VIDEO: Racing the Circuit with Carroll Shelby

The late, great Carroll Shelby is a legend in the automotive industry, but you do not need to be a Ford enthusiast to appreciate his work. His Cobras and Mustang GT350s are among the most notable and loved cars at any car show, road course or auction block.

Shelby’s start is a humble one, though. Before he was a notable designer, Shelby worked on an oil well, at a poultry farm, raced on the dirt track and later, ran the sports car circuit. Shortly after winning at Le Mans, he retired from racing, but he dreamt of designing a car that could lead the pack and put America on the road racing map. He wanted to give Ferrari a little competition, too. With a little luck and the pairing of an A/C Ace body with a Ford engine, the Shelby Cobras were born.

Cobras dominated the American road racing circuit, so it became time to take them worldwide. They didn’t win on their first outings but proved that America was a new force to be reckoned with in road racing.

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So, Shelby added two more cars to his stable; the Ford GT and the Mustang GT350. The three cars would run in different classes, each with top drivers, but the skills of the driver are only part of the racing equation.

Testing is vital and finding that consistent fast line around the circuit takes a lot of time and practice. Races can be as long as 24 hours, adding yet another challenge to this mix. The drivers and teams have to constantly adapt during pit stops.

At the end of the day Shelby’s cars came out on top yet again, at least on the American courses. It was time for Carroll Shelby versus the world once more. It would not be an easy battle, though. Racing has always been a mixture of success and defeat, but Shelby had the power of 3 top cars on his side.

He would later go on to release the Mustang GT500 and work with Dodge for a number of years during the 1980s – before returning to his Ford roots in the early 21st century up until his death in 2012. While he may be gone, there’s no denying the impact that Shelby, and the machines that he had left behind, will live on in our hearts forever.

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