1967 24 Hours of Daytona – Page Seven
With four hours to go the first place Amon/Bandini P4 was 11 miles ahead of the 2nd place Parkes/Scarfiotti P4 and 100 miles ahead of the NART 412P of Rodriguez/Guichet. The NART car had a little bad luck in the final hours when they had to pit for mechanical problems that cost them twenty minutes.
At 1 p.m. the three Ferraris had not changed position and in 4th & 5th position were the Porsche 910 of Hans Hermann and Jo Siffert and the Porsche 906LH of Rico Steinemann and Dieter Spoerry respectively.
From then on the Italian drivers were so comfortable with their lead that they engaged in a bit of NASCAR type drafting on the high banks. It was no one other than Bill France, Jr. who introduced them to Daytona-style drafting by showing the boys from Modena closed circuit films of NASCAR races. This was done in December when France played host to the Ferrari team during their test week at the Daytona Speedway.
During the final thirty minutes of the race the three Ferrari racers paraded around the track nose to tail at a leisurely pace ignoring the stream of race cars passing them by.
As the clock wound down to the final minutes the three Ferrari cars slowed down even further then filled the asphalt track three abreast as they headed toward the checkered flag and vindication for the Prancing Horse.
The rest of the pack was forced to bunch up behind them and as the three blood-red cars crossed the finish line the drivers purposely revved their engines and the distinctive scream of 12-cylinder Ferrari engines could be heard throughout the track. Ferraris led for almost 20 hours of the 24-hour race and it was a great victory for Enzo Ferrari.
Finishing first was the P4 of Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini. They covered 2,537.46 miles (666 laps) for an average speed of 105.703 m.p.h. This was not a record because the Ferrari team had little to worry about after the collapse of the Ford team early in the race.
Coming in second was the P4 of Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti and third was the NART 412P of Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet. As a further embarrassment to Ford, fourth and fifth places went to the much smaller-engined works Porsche 910 of Hans Hermann and Jo Siffert and the Porsche 906LE of Dieter Spoerry and Rico Steinemann. The only surviving factory 7-liter Mk. II of Bruce McLaren and Lucien Bianchi limped home in seventh place and 278 miles behind the winning car while the private entry John Wyer GT40 of Dick Thompson and Jacky Ickx finished sixth overall and first in the sports category.
The Ferrari 1-2-3 victory was a crushing defeat to the world-champion American Fords in the first of eight races in the 1967 Championship series.
During the post-race interviews everyone had an opinion as to why the much ballyhooed Ford team failed to win.
Race winner Chris Amon felt that the Fords were “too heavy.” He said, “We (Ferrari) were lighter than the Fords. We could take them accelerating out of the tight curves, and run with them on the straights.”
North American Racing Team owner, Luigi Chinetti, felt that the Fords were too big and had too much power. He commented, “Four-hundred and five-hundred horsepower is foolish. Only about five drivers in the world can handle that kind of horsepower to full advantage on a short course.”
The winning drivers were awarded a purse of $17,100 which works out to the paltry sum of $3.36 per mile per driver. Second place drivers split $7,350, $3,900 for third place with 4th and 5th place cars taking away $1,050 each.
Not long after the race Ford and Shelby American would return to Daytona with their GT40 Mk. IIs and J car and rent the track right in the middle of Speedweeks in order to work out the problems with their prototype cars in preparation for Sebring. So as to not conflict with any NASCAR events all testing was done from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily for one week.
Anyone hoping for a Ferrari repeat at Sebring on April 1 of 1967 would be thoroughly disappointed. Ferrari technical director, Franco Lini, announced that they would not compete at Sebring, “…because this American race was not in our plans.”
Those in the know suspected that both NART and factory Ferrari were fearful of legal action being filed at Sebring following the death of four spectators in 1966. Mario Andretti’s NART Ferrari figured prominently in that tragic occurrence. In fact, one week prior to the Sebring race a $1 million wrongful death suit was filed and Andretti was one of the principals named in the legal papers.
Not long after the ’67 Daytona victory Ferrari driver Mike Parkes would commission a painting of the 1-2-3 finish and present it to Enzo Ferrari as a birthday gift. Ferrari kept the painting prominently displayed on the wall of his office until his death in 1988.
When Ferrari introduced their now legendary 365 GTB/4 at the Paris Auto Salon in 1968 the media unofficially christened it the Ferrari “Daytona” to commemorate their 1-2-3 victory at Daytona in 1967. The name stuck and that’s how the car is referred to today.
A fitting epitaph for the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona could be found near the city limits of Daytona Beach, on Volusia Avenue, not long after the race. There a local Ford dealer had erected a sign which proclaimed that “This is Ford Country.” Someone, a Ferrari fan no doubt, had painted the name Ferrari, in red, over the Ford name.
For Additional Reading
Daytona 24 Hours: The Definitive History of America’s Great Endurance Race by J.J. O’Malley, David Bull Publishing, 2009
Ferrari’s Continental Revenge by Patrick McNally, AUTORSPORT Bulletin Board
The Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Daytona Beach, Florida, Feb. 4, 14, 17, 1967
The St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 4, 6, 1967
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, Feb. 5, 1967
Competition Press and Autoweek, April 22, 1967
The Miami News, Miami, Florida, Feb. 17, 1967
SPORTSCARS.TV, Daytona 24 Hour Race
[Source: Louis Galanos]