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Amon/McLaren win at Le Mans 1966


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#1 DOHC

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 15:01

The 1966 Le Mans was led by three Ford GT40 Mk II cars, driven by Ken Miles/Hulme, Gurney/Grant and by Amon/McLaren. Gurney/Grant DNF'd, but after 24 hours there were three Fords in the lead cruising to the finish.

Miles/Hulme led the race with Amon/McLaren behind, but on the finish line the Miles/Hulme car slowed and the race was won by Amon/McLaren by a meter or so.

Does anyone know the details about this strange finish? And who were behind the wheels in those two cars when they crossed the finish line?

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#2 rdrcr

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 15:29

In 1966, Ford tried to stage-manage a dead heat but the organisers declared New Zealanders Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren winners, as their car started further down the grid and had therefore covered a greater distance.

I think that McLaren was driving the winning MkII covering a distance of 4,843.090 Km over Miles in the second GT40, a scant .020 km behind (according to the officials).

Lloyd Ruby was also supposed to drive that car but didn't make the show.... anyone know why?

The entry driven by Ronnie Bucknum & Richard 'Dick' Hutcherson finished third. I think Hutcherson was behind the wheel of that car at the finish.

Same thing for the following drivers: A.J. Foyt, Fred Lorenzen and Bob Grossman. They were also supposed to drive but didn't.

BTW, the sponsor of that car was Essex Wire Co. An executive and director of that Company was the father of a very good friend of mine. My friend got to take a ride up Lakeshore Dr. in Grosse Pointe, MI in a GT40. It may have very well have been that third place car... What a lucky kid!



#3 Keir

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 15:31

The details are on the "famous Amon" thread! Happy reading!!! :eek:

In short, Ford wanted a "dead heat." At Le Mans, dead heats can't exist because it's the car that travels the greater distance that wins!!

At the end, with McLaren and Miles in their respective cars, Ken did slow right down and McLaren crossed the line a good car length in front.

#4 Liam

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 15:41

I've read an account of this in Karl Ludvigsen's (sp?) book on Bruce McLaren.
From that, it seemes that the cars were running 30 seconds off the pace, as they were comfortably in the lead, with McLaren/Amon out in front (by a largeish gap) At one of the latter pit stops, a Dunlop tyre-guy had them change a wheel on the McLaren/Amon car, and that put them down to second. While pondering this ill luck, Bruce realised that the tyre-guy hadn't even looked at the tyre! He figured that as himself and Amon were contracted to Firestone, with Miles and Hulme contracted to Dunlop, they had been had by Shellby (also contracted by Dunlop)
That was when he went to talk to the Ford people upstairs and gave them the idea of a nice photo at the end of the race. They liked the idea, and as Bruce had worked on the project for a while, didn't mind doing this.
Bruce was in the car as they came up to the line, and at about 100 yards from the line, put on a spurt of throttle to cross in front of the other car, with a third GT40 (a private entry I think) a lap down but at the line as well.

The story about them starting further back was academic as they had not finsihed in a dead heat.

Up until the dodgy pit stop, Bruce and Chris were comfortably in front, and cruising, so it's fair enough that they should take the win.

#5 rdrcr

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 16:03

It is widely known that it was a dead heat (as close as anyone could tell) without telemetry in those days.

Carrol Shelby recalls, "In 1966, Ford didn't cost Ken the race at Le Mans, I did, and I regret it to this day. They [Ford] came up to me and said, 'Who do you think should win the race?' I thought, 'Well, hell, Ken's been leading for all these hours, he should win the race.' I looked at Leo Beebe and said, 'What do you think ought to happen Leo?' He said, 'I don't know, I'd kind of like to see all three of them cross the finish line together.' Leo did not tell me what to say or what to do, so I said, 'Oh, hell, let's do it that way then,' not knowing that the French would interpret the rules the way they did.' Ken should have won the race, and in most everyone's mind, he did win the race. That was my **** up, I take full responsibility for it, and I'm very sorry for it because, as you know, Ken was killed at Riverside two months later. Everytime you go racing, you put your reputation on the line."

"We thought we had won and we were attempting to push the car to the victory stand. The French officials stopped us and said we didn't belong there, that we'd finished second. Ken was sitting in the car and said to me, 'I think we've been ****ed.' We were under the impression that, despite the finish, we were a lap ahead at the end."

"Ford didn't want Ken to win at Le Mans. They wanted the headlines to read 'Ford wins Le Mans' not 'Miles Becomes First to Sweep Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans'. Ken told me that, in spite of any Ford decision, he wasn't going to finish second."

- Charlie Agapiou, Mile's mechanic and long-time friend

#6 DOHC

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 17:18

And was this the starting point for promotional photo finish line-ups at Le Mans?

#7 Keir

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 18:09

rdrcr,
As I wrote earlier, and in clear evidence in all the photos, the "dead heat" wasn't even close.
McLaren had a clear carlength on Miles.

DOHC,

The parade finishes of today are more evidence of a lack of competition than anything else!!

#8 rdrcr

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 19:05

... oh ok Keir,

Perhaps a better term would be a photo"op" finish...

#9 DOHC

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 19:25

Originally posted by Keir
rdrcr,
As I wrote earlier, and in clear evidence in all the photos, the "dead heat" wasn't even close.
McLaren had a clear carlength on Miles.

DOHC,

The parade finishes of today are more evidence of a lack of competition than anything else!!


Right, it's a carlength in the picture I remember and in one I recently saw.

There wasn't so much comptetion in 66 either, the 330 P4 was out of contention long before the photo finish. And as Ford had entered (some were privately entered, but anyway) no less than eight GT40s, with a pretty incredible driver line-up, their chances were not at all negligible. (That's an understatement ;) .)

Amon, McLaren, Hulme, Ken Miles, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill among them. Not bad.

Today's competition isn't exactly fierce, and it's a bit boring to watch it, but they still have the same 1-2-3 photo line-ups on the finish line. Only the cars aren't necessarily on the same lap.

#10 Bumblyari

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 20:42

A little bit OT I know but one thing's always puzzled me about Le Mans - when does it finish ?

Obviously not after 24 hours because whenever there's a close finish it's always a race to the finish line. So does it finish when the leader first crosses the line after the 24 hours are up ?

In which case it's not really a 24 hour race but a 24 hour and a few minutes race. Fairly academic admittedly but then why do they publish distances covered and average speeds to umpteen places of decimals when the time is only approximate ?

Also, what about the instances when the crowds spill onto the track when the clock reaches 4.00 pm and the leader never completes the last lap ?

#11 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 21:56

Bruce McLaren's column in Autosport the following week said:

"The French organisers thought the idea of a dead heat was a ggod one, and it certainly seemed the easiest and fairest way out of a ticklishproblem so that's what we decided to do. As it turned out, it was just as well we did trickle over the line at 70 instead of battling across at our usual 140 mph. THere were police and mechanics all over the road and I am sure there would have been a terrible accident if we had been racing for the line! We don't win races like that every weekend and at least someone could have told us we would only have half the road to use."

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2002 - 23:30

Was it DSJ did a complete rundown on the finish rules?

I'm sure it was, the year Ickx won in the GT40... about the leading cars being down Mulsanne Straight at 4:00pm... anyone can look that up? The full explanation is there.

#13 lynmeredith

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 01:25

Originally posted by Liam
I've read an account of this in Karl Ludvigsen's (sp?) book on Bruce McLaren.
From that, it seemes that the cars were running 30 seconds off the pace, as they were comfortably in the lead, with McLaren/Amon out in front (by a largeish gap) At one of the latter pit stops, a Dunlop tyre-guy had them change a wheel on the McLaren/Amon car, and that put them down to second. While pondering this ill luck, Bruce realised that the tyre-guy hadn't even looked at the tyre! He figured that as himself and Amon were contracted to Firestone, with Miles and Hulme contracted to Dunlop, they had been had by Shellby (also contracted by Dunlop)
That was when he went to talk to the Ford people upstairs and gave them the idea of a nice photo at the end of the race. They liked the idea, and as Bruce had worked on the project for a while, didn't mind doing this.
Bruce was in the car as they came up to the line, and at about 100 yards from the line, put on a spurt of throttle to cross in front of the other car, with a third GT40 (a private entry I think) a lap down but at the line as well.

Did Karl L really say this? The 3 Fords that crossed the line in that contrived finish were on Goodyear tyres. None of the Fords ran Dunlops and I'd be surprised if Dunlop had a suitable tyre in 1966 for those cars. I think half the US-entered Fords used Firestone and half used Goodyear. Company politics in play there. But it was Goodyear, Goodyear, Goodyear.

Lyn M

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 02:54

I don't think it actually says they used Dunlops, just says they were contracted to Dunlop. This was an issue, as their contracts prevented Goodyear advertising the win as they wanted to, as I recall.. another thread mentions this.

#15 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 06:21

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Was it DSJ did a complete rundown on the finish rules?

I'm sure it was, the year Ickx won in the GT40... about the leading cars being down Mulsanne Straight at 4:00pm... anyone can look that up? The full explanation is there.


The only relevant passage I can find in 1969 is:

"After the farce of the attempted dead heat by Fords in 1966, when the starting position determined the outcome, the rules now state that it is assumed that all cars start from the same point, so that at the end the one in front on the road is the winner."

THe report implies that the winner was the first to cross the finishing line.

#16 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 08:30

Originally posted by Bumblyari
A little bit OT I know but one thing's always puzzled me about Le Mans - when does it finish ?

Obviously not after 24 hours because whenever there's a close finish it's always a race to the finish line. So does it finish when the leader first crosses the line after the 24 hours are up ?

In which case it's not really a 24 hour race but a 24 hour and a few minutes race. Fairly academic admittedly but then why do they publish distances covered and average speeds to umpteen places of decimals when the time is only approximate ?

It's fairly easy, actually: After 24 hours the leader and then every other car that passes the start/finish-line will be flagged. Then, as in every race, you have a finishing time for every entry, and the number of laps it has covered. This may look like that:

1st Amon/Bandini, 340 laps, 24:01'50"
2nd Cevert/Donohue, 333 laps, 24:02'20"
3rd Elford/Facetti, 331 laps, 24:02'00"

Say, the lap distance is 8.4 miles, thus you can determine the average speeds:

1st Amon/Bandini, 118.848 mph
2nd Cevert/Donohue, 116.361 mph
3rd Elford/Facetti, 115.689 mph

If you multiply that with 24, you get the distance covered in 24 hours, and thus you have the official results:

1st Amon/Bandini, 2852.368 miles
2nd Cevert/Donohue, 2792.674 miles
3rd Elford/Facetti, 2776.543 miles

Note that Amon/Bandini have actually covered 2856 miles (340 laps of 8.4 miles), but have taken longer than 24 hours to do so.

#17 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 08:49

Well, fines, that may look fine, but the problem is that this approach is correct only if the speeds are constant, which they aren't. The distance covered, computed in this way, has no meaning at all. The only meaningful thing you can register is the number of completed laps and a time, exceeding 24h. Or a number of laps covered in less than 24h. ;)

#18 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:16

DOHC, of course you're right! I'm not saying this is a good way to present race results, it's just the quirky way the French do it!

The only meaningful thing you can register is the number of completed laps and a time, exceeding 24h.

If you've followed my dissertation, you will have noticed that the French system is just a camouflaged way to do just that. You can easily transform the results back into a more conventional form, if you desire!;)

#19 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:26

Originally posted by fines
If you've followed my dissertation, you will have noticed that the French system is just a camouflaged way to do just that. You can easily transform the results back into a more conventional form, if you desire!;)

Take, for example, the 1966 results (grabbed from Stefan's wonderful site :)) :

1st Amon/McLaren, 4843.09 km
2nd Hulme/Miles, 4843.07 km
3rd Bucknum/Hutcherson, 4681.57 km

That equates to:

1st Amon/McLaren, 201.795 kph
2nd Hulme/Miles, 201.794 kph
3rd Bucknum/Hutcherson, 195.065 kph

With a track length of 13.461 km we get:

1st Amon/McLaren, 360 laps, 24:00'51.20"
2nd Hulme/Miles, 360 laps, 24:00'51.56"
3rd Bucknum/Hutcherson, 348 laps, 24:00'52.75"

:)

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#20 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:32

Originally posted by fines
it's just the quirky way the French do it!

You can easily transform the results back into a more conventional form, if you desire!;)


:up: :lol: :rotfl: :lol:

#21 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:42

Actually, fines, one of the quirkiest things about it is that the race goes on for more than 24 hours. I think it should run less than 24 hours, as the objective is to cover as many laps as possible (max distance) in at most (less than) 24 hours.

After all, it's like you want to figure out how far your car will go on a full tank, let's say a 50 liter tank, and then the salesman says that it will go 723 km on 50.1 liters of fuel. :stoned:

That's irrelevant. That car goes 720 km on 49.9 liters, IMHO.

#22 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:55

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Bruce McLaren's column in Autosport the following week said:

"...we did trickle over the line at 70 instead of battling across at our usual 140 mph."


Originally posted by fines
With a track length of 13.461 km we get:

1st Amon/McLaren, 360 laps, 24:00'51.20"
2nd Hulme/Miles, 360 laps, 24:00'51.56"


With these data we can figure out that 0.36" @ 70 mph equals 11.26 m. A car length and a half between them.;)

Not a very reliable computation though. It's probably the other way around. Bruce figured out he was going 70 mph from the estimated distance between the cars on the photo finish, plus the organizer's time data.

#23 Liam

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 09:55

Sorry, seriously misreferenced KL's book there. I didn't happen to have it at hand to check. I should have waited, or at least corrected myself. I'll be more carefull in future.

#24 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 11:31

Originally posted by DOHC
With these data we can figure out that 0.36" @ 70 mph equals 11.26 m. A car length and a half between them.;)

Not a very reliable computation though. It's probably the other way around. Bruce figured out he was going 70 mph from the estimated distance between the cars on the photo finish, plus the organizer's time data.

Please keep in mind that this is not the official timing results, just the "backwards" computation. From the accuracy of the official figures this can only be done to the nearest 18/100 of a second.

#25 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 13:11

Don't worry fines, I figured that out.

What's surprising is that Bruce's 70mph estimate must be quite right.

"Winning isn't everything until you finish less than a second ahead."

#26 Keir

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 14:15

:eek: :rolleyes: No wonder I hate MATH!!! :eek:

As for the tyre deals, Amon and McLaren wre both contracted to BP and Firestone and while they were not required to use those products on their car, no other companies were allowed to claim the win except Ford.

Quite an entertaining thread we have here!!

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 14:32

Originally posted by Roger Clark
The only relevant passage I can find in 1969 is:

"After the farce of the attempted dead heat by Fords in 1966, when the starting position determined the outcome, the rules now state that it is assumed that all cars start from the same point, so that at the end the one in front on the road is the winner."

THe report implies that the winner was the first to cross the finishing line.


That's not the comment then... it must be somewhere else, definitely mentions the cars being down Mulsanne when the time was up.

#28 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 14:37

Originally posted by Ray Bell
That's not the comment then... it must be somewhere else, definitely mentions the cars being down Mulsanne when the time was up.

But that can hardly have been the case when they finished less than a minute past 4 o'clock!

#29 fines

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 14:40

Oh sorry, I can see this comment was for the 1969 race, where Ickx/Oliver finished after 24h03'35.53". That computes!

#30 Bumblyari

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 18:17

But I'm still convinced that on more than one occasion in recent years, the leader never got to the finishing line.

#31 Keir

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 18:57

That may very well be true, but the actual racing was over, so it's a moot point!

#32 Gerr

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 19:16

DOHC,There is a bit about Miles' loss at http://www.weismann....sportscars.html
rdrcr, Ford was short of drivers for the Mk.ll's, Ruby had injured his back in a plane crash, Foyt burned his hands at Milwaukee, Stewart was injured(collarbone)at Spa, Dick Thompson was disqualified during LeMans practice, dunno about Grossman and Lorenzen.
Bucknam drove the third-place Mk.II across the line.
Re tires: from C/D, Sept.'66 "Ironically,Kiwi teammates McLaren and Amon had contracts with BP and Firestone,but their car was shod with Goodyears(after stating the race on Firestone rain tires)and fuelled by Shell. Ford had to buy up the the BP contract,to the tune of over $40,000,and the Goodyear ads won't mention Amon and McLaren,only that the race was won by a Ford on Goodyears." (Andretti and Hawkins also stated on Firestone wets,the other five Mk.II's on Goodyears.).
The 2 page Goodyear ad(celebrating the LeMans win)in C/D and R&T(both Sept.'66)has no mention of the winning drivers,nor does a full page ad for Kelsey-Hayes or a half-page ad for Stewart-Warner(also celebrating the win).

#33 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 19:33

In Britain, the Goodyear advertisements identified the drivers.

#34 DOHC

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 19:38

Gerr, thanks for the link! It seems that Bruce really lived up to his saying that finishing 1st is a bit better than finishing 2nd. And as the link indicates that he passed on purpose to win, the staged finish theory gets a bit dented. The link also had some nice anectodes about the Foyt/Gurney win 1967.

So then it was McLaren, Miles and Bucknum in the cars at the finish.

Interesting read about the complicated sponsorship deals and how it affected the ads.

#35 rdrcr

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 20:16

Thanks Gerr for the link. Also for the insights and clarifications. Interesting read regarding the sponsorship intrigues that were going on at the time...

#36 Bumblyari

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 21:43

That may very well be true, but the actual racing was over, so it's a moot point!

So when did the race end Keir ?

#37 lynmeredith

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 02:00

Originally posted by Gerr
snip
Re tires: from C/D, Sept.'66 "Ironically,Kiwi teammates McLaren and Amon had contracts with BP and Firestone,but their car was shod with Goodyears(after stating the race on Firestone rain tires)and fuelled by Shell. Ford had to buy up the the BP contract,to the tune of over $40,000,and the Goodyear ads won't mention Amon and McLaren,only that the race was won by a Ford on Goodyears." (Andretti and Hawkins also stated on Firestone wets,the other five Mk.II's on Goodyears.).
The 2 page Goodyear ad(celebrating the LeMans win)in C/D and R&T(both Sept.'66)has no mention of the winning drivers,nor does a full page ad for Kelsey-Hayes or a half-page ad for Stewart-Warner(also celebrating the win).


That's interesting. I didn't know that US ads did not mention the drivers names. I have a vague recollection of considerable arguments in the paddock when the original Firestone-equipped cars were turned over to Goodyear. I certainly remember there was quite a panic when we at the Goodyear truck were given a large number of wheels to fit up in a hurry.

And thanks Roger Clark, I was sure that the British ads mentioned the drivers. Being further from head office perhaps our ad department felt safer.

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#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 02:39

Originally posted by fines
Oh sorry, I can see this comment was for the 1969 race, where Ickx/Oliver finished after 24h03'35.53". That computes!


Don't doubt my memory, Fee-nes!

Somebody must be able to find the discussion somewhere...

.....except, of course, when it comes to Lotus windscreens.....

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 02:47

I would say that the detail in the C & D report is pretty right, the $40,000 and all... it was undoubtedly written by Bernard Cahier, who was right in with Goodyear.

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#40 Gerr

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 03:40

Actually,the C/D article was written by Brock Yates. I would guess he got his info from Shelby,who was right in with Goodyear.

Jack Sears also contributed to Ford's driver shortage when he retired suddenly. according to Yates,
the original driver line-ups were going to be Miles and Ruby(Hulme replaced Ruby),Donohue and Hansgen(killed in April,replaced by Paul Hawkins),Bucknam and Foyt(replaced by Hutcherson), Whitmore and Sears(replaced by Frank Gardner),Hill and Stewart(replaced by Thompson,who was disqualified and he was replaced by Brian Muir,who had only one familiarization lap the morning of the race).

#41 Keir

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 14:07

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is over at 4 O'Clock. If cars are still racing (which hasn't been the case lately), then the first car to cross the line having completed the most laps, WINS!

The ads in the USA did not mention Amon/McLaren due to the sponsor conflicts, however, in Great Britian, no such agreement existed.

#42 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 22:37

Another just found pic...

Quite unusual, from Le Mans '66 - showing the innovative J-car and a Detroit Iron entry during the Le Mans Test Weekend...

Posted Image

(Thanks as usual to Allen Brown for help in posting these things)

DCN

#43 DOHC

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 22:51

Ah, great picture! The J car with the "stingray" front. That was a special car. What happened to it in the race? IIRC there was at least some belief in that car's chances of winning. The Detroit Iron looks lightweight and agile in comparison.

#44 Bumblyari

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 23:28

I think it's fair to say that over the years, and in many walks of life, the French have always demonstrated a good deal of, shall we say, 'imagination', in the way they interpret rules and regulations (remember the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally ?). And I talk partly from experience having been married to one of them for the last 23 years.

So if there was ever a close finish to the Le Mans race again, or even a fight for some of the lesser places, how would they interpret the following - taken from the ACO 2002 regs:

"24.1 Once the duration of the race expires or when the distance to achieve is covered, the Chequered Flag will be waved as the car classified first in the General Classification crosses the Start/Finish line on the race course.

25.2.1 The car placed 1st is the car which has covered the greatest distance when the Chequered Flag is displayed.

The position of the cars on the starting grid is not taken into account.

25.2.2 To be classified every car shall:

a/ Cross the Start/Finish line on the race track when the Chequered Flag is waved save in the case of 'force majeure'

25.2.3 Cars will be classified according to total distance covered during the duration of the race without taking into account the time when the Chequered Flag has been displayed. "

Maybe it lost a little in translation or does it mean it's finished when they say it's finished ?

#45 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 May 2002 - 02:28

So it's a '24-hrs plus the time it takes the winner to next cross the line' race, and the distances are computed according to where the other cars are around the circuit at that time?

Please, somebody, find that Jenks piece...

#46 DOHC

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Posted 23 May 2002 - 07:53

Originally posted by Ray Bell
So it's a '24-hrs plus the time it takes the winner to next cross the line' race, and the distances are computed according to where the other cars are around the circuit at that time?


I doubt it. First it's impossible to determine, second, they say

25.2.3 Cars will be classified according to total distance covered during the duration of the race without taking into account the time when the Chequered Flag has been displayed. "


This must mean that the total distance is (unless the force majeure clause is invoked) a complete number of laps. Without taking into account when the Chequered was first displayed must mean that the driver is allowed some more time to go and cross the start/finish line, because otherwise he is not classified according to 25.2.2a. By the 25.2.3 rule, you get a known travelled distance for each car, and a known time to complete that distance. So distance, time, and speed will all be known with some precision.

The rules look weird, but it makes sense.

#47 karlcars

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Posted 23 May 2002 - 21:23

Thanks for the reference to my McLaren book. The information given is based on a private letter from Bruce to his dad, which the McLaren Trust gave me for use in the book. I'm pretty proud of that. I also have to imagine that it's pretty close to the truth. But you can see the kinds of problems we historians face!

The 'Firestone' reference was just that -- that Bruce and Chris were known as being Firestone-contracted, although of course they raced on Goodyears on this occasion.

#48 Duncan Fox

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 21:11

McLaren and Amon did start the race on Firestone rain tires which suffered from chunking. Bruce negotiated a deal with Firestones during the race to allow him to change to Goodyears. As Bruce said " if Firestones hadnt dropped the ball at LeMan they could have been very happy"