In previous years at Daytona one of the most colorful distinctions was the demeanor of the German factory Porsche crews and the Italian factory Ferrari crews in the pits, garages and paddock. The Germans were always very precise and organized setting up their work areas almost like a hospital operating room. Also the Germans showed very little emotion throughout the entire race. The Italians were just the opposite with lots of yelling and hand gestures and their pits and garage areas were very disorganized with tools, tires and parts scattered about. It was a wonder they could find anything that might be needed. Also the Italians seemed to wear the same greasy overalls for the entire week while the Germans seemed to show up each day with a fresh set of clean work clothes.
In 1970 the JWA crew seemed to have picked up some bad habits from the Italians and the Gulf Porsche pits began to resemble the disorganization and casualness evident in the Italian pits. Except for the language differences there was little distinction between the Porsche and Ferrari pit crews and some Porsche fans seemed disappointed with the result.
With three hours of racing done and the sun was setting over the west rim of the Speedway. The Siffert/Redman Porsche 917K was in the lead after 381 miles of racing with the Rodriguez/ Kinnunen Porsche 917K on the same lap. Two laps back was the Andretti/Merzario Ferrari 512S then came the #34 Matra 650 three laps down along with another Porsche 917K. In fifth place was another Ferrari 512S.
The average speed set by the Siffert/Redman Porsche 917K was an amazing 122.355 mph after the first 90 laps of racing. That speed eclipsed the record (107.388 mph) set in 1966 by Lloyd Ruby and Ken Miles in their seven liter Ford GT40 Mk. II by 15 miles per hour.
Once the sun disappeared over the high banks it got dark pretty quickly at the track and the signal was given by the stewards for drivers to turn on their lights. Soon after the third place Andretti/Merzario Ferrari 512S was black-flagged for faulty tail lights. A quick pit stop corrected the problem and Andretti was back in the race in short order only to be black-flagged again after several laps for the same problem. A more thorough repair was done when he pitted but precious time was lost.
It was at this point that people noticed the Siffert/Redman crew looking at their stop watches and looking intently down the track toward the pit entrance. One crew member even walked across pit lane to the grass area next to the lane to get a better view of the pit entrance. It was obvious that Brian Redman in the leading Gulf 917K was overdue. Finally the car was spotted slowly coming along the grass near the bottom of the high banks and then down pit lane. It was apparent that the car had suffered a tire puncture and the tire was beginning to shred. While the Siffert/Redman crew bent to the task of changing the tires it was noticed that the shredded tire had damaged a brake line and they immediately went to work to repair it. They also had to do a minor repair to one of the headlights which had come loose.
The headlight problem would resurface again on this car and the other team 917K. The cause was traced to the fact that Friday afternoon the Cibie units were swapped out in favor of Marchal and the lights kept popping out of their mountings. After 17 minutes in the pits the Siffert/Redman 917K reentered the race but in 8th place.
The stop for repairs allowed the #2 Rodriguez/Kinnunen Porsche to assume the lead but once those repairs were complete the #1 Siffert/Redman 917K quickly began to catch up to the leading car with Jo Siffert turning in some very quick laps and by 8:30 p.m. were in second place and gaining.
After almost six hours of racing the two JWA Gulf Porsches were 1-2 with the Andretti/Ickx Ferrari in third. Arturo Merzario had started the race as Andretti’s co-driver but when Ickx’s car retired he was assigned to drive the third place Ferrari with Andretti. Swapping a driver in the middle of a race was not unknown and before the checkered flag fell another leading driver would also be replaced. The Gurney/Parsons 512S was in fourth and the Ahrens/Elford Salzburg 917K in 5th position.
The Brabham/Cevert Matra 650 was now in 6th but both team cars were suffering from broken rotor arms and the Beltoise/Pescarolo Matra 650 already had to have their distributor replaced. By the end of the race the Matra crews would use up their entire supply of eight replacement rotor arms and even resorted to gluing the broken parts together to keep their cars in the race.
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