Ford GT National Rally Breaks Records
Over one hundred Ford GTs from model years 2005-2006 and 2017-2021 gathered the first week of November for their Annual Rally. This was the first time it has been held in Arizona. Owners and cars came from over thirty states and Canada, with one owner actually flying two cars in from Hawaii. This was the thirteenth meet and some owners have attended all thirteen.
David Bannister, founder of the Ford GT Forum and Chip Beck, Moderator of the Forum were the lead organizers. The Forum, which has grown to over five hundred members, was created to allow owners to stay up to date with all the aspects of these very rare cars. Jay Leno, also a GT owner, is a member. Members live all over the world including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South America.
The Rally began on Saturday October 30 at Chip Beck’s home in Scottsdale where about one hundred and fifty members and spouses enjoyed a hearty barbecue dinner and bar sponsored by Sanderson Ford, with live music.
Sunday morning a special Ford GT Cars & Coffee was held at the Fourtillfour coffee shop in Old Town Scottsdale, where passing motorists and pedestrians were treated to an exceptionally colorful display. On Sunday evening a cocktail party was held at the Otto Car Club where a genuine Le Mans Mirage Ford Race Car from the 1970’s, and a current Ford GT Le Mans racer were displayed.
Monday morning saw the GTs depart the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, where a whole floor of the parking garage was dedicated exclusively to the GTs, to drive to the park in Fountain Hills where a concours was held and group photographs taken. From there they drove over to lunch at Tortilla Flats, where the Mayor of this six-person metropolis joined the group as a passenger for a thrilling ride. Dinner that night was at the Hyatt and custom awards were given to Brian Naylor, chief Ford GT mechanic at Sanderson Ford, the only authorized Ford GT servicing dealer in Arizona; David Bannister, founder of the GT Forum; Raj Nair, President & CEO of Multimatic, who manufacture the current Ford GT; and Mark Heidaker who holds the record for the fastest Ford GT, a 3,700 horsepower missile that has exceeded 300MPH at the Texas Mile and does 0-300 in just 19 mind-boggling seconds.
On Tuesday a 250- mile rally saw the cars drive north up the Beeline Highway to Payson, west to the winding hills of Jerome and back to the Hyatt for a cocktail party.
Wednesday was a private track day at the APEX track in Maricopa, where the actual Ford GT, the only car ever to win the LeMans 24-hour race twice was on display. While the drivers were at the track a cooking class was held at the Hyatt for spouses. That night everyone moseyed over to Desert Foothills, a western themed event center in North Scottsdale where a cowboy cookout and western photo booth kept everyone well fed and entertained.
Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, old friendships were rekindled, and new ones were made.