P1075. This was the first time the same car had won Le Mans twice.