For many years, Dr Chris Champion has been the company’s medical officer and his hobby is motor sport. Helipebs Controls operates in the advanced engineering sector and was recently able to assist Dr Champion with a small modification to a component for his car, as a result of which Chris has written a few words about his hobby.
“Between 2006 and 2009 I built a replica of a GT40 a Tornado TS40 (GT stands for grand touring and 40 represents the overall height of the car at 40”).
The original GT40s were built in the 1960’s on the instructions of Henry Ford, who wanted to beat Ferrari and for a Ford car to win the famous 24 hour endurance race at Le Mans. He first tried to buy the Ferrari company but Enzo Ferrari declined the offer!Henry Ford then instructed Ford special vehicles in England to build a car capable of winning at Le Mans.The first GT40s to race were built in 1964. Ford finally achieved their goal with a 1-2-3- victory at the 1966 Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans. GT40s went on to win in 1967 and 1968.
My car is a replica of a 1967 car. It is road legal but mainly used for track days. I have driven it on the full Le Mans circuit and at a number of other tracks including Spa in Belgium, Donnington Park, Cadwell Park, and of course our wonderful local track Castle Coombe. The car has a Ford 302 cubic inch V8 engine (5 litres in English!) rebuilt from scratch using an original 1967 block. It produces 330bhp and is geared for 155mph. It weighs 100kg so performance is good!
More information about GT40s can be found on our club website. The club is “The GT40 Enthusiasts Club.” There are only about 100 on the road in the UK so you won’t often see one. An original car built in the 1960’s would set you back over a million pounds. One sold recently for over 4 million. Sadly a replica does not have that value!”
Geoff Davis, Managing Director, comments “Chris Champion has been the company’s Occupational Health Advisor since 1985 and he has been instrumental in assisting Helipebs to develop a policy that ensures best practice is always used for the continuing benefit and health of all our employees”.