|ATLAS F1 Volume 7, Issue 19||Email to Friend Printable Version|
|Rear View Mirror|
Backward glances at racing history
Three of Three: A Tale of the Life and
Times of the Grand Prix World, 1966 to 1968
|by Don Capps, U.S.A.|
Part 7: February 1966 - Daytona, USA
There's only one thing sillier than a 12-hour race at Daytona, and that's a 24-hour race at Daytona. David E. Davis, Jr.
The Daytona Continental was a three hour race in 1962, became a 2,000-kilometer race in 1964, and was now a duel twice around the clock. The race is the vanguard of what many in the road racing community consider an effort by Bill France and NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing) to shoehorn their way into American road racing. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but the race is becoming more and more a fixture on the calendar.
When the entrants all assembled in the garage area, there was one missing, Ferrari SpA SEFAC (Societa per Azioni Escercizo Fabbriche Automobile E Corse). For various reasons, Enzo Ferrari decided not to send any cars to participate in the Continental, but Ford sent not one but two teams this year; the Chaparral folks also showed up with their new enduro racer, the 2D; and, Porsche sent its new Carerra 6, which was promptly dubbed the 'Batmobile' by the Press.
As mentioned, Ford came to Daytona with two teams: Shelby American International (SAI) and Holman-Moody. The two teams brought along all five of the Ford GT Mk. II cars that had been completed. All were developments of the earlier Mark II used at Le Mans in 1965. The 427-cubic inch engine was now standard. The SAI team entries used Goodyear tires, while the H&M team ran its entries on Firestone tires.
The entries of the Shelby American team were:
The Holman & Moody entries were:
There were four Ford GT40 entries in addition to the five Mark II entries. The Ford GT40 cars were still running the 289-cubic inch engines. Essex Wire had cars for the Pete Revson/ Masten Gregory/ Ed Lowther trio (1010) and for the Skip Scott/ Dick Thompson (1026) duo. Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) entered one car for Andy Sutcliffe and Bob Grossman (105). The previous years winner of the Continental (103) was now in the hands of Bill Wonder, who shared the car with Herb Wetanson.
Up against the Fords were a number of Ferraris. Although the new 330P3 and the Dino 206/S cars were available at least in theory the factory did not farm them out to any of the private teams. The Luigi Chinetti organization, the North American Racing Team (NART) entered a Ferrari 265P2 of 4.4-litres for Pedro Rodriguez and Mario Andretti and two Ferrari 250LM for Jochen Rindt/ Bob Bondurant and George Follmer/ Webster. Ecurie Francorchamps also entered a Ferrari 265P2 for Lucien Bianchi/ Langlois Van Opheim, but only one Ferrari 250LM for 'Elde'/ Jacky Ickx. There were another five entries for the Ferrari 250LM machines: Bernard White, George Drummond, David Piper, Jackie Epstein, and Peter Clarke. In addition, there was the original Ferrari GTO (3223) prototype being driven by Larry Perkins and Jack Slottag.
There were two types entries from Porsche Systems Engineering for the race. One type was the 904 cars for Gerhard Mitter/ Joe Buzzetta and Gunther Klass/ Udo Schutz. The other was the new Carrera 6/ 906 for Hans Herrmann and Herbert Linge. The 906 drew many long looks from the Ford and Ferrari camps. The thought that Porsche might have dropped a joker into the game crossed more than a few minds.
The 906 or Carrera 6 was a development of the 904/8 Spyder of the 1965 hillclimb season. The introduction of the new FIA Sports Car class Group 4 in 1966, requiring only 50 cars to be built, got the young engineers at Zuffenhausen eyeing the world through a new set of lenses. The 906 barely met the height requirements and was a car one looked 'down at' versus 'at.' The 906 borrowed what it could from the 904 the suspension and brakes, but otherwise was as different as could be. The frame was a spaceframe instead of a monocoque. The fuel capacity was 100 litres. The 906 used the six-cylinder 901/20 engine, giving an estimated 210bhp at 8,000rpm. It tipped the scales at a modest 675kg.
The bodywork was simply stunning. Only the Chaparral seemed to be in the same decade with the 906. The gull-wing design was promptly dubbed the 'Batmobile.' The asking price was DM45,000 or about US$11,500. By Daytona, virtually every one of the 50 planned for production was claimed along with the DM10,000 deposit. Although an attempt was made to get the 906 certified for road use in West Germany, it failed to meet the licensing requirements. This was the first time that a Porsche two-seater had failed to do so. And the young engineers at Zuffenhausen could care less all the cars were sold .
The car that drew the most attention was the new Chaparral, the 2D (actually chassis 2A001). Unlike what most expected, the 2D was revealed to be a coupe, not a roadster. It was essentially one of the USRRC 2As refined and modified for the task at hand. The feature that gained more than a few looks was the flipper from that of the 2C. All in all, the 2D was a very striking looking car and certainly looked the part of a challenger to the Fords and Ferraris. In practice the team ran a smaller 302-cubic inch engine, switching to a 327 for the race itself. One factor that made many look hard at the Chaparral team as contenders was not just their victory at Sebring, but the experienced crew driving for the Midland, Texas outfit Phil Hill and Joakim Bonnier.
Having relinquished any thought it seems of returning to competition himself, Roger Penske was the entrant of a Chevrolet Corvette in the GT class. The Corvette was equipped with the 427-cubic inch Mark IV 'porcupine head' engine which was now back to it original size after a few years at 396-cubic inches. The Corvette was in the hands of the trio of Dick Guldstrand/ George Wintersteen/ Ben Moore. After the Cobra domination of the GT class for several years, it was interesting to see a competitive Corvette back in the paddock.
When the Usual Shambles called practice was over, the pole was occupied by the Ford GT Mk. II of Miles and Ruby with a time of 1min 57.6sec with the other front row position going to the white Chaparral of Hill/ Bonnier by the margin of only 0.2 seconds. The second row was filled by the Hansgen/ Donohue Ford GT Mk. II and the Ferrari 363P2 of Rodriguez/ Andretti. The starting field was 60 strong this year. One cringed to imagine what the speed differential was between the Ford GT Mk. II and some of the smaller cars was on the banking.
At 1500 (3:00pm), the pace car released the pack on the back straight. The cars came screaming and howling around the tri-oval and unlike previous seasons, made a left turn into the infield. In the past, there was a near complete lap of the oval before the cars used the infield. The Chaparral grabbed the lead at the start and was credited for leading the first lap. Then the # 98 Ford GT Mk. II with Ken Miles at the wheel went by for the lead. Behind the Chaparral were Hansgen, Rodriguez, and Bianchi. The Ginther Mark II pitted on the second lap to attend to the difficulties caused when the parking brake was left partially engaged. The heat buildup set the brake fluid to boiling and not even Ginther was willing to drive the banking without brakes.
Soon after only seven laps being run, the # 65 Chaparral went diving into the pits, Bonnier complaining of a an unusual noise and vibration from the rear of the car almost directly behind his back. After much hurried discussion, it was realized that Bonnier was hearing and feeling the fuel sloshing around in the reserve tank. There was also a loose alternator belt to boot.
No sooner was the Chaparral back on the track it seemed than it was back in the pits. This time with only 45 minutes of the race on the clock. The problem this time was with the steering. The steering rack was discovered to be the problem which necessitated its replacement, a process which consumed an hour. The culprit, finally traced to a binding pinion gear, was the first known failure of this component at Chaparral. Around 1800 (6pm), the Chaparral in 54th place and with gaggles of small bore chicanes ahead of it.
The NART 365P2 started a series of pit stops to find a solution to the right rear tire rubbing the bodywork. The problem was only on the banking, but the thought of having a tire pop and send the Ferrari into the wall was enough to concern even the fearless young Mexican. The stops put the Ferrari completely out of touch with the leading Fords.
Down in the field, the 250LM and GT40s were having their own problems. The normally reliable gearboxes of the 250LMs sent three of the cars to the garage for good, the first with the race only four hours old. The Wonder GT40 suffered a broken wheel, but after returning to the track retired with other ailments. To add to its woes, the Chaparral was back in the pits after about the five hour mark with a broken exhaust header. This put the Chaparral back down the standings.
During the night, the Belgian 365P2 retired when a piston cried enough and failed. The Mark II with the automatic gearbox also retired during this period, the gearbox dying. The auto Mark II also suffered from having to have the manifold attended to several times. Even while running, the Ginther/ Bucknum car seemed to lack the speed and quickness of the other Ford prototypes. Joining these was the Chaparral, by now (0200/ 2am) all the way back up to 17t place. The hub carrier broke while Bonnier was on the banking and the Swede was fortunate to wind up in the in-field with nothing worse than a good scare. Interestingly enough, there were still 41 starters running or at least limping quickly when daylight returned. Needless to say, this was more than most imagined. Temperatures were also anything but tropical the thermometer registered temperatures below 0° C/ 32° F for most of the night and not much better during the daylight hours.
One trick that Ford unveiled for the race was the tactic of not just changing the brake pads frequently these are very heavy cars, 1200 kilograms, but the entire brake assembly. Quick-change calipers and other means to aid the process were devised. At about dawn, the remaining Mark II cars started the stops to change the brake discs. The H&M entry of Hansgen/ Donohue started the round of stops to change discs. The H&M team took 15 minutes for the change. The SAI team nailed the change for the leading Miles/ Ruby car with a time of five minutes and barring any mechanical failure or mayhem from stumbling over a back-marker, that was basically the race.
The Essex Wire team lost one car when one car had to retire when the gearbox packed up. The new Porsche Batmobile was impressive, but never a real challenge to the leaders. However, it seemed to signal a change of thinking by Porsche: it was now looking at overall wins at events other than the Targa Florio and the odd fluke.
When the clock finished its second lap and the flag dropped, the Miles/ Ruby Mark II had covered 678 laps, leading nearly all of them. The winning team split the prize money of $15,500, far more than most 'professionals' might see in a season. Although the SAI team won, the H&M team proved to be fast learners. The Sports car class was won by one of the Porsche factory 904s. Just outside the top 10 in 12th was the GT class winner, the Penske Corvette.
The Ford stock rose as a result of the win, but that of Chaparral was now being questioned. As for Ferrari, it was still a question mark. And, Porsche was looking very much a true challenger with its new approach to racing.
1st Miles/ Ruby, Ford GT Mk. II 678 laps, 108.02mph
Fastest lap: Dan Gurney, Ford GT Mk. II
After a less than sizzling romp through the New Zealand rounds of the Tasman Championship Series, Jim Clark was tied for a lowly seventh in the Tasman points standings when the series moved to Warwick Farm for the first round on Australian soil. At Warwick Farm, the Clark Lotus duo finally had things go its way for once. Clark benefited from the misfortune that visited Jackie Stewart this time around. After a good start, Stewart was for to leave the track, clipped a fence and was then forced to pit to check out the car. This left Clark leading from Graham Hill. Despite his best efforts, Hill simply could not catch Clark this day. At the end, Clark had a 21-second lead over Hill. Stewart scrambled through the field to finish fourth. With 27 points earned, Stewart now had a 12 point lead over Clark, Hill, and Richard Attwood.
1st Jim Clark, Lotus 39 Climax FPF
At the Lakeside circuit outside Brisbane, Jackie Stewart was safely in the lead at about the half-way point when the gearbox decided to rend itself asunder. This left Graham Hill in the lead, but Jim Clark was gave him a run for his money until the engine went sour towards the end.
1st Graham Hill, BRM P61/2
The unhappiness within the NASCAR community continued unabated from the boardroom into the garage area at Daytona. The Ford teams were still griping about the Hemi engines being used by the Plymouth and Dodge teams. The ACCUS (Automobile Competition Committee of the United States) decision to support the re-introduction of the Mopar Hemi back into NASCAR and the USAC stock car series, yet deny Ford the use of its new overhead camshaft 427 created another potential firestorm with the stock car ranks.
In late December, Ford tested the new 427 OHC in a private session. With Fred Lorenzen doing the driving chores, the Ford Galaxie ran lap speeds in the 178mph range. This was an improvement over the speeds from the 1965 season. Ford announced that it was satisfied with the test session and was looking forward to using the 427 OHC for the 1966 season. The Mopar teams looked on with interest, but concentrated on the business at hand.
A few items before we plunge forward with our story. For 1966, both Goodyear and Firestone had tires with the 'inner-liner' available. The 'inner-liner' was now mandatory at races on the 'super speedways,' that is, any track over one mile (1.6kms) in length. For a model to participate, NASCAR mandated that at least 5,000 had to be produced during the model year. The 22-gallon (83.2-litre) fuel cell was now mandatory, along with four bars on the driver side of the car and one on the passenger side. Also mandatory are new helmet, seatbelt, and shoulder harness rules. In addition, the teams were allowed more freedom to reinforce the frame of the cars. The top of the hood must be at least 31 inches from the ground. The new Dodge Charger was allowed a deck lid spoiler.
NASCAR set up what was essentially three 'classes' for the 1966 season. The Standard Class was for cars with a 119-inch wheelbase, a maximum displacement of 430-cubic inches, and a 4,000-pound minimum weight. This class includes such cars as the Chevrolet Impala, the Dodge Corona, the Ford Galaxie, the Plymouth Fury, and the Pontiac Grand Prix. The Intermediate Class called for a wheelbase of 115-inches, a maximum displacement of 430-cubic inches and a minimum weight of 4,000-pounds or a 405-inch displacement and a minimum weight of 3,500-pounds. This included the Chevrolet Chevelle, Dodge Charger and Coronet, The Ford Fairlane and Mercury Cyclone, the Plymouth Belvedere and Satellite. The Chevrolet 427 with the 'stagger valve' head was allowed two four-barrel carburetors, all others just one. In addition, there was the Compact Class for cars with an 115-inch wheelbase, maximum displacement of 335-cubic inches, and a minimum weight of 2,500 pounds. Cars from the past two model years are also eligible as long as they meet the other rules for the current season.
The first of the qualifiers, lumped all those who set 'odd' qualifying times first, third, fifth, and so forth. On the pole was Richard Petty in the Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere. Regardless of the outcome of the race, Petty would keep the pole position for the race. Everybody else, however, was scrambling for their starting spot in the field in this case, the 'inside' row positions. Next up were the Fords of Fred Lorenzen (Holman-Moody) and Curtis Turner (the Woods Brothers), and then Darel Dieringer in the Bud Moore 1964 Mercury Marauder. In the race itself, Petty led the first dozen laps, but then the Dieringer Mercury got past for a handful of laps. Once Petty was back in the lead, he was now in a ding-dong with Paul Goldsmith in a Nichels Engineering Plymouth. Goldsmith took the lead only to have Petty take it back and lead going into the last lap. Only 100 yards from the finish, Goldsmith edged his Ray Nichels Plymouth ahead of Petty and barely nipped the Petty Enterprises entry at the flag. It was the first Grand National victory for Goldsmith since his win in the last Grand National run on the old Daytona Road-Beach course in February 1958.
Daytona 100-mile Qualifying Race, 40 laps/2.5-mile circuit 100.0 miles
In the second qualifier, the pole was held by the winner of the outside pole position for the race on Sunday, Dick Hutcherson in a Holman-Moody Ford Galaxie. On the outside pole for this race is the surprising quick Jon Thorne Dodge of LeeRoy Yarbrough. Hutcherson was the leader for the first lap with Jim Hurtubise in a Norm Nelson Plymouth not far behind. On the seventh lap the leader was Mario Andretti in a new Smokey Yunick Z-16 Chevelle, numbered '13' and powered by the 'L78' Porcupine engine significantly breathed upon by Smokey. And it proudly proclaimed on its flanks that it was from 'the best damn garage in town.' Andretti was passed by Bunkie Blackburn after only leading a single lap. Blackburn kept his Bob Rosenthal Chevrolet Impala SS until passed by Hurtubise. Hurtubise got elbowed out of the way on lap 25 by Hutcherson, who then looked as if it was his race. On the back straight on the last lap, Earl Balmer in a Ray Fox Dodge used the slipstream to close on Hutcherson. The Ford fishtailed and then kissed the wall in Turn 4. And Hutcherson touched the Hurtubise Plymouth as he rebounded off the wall. Somehow both managed to save their cars both Balmer was now past both cars and held on to win by about four car lengths. Way down in 20th place was an unhappy Mario Andretti after the Yunick Chevelle fell off the pace.
Daytona 100-mile Qualifying Race, 40 laps/2.5-mile circuit 100.0 miles
Although the Mopar teams filled the first rows only Hutcherson on the outside pole being the exception in the first three row, the Fords had not completely disgraced themselves and only the last second bobble of Hutcherson denying him a certain win. Were life that simple...
The Exide International Cup was run on the Sandown Park circuit near Melbourne. The talk of the weekend was the Tasman version of the Repco 620 engine being used by Jack Brabham. It proved fast, but still needing some development. In practice, the Repco put Brabham on the pole. In the race, Jackie Stewart took the lead at the start and left Hill, Brabham, and Clark to sort it out among themselves. When the Repco lost oil pressure, that left it to Hill and Clark. Clark managed to get past Hill, but was unable to do much about Stewart. The victory handed the Tasman Championship to Stewart and the Owen Racing Organisation.
1st Jackie Stewart, BRM P61/2
198 laps/ 2.5-mile circuit, 495 miles
With an announced attendance of 90,000 fans, Daytona on Sunday was one of the largest cities in the Southeast. Although the front of the field was mostly Plymouth or Dodge, the Fords were showing better performance than what the FoMoCo flacks would lead you to believe. Indeed, it actually seemed to be shaping up as a good battle. The field was 50 strong and anchored by Sonny Hutchins in a Junie Donlavey Ford.
In the early laps, it was Richard Petty running a 405-cubic inch Hemi, and Paul Goldsmith providing the fireworks. They traded the lead until Petty pitted on the 18th lap due to tire problems. Indeed, the tires were to be the problem of the day. Petty fell a lap off the pace and struggled to find his way back to the front. To the surprise of many, Fords led from laps 35 to 67 Hutcherson, Marvin Panch in a Woods Brothers entry, and Cale Yarborough in a Banjo Matthews Galaxie.
In the meantime, the tires were chunking very badly and others were joining Petty in the pits. Jim Hurtubise had few problems early on with the tires, assuming the lead on lap 82. From then on he was in trouble and pitted to change flat tires several times, falling far back of the leaders. Hurtubise was luckier than Hutcherson, Curtis Turner in his Woods Brothers Galaxie, or Panch all of whom retired when their windshields were shattered by debris from the exploding tires. The Woods Brothers entries retired within three laps on each other.
As he moved up the field, Petty's crew made the decision that essentially won the race for him: they switched tire compounds and 'slowed' him down. The new compound proved up to the task. Petty retook the lead again on the 97th lap. After some shifting and sorting with Panch and Yarborough for several laps, Petty took the lead for good on lap 113 and left everyone behind. The Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere won the race by a lap over Cale Yarborough. The race was red-flagged when rain starting falling in the closing laps. It was a mixed day since the tire compounds failing to be satisfactory for the conditions ruined the race. But, whatever happened, Petty became the first repeat winner in the Daytona 500.
1st Richard Petty, Petty Enterprises Plymouth Belvedere 160.927mph
|Don Capps||© 2007 autosport.com|
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