1970 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile Page Fourteen
The Matras had their own story to tell about how they would finish the race. As previously stated the two team cars had distributor and rotor arm troubles throughout the race and the mechanics used up their entire supply of eight rotor arms. After they were used up the mechanics resorted to using glue to repair some of the rotor arms.
When that didn’t work the team got the public address announcer to ask anyone owning a BMW 2002 to contact the mechanics at the Matra pits. Supposedly that model BMW had rotor arms compatible with the distributor in the Matra race cars. The Matra folks wanted to “borrow” any available rotor arms they could to keep their cars in the race.
As the clock ticked down to the 3 p.m. finish of the race both Matras were parked in their pit. With about five minutes left both cars were started and driven back onto the track to make a slow circuit of the course and take the checkered flag so they could qualify as running at the finish.
Count yourself as lucky if you were there in 1970 and actually got to hear the distinctive sounds of a Porsche 917K, Ferrari 512S, Matra 650 and Ferrari 312P engine in competition. Those sounds will always stay in your memory. Only in retrospect did I come to realize the significance of the 1970 Daytona race. Not only was it the first international competition between the now iconic Porsche 917K and Ferrari 512S but the international makeup of the German Porsche team was extraordinary with a British manager and drivers from Mexico, Finland, Switzerland and England. It was also the beginning of a legendary time in motorsports history that would last just two short years until the FIA changed the rules, again, and legislated out of existence probably the most popular cars in endurance racing history. That legend lives on in the mind of racing fans as witnessed at every concours, car show or vintage racing event where the 917K and 512S appear.
For Additional Reading
Corvette: Racing Legends, by Dr. Peter Gimenez, Ventura Publishing, Inc., 2008
Daytona 24 Hours: The Definitive History of America’s Great Endurance Race by J.J. O’Malley, David Bull Publishing, 2009
Lola T70: The Design, Development and Racing History, by John Starkey and Franco Varani, Gryfon Publishers, 2012
Racing In The Rain by John Horsman, David Bull Publishing, 2006
The Daytona Beach Morning Journal, Daytona Beach, Florida, Jan 30-31, Feb. 1, 1970