The Shelby Daytona Coupe is an American sports-coupé related to the AC Cobra roadster, loosely based on its chassis and drive-train. It was built for auto racing, specifically to take on Ferrari and its 250 GTO in the GT class. Just six Shelby Daytona Coupes were built between 1964 and 1965, as Shelby was reassigned to the Ford GT40 project to compete at the 24 hours of Le Mans, again to beat Ferrari in the highest level prototype class. With the Shelby Daytona, Shelby became the first American constructor to win a title on the international scene at the FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1965.
During 1964 and 1965, Ford entered their six Shelby Daytona Coupes in numerous races through the British Alan Mann Racing Ford factory team, as well as a temporarily selling or leasing to other racing teams such as “Tri-Colore” of France and Scuderia Filipinetti of Switzerland.
During this period, Shelby Daytona Coupes raced in GT Division III, for engine displacements over 2000 cc. They competed at numerous 500 km, 1000 km, 2000 km, 12 hour and 24 hour races on the World Sportscar Championship circuit, including events at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, Imola, Reims, Spa Francorchamps, Goodwood Circuit, Oulton Park, Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, the multi-race Tour de France Automobile, Enna, Rouen, Monza, and Nürburgring.
The Shelby Daytona Coupes, in their first year of competition, finished second (by 6 points) in GT III class for the 1964 World Sportscar Championship season. The Shelby Daytona Coupes won the GT III class (by 19 points) for the 1965 World Sportscar Championship season.