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FORD F3L

 

Also known as the P68, the F3L was commissioned by Ford to exploit the new Cosworth DFV engine, which fitted the new Group 6 regulations limiting sportscar engine size to 3 litres. With a view to racing at Le Mans, Len Bailey designed and Alan Mann Racing built the F3L, an extremely attractive but problematic car. Unable to use the engine as a stressed member due to Cosworth/Ford political issues, the car was built with supporting chassis members in the cramped rear section. This made the car difficult to work on and resulted in overheating-related failures. Despite setting pole position or fastest lap everywhere it went, the F3L never finished a race, and Ford soon began withdrawing support. A high-winged Spyder version called the P69 was built but ran poorly and was cut up after only one appearance.

The only major accident in AMR history involved the F3L, when Chris Irwin crashed at the Nurburgring in May 1968. He was severely injured, and despite several theories, the cause of the accident remains unknown. The lack of success for the F3L and Ford’s changing tack in motorsport marked the beginning of the end for AMR in the 60’s, but in later years Alan Mann bought back an F3L from David Piper and relived his history, with better results.