Ferrari Team 1-2-3 Finish at the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours

1967 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile

1967 24 Hours of Daytona – Page Five

The green flag dropped at 3:09 p.m. (nine minutes late) and from the very beginning the Phil Hill Chaparral 2F jumped into the lead with a blistering pace over the rest of the field. By the end of the first lap Hill had a three second lead over Mario Andretti’s Mk. II and after only 30 minutes of racing would extend that lead to 20 seconds.

In their Mk. II Mario Andretti and co-driver Richie Ginther were supposed to be the “rabbit” or pacesetter that would stay in the front ranks and push the Ferrari and Chaparral team cars to the breaking point. However, try as they could they couldn’t keep pace with the Hill Chaparral especially on the 31-degree high banks where the Chaparrals wing and 427-cubic-inch aluminum engine gave the car the downforce and power needed to achieve 190-plus-miles-per hour speeds. (Note: In 1967 there was no chicane on the back straight as there is today so cars raced flat out and achieved dangerously high speeds on the high banks after they left turn six and before they began to slow for turn one.)

Mario Andretti 1967 Daytona 24 Hours portrait
A very young Mario Andretti in the garage area at Daytona in 1967. He and co-driver Richie Ginther were to set a blistering pace in their Ford GT40 Mk. II and thus become the “rabbit” that the other cars would chase after.
Holman Moody Ford GT40 Mk II Mario Andretti Richie Ginther Daytona 24 Hours 1967
Holman Moody Ford GT40 Mk II of Mario Andretti and Richie Ginther failed to finish due to gearbox problems. (photo credit: Al Wolford Collection)

Being the first to retire from an endurance race is always an embarrassing moment and so it was for the Porsche Carrera 906 of Tony Dean and Trevor Taylor. They dropped a valve as the car was being driven out to the grid and failed to make even one official lap. Next to withdraw was the Shelby GT350 of Martin Krinner who retired his car after only three laps.

Also in the pits after only a couple of laps was the Gerhard Mitter/Jochen Rindt Porsche 906E which made three unscheduled pit stops to change four out-of-balance wheels. It seems that the Goodyear tire technicians had forgotten to put balance weights on the tires when they were mounted. All the spares that Mitter and Rindt had in their pit were this way and they had to wait until properly balanced ones were run over from the Goodyear truck in the paddock.

Another car having tire problems was the Andretti/Ginther “rabbit” which threw a tread on the high banks and had to pit twice for new tires. That car had been in second place until the tire problems occurred on the 17th lap.

At the 50-minute mark the Chaparral 2F was still in the lead and increasing it each lap. The Ronnie Bucknum/Frank Gardner Ford came into the pits on the 23rd lap missing 3rd and 4th gear. The mechanics changed the T-44 transmission in 28 minutes but it would not be the only one they would have to change.

One hour into the race the Chaparral 2F continued to lead with the Mark II’s of Lloyd Ruby, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren/Lucien Bianchi, A.J. Foyt/Dan Gurney and Mark Donohue/Peter Revson close behind. Some of the Ferrari race fans were surprised that the Ferrari P4’s weren’t further up in the field but in the pits it was apparent that the Ferrari team had a strategy to not challenge the Fords or Chaparrals unless they had more than a 5-lap lead. They kept to their target lap times and, as a result, they would move steadily up the field as attrition took its toll on the leading cars.

Chaparral 2D Bob Johnson and Bruce Jennings
Coming out of turn 2 and driving on to turn three at Daytona is the Chaparral 2D of Bob Johnson and Bruce Jennings. The car failed to finish due to a broken gearbox.
Pedro Rodriguez in his NART Ferrari 412P tries to hold off the Ford GT40 Mk. II of Bruce McLaren
Pedro Rodriguez in his NART Ferrari 412P tries to hold off the Ford GT40 Mk. II of Bruce McLaren as they go through turns one and two at Daytona in 1967.
Ronnie Bucknum Shelby American Ford GT40 Mark II Daytona 1967
Ronnie Bucknum coming out of turn two in his Shelby American Ford GT40 Mk. II at Daytona in 1967.

During the second hour, except for the Hill/Spence Chaparral, the leading cars changed position several times as they came in for fuel and driver changes. The McLaren/Bianchi Mk. II was in the pits again for radiator water due to a blown head gasket. Overheating would plague them for the entire race but they would be the only Mk. II to finish.

Just after 6 p.m. the Andretti/Ginther Mk. II was in the pits with the same transmission trouble that affected the Bucknum/Gardner Mk. II. When word spread in the Ford pits that another Mk. II had a missing 3rd and 4th gear they knew they had major problems. Later examination of the broken transmissions revealed defective heat treatment of the output shafts.

While the Ford mechanics were doing transmission repairs the leading Chaparral was in the pits for gas, tires and a driver change. Mike Spence turned the car over to Phil Hill and around 6:10 p.m. Hill left the pits on the 88th lap and back into the lead.

However, when Hill entered turn 6, the last infield turn before going onto the high banks, he hit a carpet of asphalt pebbles created by the disintegrating track. Prior to the race several turns had been widened and places patched. However the beating the track took from the wide tires on the cars was too much for the new asphalt and the road surface began to break up.

The Chaparral lost adhesion on those pebbles sliding up to the retaining wall at the top of the banked track. The Chaparral struck it twice causing damage to the right rear of the car.

Hill managed to get the car back into the pits where a bent wishbone and other suspension items were repaired. Once back on the track the car made a couple of more laps and then officially retired at 7:15 p.m. due to the accident damage. To his credit Hill accepted the blame for carelessness as he came around turn six too fast to retain control. Later Hill would tell the story that when Mike Spence turned the car over to him he said nothing about how dangerous things had become in turn 6 and Hill went into that turn with devastating results.

1967 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile Continued

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  1. Another Galanos masterpiece! Thank you, Louis. As an aside, isn’t it a shame that Ford and Chaparral didn’t develop their lighter, higher revving, and less torquey small blocks, rather than feeding transmissions to the big blocks?

    1. David: That has mystified me for years. Time and time again the Chaparral was a DNF due to automatic transmission failure. We can’t change history but it is fun to speculate on the “what if…..”

  2. Thanks Lou and SCD – you feed us great stuff. The ’67 24 Hours of Daytona snaps into sharp focus. If I said that racing was never better, I’d be dating myself, but it never was… Ferrari vs. Ford – nothing is forever, but good writing prevails. I look for SCD every week, and I’ll see you in the pits, Doug

  3. Thanks Lou for the great article. It’s also very see good dad’s photos accompanying it. At that time in the mid to late 60s he was a glove rep/salesmanager for an industrial glove firm which had just begun marketing a sports/golf glove. Dad thought it might make an excellent driver’s glove. Being a huge motorsports enthusiast and photographer he parlayed the lot and headed off to Daytona. He was able to spend time with all of the major teams, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, and Chaparral, meeting with the drivers, establishing friendships and handing out free samples of the gloves. I remember us getting phone calls from him at the track, we being just as enthusiastic about the sport (thanks to him) and occasionally he would put someone on the line saying “There’s someone who’d like to say hello to you”. I and my brothers were awe struck when the likes of Chris Amon, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney and Phil Hill would take a few moments to speak with us. Dad’s archives span 60+ years of motor racing, everything from Grand Prix and F5000 to Can Am, Trans Am, ALMS, CART, Indy Car, and IMSA and I know he is thrilled to see his photos here along with your superb write up. Many thanks Lou and cheers!

  4. Great article….actually much more than an article, an in depth documentary! Yup, we had a great time that year. Mechanic, Bill Cannons of Daytona Beach entered two TR-4s (an A and an IRS). Ara Dube’ and Dana Kelder were 14th OA and 1st in class, Steve Sumner and I finished 16th and 2nd in Class. A little side note: During the testing days for the Ferraris, Steve asked if he could take his personal Ferrari GT around the track a few times. The Ferrari people said why not, expecting Steve to just cruise around….I rode as passenger and Steve proceeded to put ‘the peddle to the metal.” Well we came into turn one a little too hot ,and low and behold we started spinning circles through the entire turn. When we finally came to a stop and were still right side up and not having hit anything, I climbed out of the passenger seat with my knees knocking and here comes Bandini driving a stationwagon and Scarfiotti as passenger checking on our condition. They were concerned and then laughed a bit and we all returned to the pits. I wasn’t laughing a whole lot. Guido Levetto

  5. Lou, another impressive piece of work, very much appreciated. You may be interested to know that the Dragoni saga had gone on for sometime. Franco Lini was a friend of mine and told me once that the real problem was that Dragoni had a number of close contacts within the Italian press. He used them to pressure Enzo Ferrari to gain things he wanted…mainly number one spot for ‘his’ man Bandini. Bandini found Dragoni’s approach embarrassing. Phil Hill on Dragoni was wonderful…the only person I think Phil was openly critical of. Phil said he couldn’t find enough bad things to say about Dragoni!!!
    Ed

    1. Ed, do you think that Enzo Ferrari connived with the factory drivers to violate the orders not to break the Daytona track record in order to give him a public reason to fire Dragoni?

  6. Another fantastic article with great photos –
    A super performance; you’ll have a hard time maintaining this level of quality in future articles !

    1. Not for the first time, I am amazed that no ‘real’ colour photograph of the famous Ferrari finished has ever emerged!

      Surely this was not a race from the stone-age era and one would have thought the U.S.A. would have enjoyed ready availability/use of colour film stock at the time – any thoughts/comments? Was there any film footage taken, perhaps?

  7. Outstanding work, Lou. Do you have plans to do the 1969 Daytona 24, the year we were filming James Garner’s “The Racing Scene” there?

  8. Great article Lou. You really go into details in the behind the scenes antics of racing. Thanks for taking the time to document a great race.

  9. Terrific job Louis. I don’t remember reading an account that weaved the facts in such a way as they setup what happens on the track so concisely interesting. The drama of the politics plays out against the mechanical realities of the race. And let me thank you for Bob Johnson, the driver of the Chaparral 2D, who passed away recently. He would have loved it. Our friend, and later our crew chief, he told stories that were this thick with life. I’ve already passed this on to several of our semi-old racing friends. Thank you Sports Car Digest for finding writers as good a s Mr. Galanos to keep alive the memories of a time when cars were actually different from one another and the personalities were bigger than life.

  10. Lou:

    Nice lead-in to the race this weekend. Thanks for setting the stage for us – excellent report with great photos!

  11. Stirling Moss was never World Champion, and all the Ferraris were “normally aspirated.” Two were fuel-injected and one was carburated. Other than that, great piece.

  12. Wow, what an article. This was when I lived and died with the Fords (my dad was a Ford man all his life). Thank you for an great behind the scenes look. Also, to all who added commentary, it adds immeasurably to the experience. Thank you all.

  13. Hello Guido. Fred Schmidt here. Remember me? I am the current owner of both the #42 and #43 Triumph TR4A’s. A few years ago while I was gathering information on the Triumph’s, you sent me some motion picture film that your brother shot of the cars. I still have the copies and they are great to watch. Have you been in touch with Bill Cannons, Dana, Ara or any of the others?. The last time I saw Bill was about 10 years ago. He gave me the actual Trophy from that race. So, I still have both cars and they look and run fantastic. Email me anytime. Thanks, Fred

    1. Just read your article, glad the cars are in good hands. Bill is still in good shape but “a mite older oi say”, I haven’t heard from Dana in quite a time. Ara passed away some years ago. Drop me an e-mail. Guido

  14. I am not sure about this statement: “Stirling Moss, at the time a retired world driving champion, commented: “…. Sir Stirling was a huge hero of mine then, as now, but I do not believe that he was ever world driving champion. He won a huge number of races in his career, usually in privateer cars, principally belonging to Rob Walker, methinks, and he was at one point a teammate of Fangio’s, but, better look that claim up.

    I attended that race with two college buddies, Randy De Stefano and George McNeese. Both of those guys were big (“irrationally exuberant”) Ford fans. I was a Ferrari fan. Needless to say, we goaded each other a good deal on the way to the race about who was gonna whip whose a$$. Ford had come out with overwhelming numbers of both 289 and 427 GT 40s, I think it was. Early on Sunday morning, after a long, cold night, we were out along the fence line (from the infield side) when along came Mario Andretti, helmet in hand, looking very very despondent. “What happened Mario,” we asked. “Fifty cent dog-screw in the transmission,” was all he said, as he walked back to the pits, leaving his Ford GT 40 on the track. It was very cold that morning, as I recall, chillingly cold for the Ford fans, as the Fords just continue to drop out in droves.

    At the end of the race, it was Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari, with two Porsche 911s tucked in a respectable distance behind them. That outcome did not please my two friends, at all. When leaving time came, there was more unbelieving silence than celebration on their part. And I had to pretty much struggle not to crow a little.

    I remember taking a picture of the number 32 Ferrari 250 LM on the infield course from about half-a-mile away with a Nikon F1, with a standard 50 mm lens on black and white Kodak PlusX film. Needless to say, I had to rotate the enlarger 90 degrees and project the image onto the floor to get a full 8 x 10 images, and was it ever grainy!

    That was a great race. Hugely exciting. Let’s see: 2013 – 1967 is … Oh, never mind. It was just yesterday in my memories.

  15. Such a great article and memorable race. I just read your race story for the third time, and suddenly realized that I had never left a comment! Thanks, Lou!

  16. Great article, I enjoyed the details.. I grew up in Lakeland FL and went to all the races at Sebring and Daytona during the 60’s. I later lived in Daytona and worked as a photographer at DIS. I really like the local look at Daytona at the time, San Remo. It was a small town. Very small crowds at Daytona and Sebring, not like today. How about an article about 1966 24 hrs. to correct the movie, “Ford vs Ferrari”.

  17. ALWAYS great to read and re-read and re-read your factual accounts of historic races and viewing again and again the photos. Mario

  18. In 1985 I sold my 275 GTB to a guy named Armand Blaton who revealed he had bought it on behalf of his Jean Blaton who was the “Beurlys” mentioned in this report and who also competed successfully for several years at Le Mans. They owned the best hotel in Brussels. The reason for the Beurlys nom de plume was that the family did not want him to race so he assumed the name and used it throughout his career. I believe the car is still in the family. I wish it was still in mine!