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John Surtees entering the esses in the Ferrari 330 P2.

In 1965, I enjoyed a working holiday in London. On Friday 18 June that year I took the cheapest tour I could find to the Le Mans 24 Hours, via a rickety old plane and a bus.  It proved to be one of the most remarkable races in the event’s storied history.

This was the second year of the “Ford v. Ferrari” confrontation.  In 1964 Ford’s three GT40 prototypes, which were run by the British JWA team, expired early in the race, due to gearbox issues in two of them and a fire in the third, resulting in a resounding Ferrari 1-2-3 win. At year end the American Carroll Shelby, who had co-driven the winning Aston Martin at Le Mans in 1959, was contracted to run Ford’s sports car campaign. (Note: The recent Hollywood epic shows Ford making only one unsuccessful tilt at Le Mans whereas they failed in both 1964 and 1965.  It also depicts Ken Miles in California listening to the radio report of the 1965 event, whereas he drove in the race!)

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