A few minutes after 16:00 on June 19, 1966 three Ford GT40 Mk IIs crossed the finish line to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. The victory capped a three year struggle by the Ford Motor Company to defeat Ferrari. It was Ferrari’s first loss in 6 years at the French circuit and the pride of the Italian company had been injured. Enzo Ferrari and his engineers analyzed the defeat and planned their revenge. The Ferrari 330P3 had failed for a number of reasons. Strikes by the Iron Works Union had jeopardized the entire racing program. The team had brought in a ZF gearbox that did not prove to be reliable. There was turmoil between the No1 driver, John Surtees, and team management. This was concluded when Surtees was fired just prior to the Le Mans race. Only weeks after the Le Mans loss, Ing Mauro Forghieri was instructed by Enzo Ferrari to start planning for the 1967 Sports-Prototype season.
Forghieri had completed development of 3-valve cylinder heads (2 intake, 1 exhaust) for the 3.0 liter Formula 1 engine and decided to incorporate that feature in a new 4-liter engine for the sports-prototype cars. The new car would be named the 330P4. The 330 referred to the cylinder capacity. The P4 identified the car as the 4th in the P series (for posterior) that started in 1963. The Tipo 241 60 degree V12 engine that engineer Franco Rocchi designed had a 77mm x 71mm bore/stroke with a compression ratio of 11 to 1. The new engine was rated at 450bhp at 8,000 rpm. A new 5-speed gearbox was designed and built to replace the Tipo 593 ZF unit. The new car’s chassis was constructed in Ferrari’s traditional method of a tubular framework reinforced with sheet aluminum. The suspension was redesigned to take maximum advantage of the new Firestone tires. The bodywork was similar in presentation to the 330P3. Cast magnesium Campagnolo wheels replaced the Dunlop steel wheels used on the P3.
Ferrari updated 330P3 Spyder s/n 0846 to P4 specifications. The chassis was modified to accept the Tipo 241 engine and the new Tipo 603 gearbox. The bodywork was also updated to accommodate the wider profile tires. This car was officially a 330 P3/4 or as Ing Forghieri described it, a Bastard Ferrari P3/4. The Ferrari factory would ultimately build three genuine 330P4 cars for the 1967 season. To provide additional support, Ferrari converted the older 330P3 series to customer cars and renamed them the 412P. These cars had the 2-valve, 4-liter P3 engines converted to Weber carburetors. Initially the 412Ps used the ZF gearbox but were upgraded to Tipo 603 later in the season. The cars also had modified suspension and bodywork and were similar in appearance to the 330P4s.
With the support of Firestone Ferrari was able to conduct a test at the Daytona International Speedway in December of 1966. Led by Ing Forghieri, Racing Manager Eugenio Dragoni, drivers Chris Amon, Mike Parks, Lodovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini completed over 580 testing laps. On one lap, new driver Amon turned a time of 1min 54.7 seconds. His time was not beaten during the race weekend. During the test the Ferrari pits were closed but the grandstands were open to the public. Included in the hundreds of spectators were several people from Ford. They witnessed the new Ferrari turning highly competitive laps at speeds above what Ford had registered in 1966. The Ford teams had the track reserved right after the Italians left. The focus was on the Kar Kraft created J-Car and the GT 40 Mk II.
A month after the 1966 Le Mans race Ford’s top management decided the company would be back in 1967. Ford’s Special Vehicles Department was focused on the NASCAR effort and few resources were available for the prototype cars. The J-Car was to be raced in the 1966 CanAm series, but when Shelby American lead driver, Ken Miles, was killed while testing the car the CanAm effort fizzled out. A hasty development program was instituted to upgrade the Mk II GT 40s.
At the December test the Ford was soon in trouble with the J-Car. There were oversteer problems on the low-speed turns and the wheels were soon cracking. The test ended early when there was a failure that resulted in the suspension tearing loose from the chassis. The car never approached Ferrari’s testing times. With less than two months to the 24-hour Daytona race the J-Car was returned to the engineers and the Mk IIBs were prepared for the race.
The engines were developed to increase horsepower and improve the fuel economy. The aluminum cylinder heads were replaced with high-compression larger-valve cast iron heads. The single four-barrel carburetor was dropped for a dual four-barrel arrangement. Kar Kraft continued development of an automatic transmission. Ford and Kelsey-Hayes engineers designed new 12 inch ventilated disk. After the Miles accident driver safety was looked at. A NASCAR type roll-cage was installed along with an improved safety harness. When the modifications were completed the power had been increased to 530bhp, 85 over the 1966 Le Mans winning 485. The weight increased to over 3,100 pounds. When the Ford teams arrived for practice the first day was lost while the high-rise intake manifolds were replaced with a medium-rise version.
The third team in the top prototype group was the Texas based Chaparral Cars. The unofficial General Motors racing team introduced the 2F model. The 1966 prototype 2D was upgraded for the new season.
Chaparral Cars partner Hap Sharp had retired from driving at the end of 1965 to spend more time on managing the operation. He was interested in competing in the World Manufactures Championship and used his influence to convince Jim Hall to design a car. With the introduction of the aluminum chassis 2C in late 1965 the earlier fiberglass chassis cars were redundant. The team added a roof with gull-wing doors to chassis 2A001 and 2A002. When introduced the car had the small flipper spoiler first seen on the 2C. After a poor showing at the first two races of 1966 the cars were extensively modified, a rear window was added, a smaller spoiler at the rear was incorporated and a cold air intake for the engine was placed above the roof. The team missed the early European rounds, but surprised the critics by winning the ADAC 1000km race on the 14.1 mile Nürburgring Nordschliefe.
When the team arrived at Daytona for the 1967 race the 2D had been modified to accept the 7.0 liter Chevrolet Porcupine head engine. The experience gained in the team’s first year of endurance racing was applied to the design of the 1967 car.
When determining the direction for the 1967 endurance car Chaparral considered a car powered by Chevrolet’s 327ci aluminum engine and another with the 427ci engine. The smaller engine had a lower weight limit, 1,540lbs vs 1,650lbs. A computer simulation was conducted and it was determined that the larger engine car would be faster. The new car, model 2F, actually reused the fiberglass chassis of 2A002 that was built in late 1963. The 1966 2D was basically a design carry over from the 2A sprint cars. The 2F was a radical departure. The car featured a slab-sided coupe body that incorporated a high rear wing that was mounted directly to the rear suspension uprights. The front opening contained a spring-loaded flap that opened against air pressure when speeds exceeded 120mph. This served to balance the aerodynamic loads on the car.
The car featured hip mounted radiators which helped to keep the cockpit cooler for the drivers. The old 2A chassis had special moldings bonded to it to create the square sided shape. To provide strength to the bodywork, the sections were laid up in female molds with 4-oz cloth and epoxy resin and ¼ in PVC foam. In areas were strength wasn’t required the fiberglass was paper thin. Sylvania developed special bulbs in Marchal reflectors for the Chaparral’s lights. Two aircraft batteries were used, one mounted behind each seat. The car featured 16in diameter wheels that facilitated the use of 12in diameter brakes with Girling calipers. The 7.0 liter engine used Weber style 58 IDM carburetors built by Chevrolet. The Chaparral automatic transaxle was upgraded to three speeds. With the increased power there was little that could be done with the transaxle and the car would suffer throughout the season until ungraded parts became available.
Chaparral was the last of the major teams to complete pre-race testing. The test was more secretive than Ferrari or Fords and the only indication of the results were look out.
1967 Daytona 24 Hour Continental
When the teams arrived for practice Ford had six Mk IIBs. Three were entered by Shelby American and three by Holman Moody. One of the cars entered by each of the Ford teams had Mercury naming on the sides.
Shelby American Entries
#1 c/n 1012 Bruce McLaren/Lucien Bianchi
#2 c/n 1015 Ronnie Buckman/Frank Gardner
#3 c/n 1047 AJ Foyt/Dan Gurney
#4 c/n 1016 Mark Donohue/Peter Revson
#5 c/n 1031 Mario Andretti/Richie Ginther
#6 c/n 1046 Loyld Ruby/Denny Hulme
Ferrari had 4 entries, 2 for the factory and 1 each for Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team and Jacques Swaters’s Ecurie Francorchamps. Ferrari had recruited Italian journalist Franco Lini to replace Dragoni as Racing Manager.
Scuderia Ferrari Entries – #23 330P3/4, #24 330P4
#23 s/n 0846 Chris Amon/Lorenzo Bandini
#24 s/n 0856 Mike Parks/ Lodovico Scarfiotti
NART – Lugi Chinetti Entry – 412P
#26 412P s/n 0844 Pedro Rodriguez/Jean Guichet
Ecurie Francorchamps – Jacques Swaters Entry – 412P
#33 s/n 0850 Willy Mairesse/Jean Blaton
Chaparral Cars entered the upgraded 2D and the brand new 2F.
Chaparral Entries – #14 2D , #15 2F
#14 c/n 2D001 Bob Johnson/Bruce Jennings
#15 c/n 2F001 Phil Hill/Mike Spence
The two-liter class was dominated by Porsche. The German manufacture entered two 906 cars and one new 910. The independently entered Ferrari 206S provided meager opposition.
After two days of practice Ford managed to get Dan Gurney on the pole with a time 2.7 seconds under the 1966 time. The new Chaparral 2F was second with two Ferraris third and fourth. The top ten qualifiers included three Ferraris, both Chaparrals and five of the Ford Mk IIBs.
The flag was dropped on the rolling field at 15:09. Phi Hill jumped into the lead and pulled away with relative ease. The Chaparral 2F was pulling away from the second place Ford GT40 MkIIB driven be Mario Andretti. He had been nominated to be the Ford rabbit, to get out in the lead and attempt to get the Ferrari and Chaparral to overextend their cars in an attempt to keep up. The Chaparral’s lap times dropped from 1:57 to 1:55 as the car continued to pull away from the field. Just after 18:00 Mike Spence turned the leading 2F over to Phil Hill. At 18:09 Hill was exiting the infield and the car slid on loose asphalt and hit the wall. He was able to return to the pits, but the car was too damaged to continue and was officially withdrawn at 19:15.
On the 23rd lap the No 2 Bucknum/Gardner Ford pulled into the pits to report the loss of 3rd and 4th gears. Ford’s prerace planning had anticipated that at least three of the cars would experience mechanical failure. The Shelby American pits set about changing the transmission. The McLaren/Bianchi Ford was already in trouble with a blown head gasket. The car was making frequent pit stops for water. Just after the 3 hour mark the Andretti/Ginther Mk IIB was next to stop with a repeat of the transmission trouble. Soon the other Ford cars were failing with the loss of 3rd and 4th gears. The output shafts of the transmissions had not been correctly heat-treated after being machined. In the pre-race preparation rush Ford had failed to test the transmission shafts that were manufactured by an outside supplier. After the third car failed Ford’s management realized the race was lost and all the cars would fail. At first the mechanics required almost an hour to change the gearbox. With the practice they were getting they were soon down to a half hour. As the transmissions continue to fail the exhausted mechanics were back up to an hour. In all the team changed twelve transmissions. As one of the senior engineers remarked, “It was just one of those days”.
With the demise of the Chaparral 2F, the No 24 Ferrari assumed the lead with Gurney’s Ford second. The Ecurie Francorchamps 412P was third. When Gurney pitted with the inevitable transmission failure the Ferrari team was in control of the race. The two factory Ferraris traded the lead and after the NART/Lugi Chinetti entry resolved a mechanical issue the three cars were in complete control of the race. The only kink in Ferrari’s armor was when the Ecurie Francorchamps 412P retired with gearbox failure. As long as the Ferraris continued to run reliably the race was over.
After the last refueling stop the three Ferraris lined up and crossed the finish line to win the first round of the 1967 Manufactures Championship. The Amon/Bandini P3/4 spyder was 4 laps ahead of the Parks/Scarfiotti 330 P4. In third place was the NART entered 412P. Ferrari had avenged the defeat the previous year at Le Mans and to rub salt in Ford’s wound the three cars crossed the finish line in formation without the controversy of the Ford attempt at Le Mans.
1967 Daytona 24 Hour Continental Race Results
Images courtesy of the David Friedman collection at the Henry Ford Museum, Ferrari, and Jim Gauerke. Gauerke was a sales manager for industrial glove firm Edmont. The company had a line of golf gloves and in the days before nomex, Gauerke wanted to parlay his love of racing into selling driving gloves to the drivers. It also was a great way to get proper credentials for the race! Chris Amon and Mario Andretti used the gloves.