Alan Mann Racing - Rise to the top

  • Alan Mann Racing transporter

During the 1960s, Ford Motor Company started the legendary Total Performance program – a global motorsport enterprise with only one goalwin in every relevant class and championship event in the world.

Ambitious project

It was a very ambitious project, never before or since attempted by any company, and Ford had the means to pursue such a goal, but not quite the capacity nor the racing knowledge to make it happen. So FoMoCo looked for partners in racing teams and workshops all over the world in order to get the program running. One of the biggest and most successful Ford’s partners was Alan Mann Racing team based in Byfleet, Surrey.

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Alan Mann (center) at the race

Services for the customers who wanted more

Alan Mann (born in 1936 and died in 2012) was an English amateur driver, garage owner, and entrepreneur who started his career as an apprentice at a car dealership, and on weekends, he participated in amateur races. In 1962, he joined the Ford dealership and started promoting the performances to the customers who wanted more power and who used their cars in races.

The beginning and the surprise win of Cortina in America

This approach proved to be very popular and soon the Ford dealership where he worked started its own racing team with much success in UK’s touring car races. In 1963, Ford Motor Company from Detroit invited a few selected UK-based racing teams to participate in the Marlboro 12 Hours race in America. Alan Mann’s Ford Cortina GT won the event before the very surprised and factory-prepared Ford Falcons.

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Cortinas being loaded before Marlboro 6 Hours race in America

Rise to the top with help from Ford Motor Company

This success put Alan Mann on the map and he quickly realized that he had to establish his own operation in order to get the Ford contract and to advance in the world of motorsport. So, early in 1964, Alan Mann Racing was formed and immediately became Ford’s factory-supported racing team. AMR’s task was to prepare and enter various Ford-produced cars in the most prestigious European races and win.

Success at 1964 Rallye Monte Carlo

Ford trusted Alan Mann right from beginning and supplied the team with cars and parts and even sent one of the pre-production Ford Mustangs to England for testing and evaluation. Alan Mann Racing responded in the best possible way by entering Ford Falcon Sprint in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally where the car set the fastest time on every stage and finished 1st in class and 2nd overall.

Ford Falcon Sprint 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, historic success

Falcon Sprint at 1964 Monte Carlo Rally

First major win at Tour de France

Even bigger success came later that year when AMR prepared Ford Mustangs won the prestigious Tour de France race. This was a very important win for Alan Mann and Ford since it was the first major victory ever for Ford Mustang and the AMR racing team.

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AMR prepared Mustangs at 1964 Tour de France race

Continued success in every series

In 1965, encouraged by previous successes, Ford trusted Alan Mann Racing with entering and managing of the Shelby Cobra and Cobra Daytona race cars in GT Championship, which Shelby won with cars entered by various teams including AMR. In the same year, Alan Mann Racing won the European Touring Car Championship title with the famous red and gold colored Lotus Cortina Mk1.

In 1966, Alan Mann Racing started the limited production and testing of the legendary Ford GT40 race car. Two cars were built and raced, and AMR’s  involvement certainly helped Ford win Le Mans four times in a row.

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AMR Ford GT40

Excellent promotion for Ford

During 1967 and 1968, Alan Mann Racing was busy racing in various events and winning BTCC title both years. In the same period, Ford introduced Escort as its most popular European car and AMR had the task of preparing it for racing. By winning 1968 BTCC title and campaigning everywhere, Ford got the promotion and success it needed and AMR promoted legendary gold and red racing livery. Ford Escort Mk1 proved to be one of most successful and popular Alan Mann Racing Cars modelss with lots of replicas being raced even today in classic car races.

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Ford Escort Mk1 in the famous red and gold livery

Stillborn 3L P68 and the end of Ford’s racing program

The last big AMR and Ford project was the F3L (code P68) prototype race car. It was meant to be the successor of GT40, but that never happened. The car had a big potential and set the fastest laps everywhere it raced, but it actually never completed a race and the project was abandoned by late 1969.

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Abandoned 3L P68 which was supposed to continue the success of legendary GT40

Closing the doors in 1969

At the same time, Ford Motor Company announced its withdrawal from racing and canceled the Total Performance program after almost a decade of fantastic successes in every championship it entered. This news meant that without the factory support AMR was obsolete and Alan Mann chose to close the doors on it in late 1969. With countless victories in his portfolio, and a fleet of fantastic red and gold Fords which raced under his name, Alan Mann went down in history as one of the biggest names behind famous manufacturer.

Revival of Alan Mann Racing

However, even when AMR went out of business, the legend was not forgotten, and in 2004, Alan Mann Racing was reopened as a racing team concentrated only on classic car races and keeping the famous name and memory of the great successes alive and well.