In 1966, Ford ended Ferrari’s racing dominance, but the Prancing Horse came back stronger the next year.
A perfect payback.
Ford vs. Ferrari
The year was 1966 and the motorsport community was convinced that Ferrari’s dominance in endurance racing was coming to an end after Ford crushed the Prancing Horse by winning the Triple Crown of endurance racing – 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. But Ferrari was determined to make a comeback.
As Stirling Moss famously said: “[Enzo Ferrari is] a true racing manufacturer… It’s sad to see a man like this beaten by a big company, especially when you realize [Ford’s] decision to race is really just another marketing decision.”
Moss put it quite well, actually: Ford’s 1966 victories were financial wins rather than true racing victories.
When the season ended, Ferrari went back to the drawing board and evolved their P family with three new cars: the 330 P3/4, 330 P4 and 412 P. Comparing the look of those cars alone with the 365 P2 and 250 LM made clear that Ferrari would now offer much stronger competition for Ford.
At the time, Ferrari was also focusing on other ventures such as Formula 1, Formula 2, and production cars like the Dino 206 and V12 Grand Tourers. As one of the smallest auto manufacturers in the world with limited resources, it was already an achievement for Ferrari to appear at these races.
Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s Technical Director at the time (pictured above), was given full freedom by Enzo Ferrari to develop an engine and car that would absolutely surprise the folks at Ford. The result was a marvellous 4.0-L V12 engine pushing out 450 bhp. An in-house transmission was developed, along with new wheels and wider tires – the main changes from the Ferrari 330 P3. Only two 330 P4 cars were produced – one Berlinetta Coupe and one Spider.
Enzo was determined to beat Ford, so he sent his team out to Daytona to test the two P4s. The drivers in the 330 P4 Berlinetta were Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini, while Michael Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti piloted the 330 P4 Spider. Amon actually finished sixth at the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours…driving a Ford, which he compared to driving a truck. Poaching a Ford driver from the year before just added to the comeback Ferrari was mounting.
Though the paddock area was closed to the public, the grandstands were not. Some lucky Americans got to enjoy the Italians working on their cars – including a few Ford employees equipped with stopwatches, binoculars and long-lens cameras. Of course, they gave all of this information to Ford executives. Ferrari broke the track record previously set by Ford in 1966, with an average speed was also well above Ford’s own record.
When Ferrari went back to Italy, Ford reserved the track to test the Mark III GT40. During testing, issues such as oversteering, cracking wheels and chassis failure occurred, so they had to go home sooner that they would’ve hoped. Luckily for Ferrari, Ford ran out of time for further development and dropped the Mark III GT40 from its racing program, pinning all its hopes on the Mark II.
1967 24 Hours of Daytona
Photo: Ford Media Archives
At the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, Ford decided to enter as many cars as possible to spread out their winning chances. There were six Ford Mark II GT40s, but also three private entry GT40s, a Cobra, six Mustang GT-350s, several Cortinas and two Falcons spread out over several categories. Ford managed to take pole position, as Dan Gurney set a time of 1.55:1 in the Mark II GT40 he shared with A.J. Foyt. The NART Ferrari 412 P qualified third, with the Ferrari 330 P3/4 on fourth and the Ferrari 330 P4 on sixth.
When the green flag dropped, Phil Hill’s Chaparral 2F overtook Dan Gurney in the Mark II GT40, extending his lead to 20 seconds within the first 30 minutes of the race. Ferrari fans in the grandstands were eager to see Prancing Horses challenge the Fords and Chaparrals. However, the teams themselves decided to focus on their own lap times and not challenge the others unless they had at least a 5-lap lead.
Chaparral 2F #2F001 driven by Phil Hill and Mike Spence.
Phil Hill and Mike Spence’s Chaparral lost control on lap 88 and had to go into the pits for repairs. Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti took the lead in their 330 P4, with Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini in second. As the race progressed, more and more Mark II GT40s had to make unplanned pit stops, which proved very beneficial for Ferrari.
Proving Their Point
Ferrari 330 P4 #0856
Around 9:00 PM, the Chaparrals were both out of the race and the issues at Ford were only getting worse. Ferrari was running 1-2-3-4 and the Parkes/Scarfiotti 330 P4 was running an average speed of 176 kph (109.5 mph). At this point, it was almost certain Ferrari would take victory in the over-2-liter category.
Ferrari was dominating. After Gurney and Foyt took a pit stop to replace their Mark II GT40 transmission with an older version, they managed to make it back to fifth position in the 18th hour. Unfortunately for them, their engine issues only got worse and the team retired in lap 464 after it gave out completely.
The only Ford challenge to Ferrari still in the race was Bruce McLaren and Lucien Bianchi’s Mark II GT40. Due overheating issues, they had to decrease their pace and were simply not fast enough to challenge the leading cars. Eventually, they finished seventh – almost 300 miles (480 km) behind the winning Ferraris.
The 1-2-3 Cars
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By 8:00 AM, Ferrari drivers were comfortably in the lead and slowed their pace to prevent issues. Amon/Bandini were 17.5 km (11 miles) ahead of Parkes/Scarfiotti and 161 km (100 miles) from Rodriguez/Guichet in the third place 412 P.
With 30 minutes to go, the three Ferraris paraded around the track (nose to tail) at a relaxed pace. During the final lap, the three Prancing Horses drove side-by-side and eventually crossed the finish line together, resulting in that iconic image.
Ferrari led for almost 20 hours – a great victory for the company and Enzo Ferrari in particular.
#23 Ferrari 330 P3/4 #0846 driven by Lorenzo Bandini and Chris Amon.
- 666 laps
- 4084 km (2537 miles) covered
#24 Ferrari 330 P4 #0856 driven by Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti.
- 663 laps
- 4066 km (6544 miles) covered
#26 Ferrari 412 P #0844 driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet.
- 637 laps
- 3906 km (6286 miles) covered
Ferrari decided not to race at the 12 Hours of Sebring in April of that year. Various excuses were given by the company, such as its proximity to the Le Mans test day, Ferrari’s dislike of the track or the fact it was not in their agenda. Most likely, though, Ferrari was afraid of legal action. The year prior, a Ferrari 365 P2 piloted by Mario Andretti and Pedro Rodriguez crashed at Sebring and killed four spectators.
The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 came into production in 1968 and was quickly dubbed the Ferrari Daytona, in celebration of the achievement.
Written by Max Lammers. Join our email list if you’re interested in receiving the latest on our online magazine and store.
Source: Sports Car Digest