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Historical Question: why didn't Enzo go for broke against Ford in '66?

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by bitzman, May 5, 2019.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

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    I know Ford has 13 Ford GTs on the grid at LeMans in '66, but Ferrari probably only had 3 or 4 prototyppes that could run toe to toe with the big block Fords. Have any Ferrari historians speculated in print why Ferrari didn't pull out of F1 and all other racing as early as '64 or as ;ate as '66 in order to be able to field a dozen mid-engined GT prototypes at LeMans? Didn't Enzo realize losing to Ford. a maker of mundane passenger cars--would hurt Ferrari's hard won image and allure? My pet theory is that Enzo never thought a cast iron block cast iron heads pushrod V8 could beat his sophisticated V12s. Or maybe he thought a self taught failed chicken farmer like Shelby coun't steer Ford in the direction they needed to go?
     
  2. INRange

    INRange F1 Rookie
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    Ferrari won every LeMans from 1960 to 1965. In 1965 Ford showed up with I think 8 cars (4-289s, and 4-427s) and lost. If you are Enzo....are you going to be scared? He just stuck with the program while Ford switched all the cars over to 427s and tuned the suspensions. Ford ran the engines on a dyno simulating LeMans shifting and grades to make sure the big block engine hung together. They ran them around 7,000 rpm which meant they could run all day and night without a lot of stress.

    Ford threw a lot of money at the program to win.
     
  3. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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    Original question in wrong section.
     
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  4. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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  5. 375+

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    Very worthwhile, thanks for posting.
     
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  6. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

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    I talked to a couple Cobra people at the Shelby tribute in Gardena last Saruday and asked them the same question. Mike McCluskey, a Cobra restorer, said that the 427 could make 500 hp. without half trying while the 289 couldn't make that without being stressed to the limit. Ford wasn't worried about the extra weight of the big block if, in exchange, they would get relibility over 24 hours.I think the big block Ford GTs even ran part of the time at LeMans at 5,000 rom because if they were in the lead they didn't need to strain so much and orders came down from HFII to throttle back to prevent blowing up before the finish (in '66)
     
  7. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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    #7 miurasv, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
    Ferrari recognised the challenge from Ford, and had pulled out all the stops, within his budget, with the introduction of the 330 P3 for the '66 season. Apart from the engine, which was updated with fuel injection, the P3 was an all new car to try and meet the challenge from the GT40.
     
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  8. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    And so moved.

    Matt
     
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  9. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Rookie
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    Wally,

    The idea that Enzo would elect to quit F1 for his Sports Car racing is inconceivable. F1 was his first commitment.

    Ferrari was also focused on the full prototype season not just a couple of selected races. Ford did not share this same commitment.

    As Steve points out, Enzo competed to the limits of his financial and industrial abilities. The P4 arguably could have won its overall season if it had not been for the labor union strikes in Italy. Anyway, the cost spiral to compete against Ford did ultimately result in the sale to Fiat.
     
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  10. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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    #10 miurasv, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Although P4s came 2nd and 3rd at Le Mans 1967 behind the winning Ford GT MK IV, Ferrari did win the overall 1967 championship, which was clinched at Brands Hatch in the final race of the 1967 season by coming 2nd in a P4.
     
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  11. Ferrari 360 CS

    Ferrari 360 CS F1 Veteran

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    It would be interesting to know what Ferrari spent versus what Ford's spent on developing the GT40....
     
  12. PCHMOTOHO

    PCHMOTOHO Karting

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    Yes Ford has made millions of mundane passenger cars but as you obviously know they also made cars capable of beating the worlds best.

    Shelby may have been a one time chicken farmer but he was also one hell of a racer and manufacturer.
     
  13. mello

    mello F1 Rookie
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    There's a good documentary about the race on Amazon Prime Video: "The 24 Hour War"
     
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  14. PCHMOTOHO

    PCHMOTOHO Karting

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    Yes, I hear its great. Thanks for reminding me. God willing my 2 year old may let me watch it tonight.
     
  15. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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  16. GBTR6

    GBTR6 Formula Junior

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    Simple understressed engines last longer in battle than highly stressed, complicated ones. And there's no substitute for cubic inches and basic American Hot Rod power.

    Perry
     
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  17. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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    A Ferrari would not be a Ferrari without its screaming and technically marvellous engine and would not suit a big agricultural pushrod engine.
     
  18. JCR

    JCR F1 Veteran
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    And that "agricultural" engine kicked the crap out of Ferrari.
     
  19. gcalex

    gcalex Karting

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    Well, I think it is fair to say that it was not just the engines that won Le Mans, but yes, with sufficient development, the Ford engines did prove to be up to the task; hats off to Ford.

    That said, the Ferrari company of that era was (I get the impression) very much a reflection of the sensibilities to Enzo, and I've always gotten the sense that while winning was of great importance, keeping with the sensibilities of Enzo was also a high priority.

    It is perhaps no surprise that Ferrari put F1 at the top of the priority list, rather than prototypes; F1 definitely seems more inline with the sensibilities of Enzo...
     
  20. Jürgen Geisler

    Jürgen Geisler Formula Junior
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    Not an easy time for Ferrari at the end of the 60th/beginnig of the 70th in endurance racing… Ford proved to be a real competitor, able to beat the brilliant, stunning looking, high tech Ferrari's...

    But the biggest concurrent was just about to arrive at the end of the decade, when the 5 Liter engine capacity has been launched by the FIA. 3 Liter cars where not capable to win the forthcoming endurance races. Ferrari was under pressure again…..


    Jürgen
     
  21. TTR

    TTR Formula 3
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    While I don't follow motor (or any) sports, just out of curiosity, how times before or since has that “agri” manufacturer been able to manage same in past 70+ years on same or similar playing fields ?
    Or has that "agri" conglomerates behind been kicked more often by the "smaller" manufacturer, even if former has been in business building & developing their products several decades before the other was even launched ?
    :rolleyes:
     
  22. mello

    mello F1 Rookie
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  23. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

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    Looking back, I think Enzo made a mistake. If he could have fielded ten mid-engine cars at LeMans and beat Ford in 66 he would have received more investment (Fiat would have bought sim sooner) What difference would it make if he sat out F1 for a year. His fans would understand the temporary change in priorities.Every time I bring this up, people say "Ferrari was the Goliath in that battle due to their technical superiorty" but David still won...
     
  24. Daytonafan

    Daytonafan F1 Rookie

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    Pulling out of F1 and building 10 sports prototypes would have been a massive risk though. There is no way the factory could have run 10 cars themselves just in terms of cost of mechanics and suitable drivers, and I doubt that NART or Maranello concessionaires would have been willing to run more than a car each which would lead Ferrari with potentially a big risk in expensive unsold cars.

    Even if they could have built and sell 10 competitive cars is that any guarantee they would have been any more successful? It would have been an awfully big investment for them to still come up short. Think how crippled Maserati was after the 1957 World Sportscar championship and the last race in particular, a full Hail Mary at Le Mans and coming up short could have finished Ferrari off.

    Perhaps rather than building a massive fleet of race cars Ferrari would have been better served optimising the P3 more for Le Mans? I believe it was Chris Amon that said the GT40 was built to race at Le Mans, the Ferraris were built to race everywhere.
     
  25. miurasv

    miurasv F1 Veteran

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    #25 miurasv, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    Well actually no, that's an exaggeration imo. Ferrari actually kicked the crap out of Ford in '64 and '65 with 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Le Mans in both years, and both championships. Ford had the 1,2,3 in '66 at LM with their 75% bigger engines, plus the championship and won in '67 at LM with Ferrari 2nd and 3rd, but Ford did NOT win the championship with Ferrari regaining it. Due to the new regulations for '68 Ferrari effectively pulled out of racing at Le Mans in this class.
     

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