The late 1960s brought a host of changes to the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. The wave of “professionalism” that was sweeping across other forms of motorsport began to exert its influence at Le Mans. With increased money and prestige now flowing through professional racing, the caliber of teams was increasing, along with the development budgets to construct winning cars.
While Ferrari and Ford had financially bludgeoned each other for most of the 1960s to establish which company was king at Le Mans, in 1968 Le Mans organizers tried to level the playing field by essentially outlawing the big displacement 5-liter race engines, which both had used so effectively in the prototype class. With the ACO mandating a smaller 3-liter engine, the playing field was thrown wide open for a host of manufacturers. Feeling they had proved their point, Ford withdrew from official involvement, leaving John Wyer to try and run the GT40 in the Sports category. At the same time, German manufacturer Porsche was ramping up its efforts to become an overall contender, while Italian brand Alfa Romeo and French brands Renault and Matra were also making major commitments to vie for the prestigious overall title.
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