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Why Ken Miles did not win the '66 Le Mans 24

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by Gatorrari, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I found a photo which graphically shows why Ken Miles did not win the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. It shows the cars leaving the grid at the start. #1 is the car driven by Miles and Denny Hulme that was supposed to win the race. #2 is the car driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon that did win the race.

    See the distance between them? That was the official margin of victory! Since the #2 car traveled that much further to get to the finish line, that's why they were credited with the victory, in spite of the cars crossing the line side by side. Miles would have had to finish that far ahead of McLaren to have won the race.
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  2. crinoid

    crinoid F1 Veteran
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    This is a technicality. Why was the technicality needing to be applied?
     
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  3. Turbopanzer

    Turbopanzer F1 Veteran

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    Staged finishes have a tendency to do this.
     
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  4. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    #4 william, Nov 18, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
    In most races, the positions on the grid are not taken into account for the final result; what matters is who first pass the chequered flag .

    I had never heard of such "technicality" being applied before Le Mans 66.

    I think the ACO wanted to show their disapproval of Ford dead heat plan.
     
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  5. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The Le Mans rules stated that the car that traveled the greatest distance in 24 hours was the winner. I suppose that rule was eliminated when they changed to a rolling start in 1971.

    And I read that Leo Beebe of Ford knew about the rule but wanted the staged finish anyway. Supposedly he was mad at Miles and Gurney for dicing with each other well into the race, against team orders, but Gurney's car didn't make it to the finish.
     
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  6. ChadR

    ChadR Karting

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    I just watched a documentary on this. Then while preparing to win for the next year, he died while testing the car I believe. What luck...
     
  7. Jack-the-lad

    Jack-the-lad Three Time F1 World Champ
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    That’s correct. It was not a technicality at all. Car 2 had traveled the greatest distance when it crossed the finish line, thus winning the race. That was the rule.
     
  8. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    So qualifying faster is a penalty...still don't see why it should apply like that. How can they even accurately measure how much farther back the car started let alone accurately measure the distance a car is at the finish relative to others? And what's to say Ken Miles racing line was not the same as the #2 car and therefore it was slightly farther when you actually put an odometer on it?

    Edit: And the race doesn't actually end right at 24 hours so still doesn't make sense who travels farther in 24 hours when they actually race more than 24 hours.
     
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  9. Turbopanzer

    Turbopanzer F1 Veteran

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    Because they make the rules. Control is always a part of any racing sanctioning body. They decide. Not rhe racers. Just look at this years disqualifactions at LeMans. Think that was planned ?
     
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  10. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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  11. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    damn it, they need to go change the results of the all the F1 races now.
     
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  12. TheMayor

    TheMayor Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    FUN FACT:

    I prepped and crewed a car for Denny Hulme at the Monterey Historics 2 years before his passing.

    Interesting guy! Those ol' school guys really knew how to drive
     
  13. Jack-the-lad

    Jack-the-lad Three Time F1 World Champ
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    It’s the car that travels the greatest distance when the race ends...i.e. when the checkered flag falls. If the leading car crosses the line at 4:02 then that’s when the race ends. Measuring the distance is simple enough because they know the width of each starting box for the Le Mans start, and the finishing distance is easily measured by photographs.

    The rules have changed since they began using the rolling start at Le Mans.
     
  14. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    In that 1966 race with such a close finish they could, but I was thinking how they could implement something like that for someone that started farther back and wasn't as close at the end as the first car over the line. i.e. someone started 200 feet behind first guy over finish line , but finished 198 feet behind the first guy over the line so technically traveled 2 feet farther...not sure how in 1966 they could do that accurately.
     
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  15. Thomas Magnum

    Thomas Magnum F1 Veteran
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  16. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The difference is that Grands Prix are not timed events. If you had a dead heat in the "2 Hours of Brazil", that would be different if you had started with a Le Mans start. Like I said, I think they revised the rule when they went to a rolling start, so now the Le Mans winner is the first car across the finish line, just like all other racing events.
     
  17. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Right. If Miles had started 60 feet ahead of McLaren and had violated team orders and finished "about" 60 feet ahead of McLaren, how would the officials have been able to determine whether he won or not using 1966 technology? It's an interesting point to ponder.
     
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  18. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I think the guy waving the checkered flag in 1966, with his hat in his left hand, is the same guy who waved it at Carroll Shelby when he won in 1959!
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  19. rob lay

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    I know those were the "grey" rules back then and the stewards do what stewards do. however, by all reason of logic a race is the first one to cross the finish line. as mentioned, no timed events end right on the 24, 12, 3, or whatever. no race has operated on "distance traveled" for 40+ years?
     
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  20. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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  21. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
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    Yes, interesting guy, I met him at a party in Carmel during a Monterey Historics week, I think it was around 1992 or so. I ran a Merlyn MK 6a with which I won the Chopard award for presentation and performance in 1991.
    I remember we talked about big truck racing Down Under, He said he loved it. Phil Hill was there as well.
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  22. buddyg

    buddyg Formula 3
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    The thing that really sucks is Ken was so far ahead and he decided to be a team player and got screwed!
     
  23. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
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    Six degrees of separation

    This talk about Ken Miles brought back memories:

    It must have been around 1961-2 or so when I and a my racing buddy bought a almost finished race car built by a guy named Phil Washburn in Oakland CA.

    It was what we called in those days a "Special" that is a hand built one of kind car.

    This one was a loose copy of a Lotus Seven with a Chevy Two 4 cylinder motor running dual SU side drafts coupled to a Jaguar "Moss" gearbox then to a shortened Volvo rear axle.

    When we finished this project in 1963 we entered it in an SCCA /USRRC race at Laguna Seca and for a car name I came up with "The Pandora Special" after a box of the same name. We were in one of the support races, not the USRRC race.

    Back to Ken Miles........The trailer we towed that car to the races on was built to carry another special, a home built car named the Flying Shingle.

    Both car and trailer were built by Ken Miles



     
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  24. GordonC

    GordonC F1 Rookie
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    As described in the book Go Like Hell, with two hours remaining in the race, Miles was leading from Mclaren a lap down (and a Holman-Moody GT40 was 3rd, 12 laps down), but Shelby asked Beebe what he wanted to do about the finish. According to the book, Beebe answered"I don't know. I'd kind of like to see all three of them cross the finish line together." Shelby thought a tie between the #1 and #2 cars would be a great idea, and replied "Oh hell, let's do it that way then". Beebe asked a Ford of France exec to check with the officials if a tie could be arranged, and the Ford of France exec came back to say the organizers had said that if Ford wanted to do it, they could arrange a tie and cooperate with Ford. From then, Shelby briefed the drivers McLaren and Miles about the plan - Mclaren was fine with it, Miles was not at all happy about having to give up the outright win and share a tie. Nonetheless, after the two cars came in with one hour remaining for the final driver changes, Miles did slow his pace and let Mclaren catch up.

    However - after the final pit stops, in the last hour, the Ford of France exec came back to tell Beebe that the Le Mans officials had changed their minds and now advised that a tie would not be possible, that because McLaren's car started 20 feet farther back, it would have travelled further than Miles' car and thus would win by 20 feet. Beebe said "Oh my God, that's not what we want at all. Is there any basis for appealing that?" He found himself in an excruciating predicament, but they didn't have time to figure out how to change the drivers orders for the tie, it was too late.

    The book also says that after running side by side into the finish straight, McLaren suddenly moved his car ahead of Miles by a car length, not honoring the tie order anyway - that's supported by the actual race finish photos, showing McLaren's car ahead at the flag. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because of the start spacing and total distance rule - but nonetheless, there was confusion and Miles did get screwed by the attempt to stage a tie.

    No race.. except Le Mans when they had the standing start for 40+ years ;) It wasn't grey, it was in the books; aside from the officials agreeing that Ford could do a tie and they would class it as such, then changing their minds after the drivers had been instructed.

    Le Mans always had their own set of rules, with a unique Index of Performance category and category sets that didn't always match US or European endurance series rules.
     
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  25. rob lay

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    OK, just saw another documentary last night and it said more hours back into the race that Miles was actually far behind McLaren/Amon and the 3 Fords were ordered to back off 30 seconds a lap. Everyone did it but Miles and that's when he was able to get ahead of McLaren/Amon.
     
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