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Ford's unfair advantage at LeMans '67

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by atheyg, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Interesting that Ford retained a Shelby engineer Phil Remington who designed a system to remove the red hot disc brakes in less than a minute at routine pit stops which made a significant difference along with access to a Boeing 707 that could fly parts in at the last minute such as Gt40 windsheilds at the eve of the race.

    Ferrari also had the bad luck of loosing Surtees at the eve of the race, maybe Ferrari would have had a different result.
     
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  3. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    32,118
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    Were you there? Did you see the P4's top out at 199 on the Mulsanne while the MK-IVs reached 223? Have you ever driven a MK-IV? Have you ever looked closely at one? Have you ever driven a P4? Did you notice how beat up Parkes looked after he climbed out of his P4 after 24 hours? Did you notice how Dan looked as he sprayed the Champaine after winning by 135 miles?
    135 miles. Think about that. I own a P4 and a MK-IV. I love them both but:
    When the flag drops the bullsh*t stops.
    The MK-IV entered only 2 races Sebring and LeMans. It won them both. It was so fast it caused Ferrari to drop out of sportscar racing for several years. It took a bit more than Phils' quick release brakes to do that.
    BTW the windshields were flown over in the passenger seat of a comercial jet. Anyone with a passport had access to that seat.
     
  4. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Jim,

    The season started out well for Ferrari at Daytona with a easy win in the P4s, but Ford brought out all the stops with Gurney and Foyt, the Ferrari team held its own until the last hour and a half

    All the money Ford also spent on the wind tunnel testing also made a difference in the cars, Ferrari thought the key to success was a powerful engine and should have also spent more time on wind tunnel testing.

    Ferrari continuted sports car racing after Ford left with the 512 series competing against the Porsche 917s until 73 when they finaly threw in the towel.
     
  5. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Oct 23, 2002
    32,118
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    After the MK-IV blew them away in 67 Ferrari dropped out for several years. They came back with the 512 which P blew away and they dropped out again.
    Ford won LeMans in 66,67,68,&69. If you read what Dan wrote about the 67 race you'll find that he could beat the P4 without even pushing. He limited the engine to 6400. It could easily have run for 24 at 6800. Ford had already run 24 at 6800 on the dyno with no problems. Even limited it beat the P4 by 135 miles. He told me the P4's weren't ever a problem. The P4's were only hoping the Fords didn't last. If a crew person hadn't reversed Andretti's pads causing him to crash out and if the tail hadn't come off of my car due to a crew member leaving the latching pin out the MK-IV's would have finished 1,2,3 instead of 1,4.
    Forget the "if's" The Mk-IV won, the P4 didn't. Hey I love my P4 but's it's an antique compared my MK-IV.
     
  6. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Interesting,

    When you get your P4 on the road get your Mk IV out and have a rematch!
     
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  8. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    The only unfair thing about the race was how damn superior the Mk-IVs were. Truly an endurance racing legend of the highest order.

    Cheers
     
  9. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    17,673
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    Pete
    Open yout eyes atheyg, there is no such thing as an unfair advantage in motor racing unless there is cheating involved.

    Ford did not cheat, they designed a racing car by thinking of the whole package. You have simply mentioned what most of us know in that Ferrari do NOT design the best cars (back then anyway) and simply had their head up their arses about how great their engines were, etc. (except just about every English engine (Coventry, Cosworth, BRM (1.5 v8s), Vanwell, etc.) had more horsepower, and beat Ferrari over and over again).

    Ferrari got where it is today by sticking to the racing game with huge passion and thus they have won just about everything, but if you look at any particular time frame they were also rans.

    They stuck with the front engined F1 car way to long, they stuck with drum brakes way tooo long, they stuck with spaceframe type chassis's wawy up into the 80's, they stuck with the low front wing/nose too long (in very recent history), they stuck with v12s too long, and in sportscar racing they stuck with beam axle rear suspension while others had moved on.

    The only unfair advantage other competitors had is that Ferrari as a race team had a lack of innovation that is amazing.

    I remember reading somewhere after a well known racing driver visited the Ferrari factory for the first time, and his comments went along the line that he could not understand why they did not win EVERY WC ... but instead they got beaten by teams such as Lotus who were working out of somebodies backyard shed!!!

    I love Ferrari, and love the fact that they are winning in F1, but I love their commitment to the sport of car racing which NO other company has. I definitely have my eyes open when reading the history books or even viewing one of their vehicles.

    Pete
     
  10. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2002
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    Jeff B.
    Surtees left Ferrari in '66, not '67. And Ford had the quick-change pads and rotors in '66. The winning GT40 at Le Mans in '66 required two changes of front pads and one change of rear pads. Front rotors were changed once, rear rotors lasted the entire race (according to Ford GT40 SAE Papers). The pads could be changed in one to two minutes, the rotors in four to five minutes.
     
  11. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    I would hardly call the Mk IV that superior, Ferrari finished 1,2,3 at Daytona 6 months earlier, in addition to winning Monza, Ferrari finished 2,3 at Le Mans passing the 2nd place GT40 in the 11th hour with the final result Ferrari winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1967 for the 12th time in 14 years

    Ferrari is the biggest winner by far of the World Sportscar Championship until they retired in '73.
     
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  13. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Oct 23, 2002
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    The MK-IV didn't run at Daytona. It's first race was Sebring which it won by a huge amount. At LeMans it was 24 MPH faster than the P4 on the Mulsanne, and much faster per lap. It was so much faster per lap that it set a record for total distance that was NEVER beaten. (The track was changed a few years later.) As for passing my car. A crew member left out a latch pin and the tail came off at speed on the Mulsanne. Bruce McLaren threw down his helmet. (The dent he made in the tub is still there) retrieved it and drove back to the pits. 45 minutes later he set off again. Ferrari desparate to win protested saying the tail was duct taped on and couldn't hindge. The french officials called back my car. As repairs were only allowed with materials in the pits, Charlie Aggapou cut Carrol Shelbys belt into sections and made a hindge. (I still have those sections of Shelbys belt.) 20 minutes later my car set off again. It finished 4th. The P4's didn't catch it, they couldn't and they knew it. Mr. Ferrari knew it as well and that's why he retired for several years from sportscar racing. He came back for a short time until P made him retire again.
     
  14. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    Stop it with this Daytona stuff. Didn't you read Jim's earlier post? The Mk IV didn't race. He has first hand accounts from the winning driver's comments. AND he owns one of each. Nobody is saying the P4 is crap (far from it, quite possibly the best Ferrari ever made). Just pointing out the GT40 was simply the best. Also pointing out how your subject header is incorrect. Ford did not have an "unfair advantage" at Le Mans 1967. It got beaten by a superior car and it got beaten soundly. Yes, it was THAT much better. You don't give the GT40s enough credit.

    Ferrari being the biggest winner by far in 1973 is like saying Bentley was even more dominant in 1930, winning over 62% of all Le Mans races. Porsche is by FAR the winningest car marque in all racing. And while Ferrari was the winningest in 1973, Porsche is currently the winningest with 14 (?) wins as opposed to Ferrari's 9. They also have the longest streak with 7 consecutive years. Which is fitting that they were the ones to retire Ferrari after Ford did their 4 in a row spanking. And please don't say those 917s had an unfair advantage too.
     
  15. Gilles

    Gilles Karting

    Aug 10, 2003
    236
    South of France
    James wrote,
    " Charlie Aggapou cut Carrol Shelbys belt into sections and made a hindge. (I still have those sections of Shelbys belt.) "
    The little story tells this belt is in crocodile-skin, is't true ??
    It's also the first time, at my knowledge, where the "American scotch" was seen in France... And perform a miracle ???
    Thanks for answer at this very important point of history !!!
    Gilles
     
  16. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
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    Pete
    atheyg,

    Come on mate, nobody is having a go at you just stating facts. Ferrari is not a god, they are a car manufacturer that having racing as their core. They win some and loose more, just like everybody else. Where they get my respect is they keep on trying ... unlike 90% of manufacturers who race for imagine reasons and then retire.

    Ferrari in F1 have usually won when there was a rule change and they did not whinge like the Poms but used their manufacturing capacity to quickly produce a car and get on winning. The rest of their F1 history is reasonable but not fantastic and their best pre modern times car was probably the 312T4/5 that Lauda used to win 2 championships. Without Lauda though they would not have done that!. He knows how to rack up the points, etc.

    As for sports cars, Ferrari made very strong and reliable race cars (like they did for F1) and they can take a pounding and still be there at the end. Some cars like the 250 GTO were great balanced cars, but hardly advanced, just engineered right. Cars like the P4 (and Jim will agree) and lovely cars and clever in many ways but hardly pushing the technical boundaries of the period. BUT then so were 90% of race car development at the time.

    I read a story about an aircraft engineer being asked by some F1 team in the 70's to help them improve their car and he took one look and laughed and asked if they were trying to build a tank ... and promptly left back to aeroplanes.

    Thus Ford quite right with the MKIV looked at the way more advance methods that the aircraft industry used and designed a car that was not bettered (technology wise) for something like 20 years. Is that Fords fault for doing what everybody else should have done?, absolutely not.

    I actually respect Ford for this, and respect their involvement in F1, which other than Ferrari is the longest REAL manufacturer involvement.

    In the end they just proved to Ferrari what the history books show now that they (and the rest, I guess) needed to expand their thinking and move forward.

    To fully respect somebody you have to understand their weaknesses too, otherwise one day you are going to have a reality check/fright. Open your eyes and read the history books and understand fully Ferrari and their greatness and ALSO their weaknesses, and I personally think if more people did this before they bought they would be less disappointed, etc.

    Pete
     
  17. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    PSk and Taek,

    I am just stating the facts, no rose colored glasses here, you both should read up on history, no Ferrari is not a God but the facts are facts they have one more of the races that count than anyone.

    The Gt 40 was at Daytona, not the Mk-IV but Mk II and placed 6,7.8 as well as Monza.

    Ferrari still has the most wins of all race car constructors, they hold more World Constructor Titles than anyone by far up to TODAY even though they retired in 1973, this includes Porsche and Ford.If you want to break down to the smaller classes yes the Porsche 911 has won more races than any car but only in its class
     
  18. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Pete
    There is a huge difference between the Mk II and Mk-IV GT40. The earlier versions where designed in England and based on a Lola. The Mk-IV is the only American designed Ford GT40 and the only one that won every race it started (I believe).

    The comparison is like comparing a P4 Ferrari with a 250 GT Swb, one is light years ahead of the other.

    Even so ALL GT40's have monocoque construction and ahead of the Ferraris and others at the time, but did not necessarily win like the Mk-IV's did.

    The Mk-IV's btw have an alloy honeycomb sandwhich monocoque that is years ahead of anything else until carbonfibre came around.

    Pete
    ps: Anyway I have read many, many history books on Ferrari and yes they have won many, many races but advanced and Ferrari in the same sentence just don't go ...
     
  19. aventino

    aventino Formula Junior

    Jun 16, 2003
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    Hong Kong
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    David L
    And, if horsepower ever became a problem, they could possibly have run their Nascar-outlawed SOHC 427 in the MK IV as well........

    A gem of a motor and lethal in the Holman & Moody F/X Mustangs during the same period.
     
  20. model builder

    model builder Formula Junior

    Oct 15, 2003
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    Edward Cervo
    Atheyg,
    Ferrari did not retire for "several" years from Sports car racing. They only dropped out for 1968. In 1969 they had the 312P. Not very successful, but they were at LM. In 1970 were the 512S and in 71 was the 512M as well the the 312PB. The 512S did not do very well nor did the 512M. The 312PB didn't make LM until 73 finishing 2nd but dominated there classes in other races other than LM from 71 on up.

    In 72 Ferrari dominated GT class, end of story. 73 it won GT again.

    As for Ford. They DID drop out after 67. The MKIV is an outstanding racing car. Its undeniable. The 68 and 69 Gulf LM Winner cars were not officially Ford backed and were MKI's anyway. Great cars also. Ford proved they could build a race car and left racing the protos

    But just to set the record straight. Ferrari only dropped out for 68.

    Ed
    Island Collectibles, Inc
     
  21. model builder

    model builder Formula Junior

    Oct 15, 2003
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    Edward Cervo
    Sorry,
    The above post is directed at Napolis, NOT Atheyg.
    My apologies Atheyg

    Ed
     
  22. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    The MKI that won in 68,69 was a production sports car not a Prototype and they weren't "cars" they were the same car,1075 won twice.
    Ferrari did try the 312P in 69 but as you've pointed out it even though it was a prototype it couldn't beat the production Ford.
    The one fact that can't be explained away is that Ferrari has not won LeMans since 1965. I for one would rather they fixed that than spent PM's $ selling cigs in their Team Marlboro F1 car. IMHO LeMans has more to do with the cars we drive than F1.
     
  23. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    1,601
    Los Angeles
    He wasnt comparing the GT40 Mark II to the IV. The way I read it - Atheyg stated that the P4 won Daytona. Which they did. Stickandnice then got on his case and said they won 'cause the GT40 IV wasn't there! I dont think that that matters. If you win a race and some superior car is not there - that doesn't matter. You still won the race. A fact's a fact. To quote James " the flag dropped and the BS stopped".

    Hey technology marches on. The GT40- IV was a superior car to the P4. The 917 then became dominant etc.
     
  24. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    The point is that there was no unfair advantage.
     
  25. Gilles

    Gilles Karting

    Aug 10, 2003
    236
    South of France
  26. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
  27. Interesting, if you scroll down to the "Le Mans April Tests- FERRARI P4: 3'25"5 RECORD" article you see the name of one David Hobbs in the textbox with the times. I wonder if it's the same David Hobbs we all know and love from the Speedvision F1 broadcasts.
     
  28. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    I believe it is. It's also interesting to note that when my car (MK-IV) won the pole it turned a 3'22"3 braking that record. I think Bandini set the record in the P4 (another car I own) rather than Hobbs despite what's listed there. Others?
     

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