Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Last Of The Pretty Ferrari Racing Sports Cars (330 P3/4)

Here's another excellent Petrolicious video:

The 330 is better, and more fondly, remembered in Europe than over here.  A TV profile of Eric Clapton touched on his love for Ferraris (of which he has owned several).  It included a quick-cut to a model of the 330 P3 that he'd built himself.  Alain de Cadenet did a nice segment on the Equipe Nationale Belge 330P4 in his video series Victory By Design.

Over here, we were cheering on the Ford GT 40--an American car that could beat Europe's best at their own game--LeMans.  It has always seemed to me that Enzo "heard the footsteps" of the 5-liter GT 40 in 1964.  That was why he punched his 12-cylinder engine out to 4.0 liters (the 1965 330 P2) and did a new, evolutionary chassis for 1966--the P3.

What Enzo hadn't counted on (and the merits of which were hotly debated within Ford) was the massive torque of the 7-liter GT 40 Mark II and its successor, the Mark IV.  They dominated LeMans in 1966 and 1967.  As for championships in the P3/P4 era, they split: Ford won in 1966 and Ferrari in 1967.

While I love the looks of both the 330 P3/4 and the GT 40, they do reflect different design approaches. To put it in football terms, the GT 40 Mark II is a fullback, bulling its way downfield; the 330 P3/4 is a wide receiver, running a finesse pattern.

Note: while the Jaguar and Aston Martin factory teams had retired from LeMans by 1960, it was not like Ferrari was "running unopposed."  Maserati and various semi-pro privateer teams contested, and, in those days of unreliable race cars, Porsche was always in with a chance to win if the big cars faltered.  Ford itself was not ready for prime time in 1964 and imploded in 1965.  So Ford's achievement remains impressive.  Under John Wyer, the GT 40 Mark I finally realized its potential.  Then, in 1970, Porsche bent the rules again with the 917K, as Ford had done with the Mark II five years earlier.  But for ten years running, the winning car at LeMans was a Ferrari or a Ford.

YEAR     WINNING CAR                           DRIVERS   
1960         Ferrari 250 TR                         Olivier Gendebien/Paul Frere
1961         Ferrari 250 TR-61                    Olivier Gendebien/Phil Hill
1962         Ferrari 330 TRI/LM              Olivier Gendebien/Phil Hill
1963         Ferrari 250 P                              Ludovico Scarfiotti/Lorenzo Bandini
1964         Ferrari 275 P                              Jean Guichet/Nino Vaccarella
1965         Ferrari 250 P                              Jochen Rindt/Masten Gregory
1966         Ford GT 40 Mark II                 Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon
1967         Ford GT 40 Mark IV                Dan Gurney/A. J. Foyt
1968         Ford GT 40 Mark I                   Pedro Rodriguez/Lucien Bianchi
1969         Ford GT 40 Mark I                   Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver
1970          Porsche 917K                              Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood

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