Amon/McLaren win at Le Mans 1966

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#51 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 18:03

Just to make it easier for anyone opening this old thread, here's what I posted in the 1966 Le Mans movie thread:-

The result of the 1966 race was described in the August 66 edition of Motor Sport as follows:-

"The big thing that was overlooked by a great many onlookers was that it made no difference what the Fords of McLaren/Amon and Miles/Hulme were doing as they got the chequered flag, for the race had finished at 4 p.m. exactly, not when they arrived at the finishing line. Timekeepers can only work on car numbers and time readings as recorded at each crossing of the timing line, so with a race that is measured on time and not distance they cannot hope to know exactly where all the competitors are as the official clock reaches 4 p.m.

In such a long race it is unusual for the first and second car to be on the same lap so there is seldom any discussion about who is the winner, but it is open to calculation or estimation as to exactly where each car is at precisely 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Unless a car arrives at the timing line exactly at 4 p.m. it must have covered a certain number of whole laps plus a portion of a lap, and most drivers try to judge their last lap to make the portion as near as possible to a complete lap. The timekeepers calculate the position of each car on the last lap by taking the time for the penultimate lap and assuming that the car keeps up the same average speed for the last lap.

If a car arrives at the finishing line one minute after 4 p.m. then it is credited with its total number of laps recorded at 4 p.m., plus the portion of a lap it would have covered during the time of its penultimate lap less one minute, at an average speed the same as its penultimate lap. All this is written in the regulations and the numerous loop-holes or errors in the system are covered by various rules, and generally speaking it gives a fair result."

PS This article was written by the late DSJ and can be read in full here:-

If that is the case, don't we need to look at the 1969 Ickx- Herrmann finish?

#52 D28

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 19:55

If that is the case, don't we need to look at the 1969 Ickx- Herrmann finish?

See AJB comments post 281 in the Ford vs Ferrai movie thread and those just above.  They did change the rules before 1969.

#53 ensign14

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 21:30

Logical anomalies in Jenks' ruminations...

Unless a car arrives at the timing line exactly at 4 p.m. it must have covered a certain number of whole laps plus a portion of a lap, and most drivers try to judge their last lap to make the portion as near as possible to a complete lap.

That can't be right, otherwise every Le Mans finish in the era would have had a dozen cars all crossing the finishing line together.  There was nobody else in sight when the Fords finished.

The timekeepers calculate the position of each car on the last lap by taking the time for the penultimate lap and assuming that the car keeps up the same average speed for the last lap.

That can't be right either.  Let's posit:

-car 1 crosses the line 3 minutes ahead of car 2 at 3.52pm, so, both cars will have 2 complete laps to the chequer;

-car 1 next crosses the line 1 second ahead of car 2, at 3.59pm;

-car 1 passes the chequer 20 seconds ahead of car 2.

On DSJ's interpretation, the timekeepers have to assume that car 2 is going to run the final lap 2m 59s quicker than car 1, so, at 4pm, will be deemed to be ahead.

Edited by ensign14, 15 December 2019 - 21:30.

#54 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 00:28

You'll need a better explanation than that for me to understand you...

Any further tries on that?

#55 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 06:52

1. If drivers "most drivers try to judge their last lap to make the portion as near as possible to a complete lap", then everybody would be crossing the line together.  That doesn't seem to have been the case au Mans until, paradoxically, recently, although that's because the last lap seems to have become something of a victory lap which allows the field to bunch together.

2. If "The timekeepers calculate the position of each car on the last lap by taking the time for the penultimate lap and assuming that the car keeps up the same average speed for the last lap", then if Car 2 has a much faster penultimate lap than Car 1, which means it comes from miles behind to being right on Car 1's tale, then, assuming they both keep the same average speed, Car 2 would pass Car 1 and be ahead at 4pm.  But in the real world Car 1 stays ahead.  Yet according to the DSJ reporting of the rules the organizers have to ignore that and instead extrapolate from the previous lap.

#56 Allan Lupton

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:38

I do not normally disagree with Jenks, but in this case I do.

As I attempted to explain on the "other thread," the timekeepers had passing times for each car at the beginning and end of the lap during which 4:00 p.m. occurred.

The proportion of the lap distance, that was added to the whole laps covered distance, was calculated based on those passing times, i.e. the last lap, not the penultimate lap, therefore an interpolation, not an extrapolation. That proportion of the lap length is therefore based on average speed, rather than reality, and the declared result might not be the same as the passing order at the end of that lap.

Moreover, why and how "most drivers try to judge their last lap to make the portion as near as possible to a complete lap" is beyond my experience of observing motor racing.

#57 Michael Ferner

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:40

I think DSJ's explanation is simply wrong. Every race finishes when the chequered flag is waved, and at Le Mans it will be waved at the start/finish line (where else?) when 24 hours have passed. That's all you need to know, and it's totally irrelevant (why do I always think of Chico Marx when using that word?) where the cars are at exactly 4pm, or where they start. And I really don't think that this rule ever changed, it's just that people start to realize these basic facts at different points in time.

#58 Michael Ferner

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:44

I do not normally disagree with Jenks, but in this case I do.
As I attempted to explain on the "other thread," the timekeepers had passing times for each car at the beginning and end of the lap during which 4:00 p.m. occurred.
The proportion of the lap distance, that was added to the whole laps covered distance, was calculated based on those passing times, i.e. the last lap, not the penultimate lap, therefore an interpolation, not an extrapolation. That proportion of the lap length is therefore based on average speed, rather than reality, and the declared result might not be the same as the passing order at the end of that lap.
Moreover, why and how "most drivers try to judge their last lap to make the portion as near as possible to a complete lap" is beyond my experience of observing motor racing.

Why would you make it that complicated? There's no need to go to such lengths of arithmetic acrobatics, and I'm sure it was never done that way. Drop the flag after 24 hours, and multiply the average speed by 24, that's all it needs - simples! (now I'm thinking of meerkats! )

Edited by Michael Ferner, 16 December 2019 - 09:46.

#59 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:53

I suppose it's just about possible that nobody knew exactly where the finish line was...after all, the chequer seems to be being thrown at the start of the grid, not the end...

#60 Allan Lupton

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 10:21

Why would you make it that complicated? There's no need to go to such lengths of arithmetic acrobatics, and I'm sure it was never done that way. Drop the flag after 24 hours, and multiply the average speed by 24, that's all it needs - simples! (now I'm thinking of meerkats! )

Where did you get the average speed from? It has to be the distance covered in the race divided by the 24 hours, so you can't calculate the distance from it.

A simple inspection of the declared results will show that the distance separating first from second was not often an exact multiple of the lap distance.

In his 1963 book on Le Mans, David Hodges included a summary of the Regulations which ended:

"Finally, the actual position of the surviving cars at 4 p.m. on Sunday is calculated from their speed on the last lap and rounded off to give to the nearest 10 metres the distances which they covered in 24 hours."

#61 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 11:06

Does this mean we need to re-visit 1933?  Lead changed hands three times on the last lap?

#62 Louism

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 11:26

Logical anomalies in Jenks' ruminations...

That can't be right, otherwise every Le Mans finish in the era would have had a dozen cars all crossing the finishing line together.  There was nobody else in sight when the Fords finished.

That can't be right either.  Let's posit:

-car 1 crosses the line 3 minutes ahead of car 2 at 3.52pm, so, both cars will have 2 complete laps to the chequer;

-car 1 next crosses the line 1 second ahead of car 2, at 3.59pm;

-car 1 passes the chequer 20 seconds ahead of car 2.

On DSJ's interpretation, the timekeepers have to assume that car 2 is going to run the final lap 2m 59s quicker than car 1, so, at 4pm, will be deemed to be ahead.

Car 1 crosses the line at 03:49'07,9" ending lap 358, Car 2 following at 03:49'10,9"...gap 3" Car 1 leading

Car 1 ends lap 359 at 03:54'34,0", Car 2 at 03:54'34,3"...gap 0,3" Car 1 leading

Car 2 passes the chequer at 04:01'14,8" and Car 1 at 04:01'15,3"...gap 0,5" Car 2 winning.

Source : Le Mans 1966 official lap chart.

Louis Monnier

ACO Heritage Committee

#63 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 11:43

Merci Louis.  It has to be right that the first past the chequer is the winner and not who was ahead at the exact 24 hour point.  I am guessing a lot of the mental acrobatics are people trying to explain the average speed over 24 hours when the race finished at 24 hours 1 minute.

#64 king_crud

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 11:50

As an aside, I'm not sure if it's mentioned elsewhere but there's a documentary on Netflix made in 2016 which covers the Ford v Ferrari Le Mans battle from the 60s (yes, I'm also awate the new movie covers it too). It's worth watching if you have Netflix, interviews with Mauro Forghieri, Enzo Ferrari's son, Esdel Ford, Henry Ford III, as well as numerous other mechanics and drivers involved.

#65 Michael Ferner

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 12:32

Where did you get the average speed from?

By dividing the covered distance (in full laps) through the elapsed time when the car crosses the finishing line.

It has to be the distance covered in the race divided by the 24 hours, so you can't calculate the distance from it.

No, it's the distance covered divided by the elapsed time, hence 24 hours plus x minutes and y seconds.

A simple inspection of the declared results will show that the distance separating first from second was not often an exact multiple of the lap distance.

Of course not. It's a multiple of the average speed, it has nothing at all to do with lap distance.

In his 1963 book on Le Mans, David Hodges included a summary of the Regulations which ended:
"Finally, the actual position of the surviving cars at 4 p.m. on Sunday is calculated from their speed on the last lap and rounded off to give to the nearest 10 metres the distances which they covered in 24 hours."

He's obviously wrong. That would be excessively complicated, and on top of it would conceivably give the second placed car a greater distance covered than the winner if the lead changed on the last lap.

Like every other race, a 24 hour race stops at the finishing line, when the chequered flag is waved. Nothing else is reasonable, not even possible without extremely complicated calculations, which could also give false results. So, the ultimate question is: WHY in the world would you want to make a simple and safe thing complicated and unsafe? Beats me.

#66 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 14:39

Maybe they're French?

Or is that German?

Italian?

#67 rudi

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 17:21

Like every other race, a 24 hour race stops at the finishing line, when the chequered flag is waved.

The problem in 1966 was that the press people were informed by the Ford PR that there was to be a dead heat arrival and none went to the finishing line, all waited around the podium.

One week after his first account of the race, Gregor Grant wrote in Autosport: "In any case, a study of several photographs has convinced me that the McLaren/Amon car did, in fact, finish a yard or so in front of the Miles/Hulme machine".

#68 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 18:59

Whatever doubts one might harbour about any past motor racing result, the applause has long-since ended, the fizz has evaporated, the official finishing order has been verified by the only people who matter, and the prize and bonus monies have been paid (and spent).

Surely there are far more pressing concerns today than to obsess over Le Mans '66...more than 53 years after the matter (in practical terms) was settled.

McLaren/Amon won.  Miles/Hulme didn't.

DCN

#69 opplock

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 19:46

McLaren/Amon won.  Miles/Hulme didn't.

DCN

The start of a fantastic few years for motor racing fans in NZ. Bruce McLaren (and Denny Hulme) spent the following 3 years thrashing the best that the USA could offer in CANAM - using Chevrolet engines. Still a sore point with Ford fans?

#70 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 21:54

I have one question in light of all of this:  Why do they call it the "start/finish line"?

#71 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 23:28

That's a pretty interesting question...

It certainly isn't the 'starting line' because all the cars are lined up to start from their place along the pit wall and the organisers, at least at that time, took their actual starting positions into account.

And, so it transpires, it wasn't the finish line either - and it's not a chequered line across the track, just a plain white painted line.

#72 rudi

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 08:03

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#73 Catalina Park

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 10:11

#74 Catalina Park

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 10:12

#75 ensign14

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 10:28

Surely there are far more pressing concerns today than to obsess over Le Mans '66...more than 53 years after the matter (in practical terms) was settled.

Doug, this is a place where people have been obsessing about the 1939 European Championship for decades...let alone the supposed Tripoli fix.

#76 john winfield

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 11:20

Surely there are far more pressing concerns today than to obsess over Le Mans '66...more than 53 years after the matter (in practical terms) was settled.

DCN

You're right Doug. Let's talk Brexit and why the UK really shouldn't be leaving the EU.......

#77 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 13:53

Every time I see photos of this finish I'm confused as to why there's ever any doubt about it. No.2 clearly ahead of No.1, and a very noticeable finish line too.

#78 D28

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 14:42

Every time I see photos of this finish I'm confused as to why there's ever any doubt about it. No.2 clearly ahead of No.1, and a very noticeable finish line too.

https://forums.autos...e-merged/page-5

See the discussion here pages 5 and 6 for explanation.

#79 Louism

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 14:58

Car 1 crosses the line at 03:49'07,9" ending lap 358, Car 2 following at 03:49'10,9"...gap 3" Car 1 leading

Car 1 ends lap 359 at 03:54'34,0", Car 2 at 03:54'34,3"...gap 0,3" Car 1 leading

Car 2 passes the chequer at 04:01'14,8" and Car 1 at 04:01'15,3"...gap 0,5" Car 2 winning.

Source : Le Mans 1966 official lap chart.

Louis Monnier

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No doubt at all...

#80 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 19:22

If a race finishes at one precise moment and the positions at that moment count for all participants (still running) Felipe Massa is world champion

#81 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 21:52

If a race finishes at one precise moment and the positions at that moment count for all participants (still running) Felipe Massa is world champion

That wasn't a timed race, but a distance race.

#82 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 21:55

https://forums.autos...e-merged/page-5

See the discussion here pages 5 and 6 for explanation.

Trust me I've read loads of it. All the controversy seems to hinge on a dead heat that nobody actually caught on camera and where the finish line wasn't where it was painted.

#83 Catalina Park

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 08:20

The finish line is where the flag was waved. The start and finish lines are in two different locations. This is not that unusual in endurance racing.

#84 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:42

Every time I see photos of this finish I'm confused as to why there's ever any doubt about it. No.2 clearly ahead of No.1, and a very noticeable finish line too.

Ditto

I'm not sure I ever saw these pics, but doing so I wonder what all the fuss is about!

#85 john winfield

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 09:59

It's almost as if the organisers had, in the last laps of the race, prepared their case for coping with a dead-heat. If the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme car had come home a few yards ahead, it might have been relevant but, as the Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon car was clearly in front, there was no obvious controversy. (bar the tough hand dealt by Ford to Ken and Denny)

#86 RA Historian

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 16:09

It's almost as if the organisers had, in the last laps of the race, prepared their case for coping with a dead-heat. If the Ken Miles/Denny Hulme car had come home a few yards ahead, it might have been relevant but, as the Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon car was clearly in front, there was no obvious controversy. (bar the tough hand dealt by Ford to Ken and Denny)

Yet the myth refuses to die. I do not know how many times I have seen the finish declared a dead heat on various facebook forums. That misconception is then followed by all sorts of nonsense about who the real winner was and much uninformed blathering about starting grid positions determining the winner.  The obscure rule about dead heat finishes never came into play, as there was no dead heat. Yet the "experts" on FB continue to bluster about it.  Apparently they have never bothered to look at photos or video of the actual finish.

Tom

#87 rudi

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 08:12

Yet the myth refuses to die. I do not know how many times I have seen the finish declared a dead heat on various facebook forums. That misconception is then followed by all sorts of nonsense about who the real winner was and much uninformed blathering about starting grid positions determining the winner.  The obscure rule about dead heat finishes never came into play, as there was no dead heat. Yet the "experts" on FB continue to bluster about it.  Apparently they have never bothered to look at photos or video of the actual finish.

Tom

No wonder that the deat heat story and other fiction lasted so long: in the 2007 July  issue of Vintage Racecar Roger Dixon who was at Le Mans in 1966 has under a photo of the Miles/Hulme car this caption: "Despite crossing the finish line first, Miles and Hulme were relegated to 2nd place due to the winning car being that which covered the longest distance in 24 Hours". Same for Motor Sport in 2006 (Gordon Cruickshank) "In fact it wasn't the order at the line that mattered, but the position at exactly 4pm, some way back round the circuit. As that could not be pinpointed exactly, the cars' theoretical positions were calculated using their positions and lap times at the completion of the punultimate lap. These however, were both identical... and that is when the extra few metres down the grid that car 2 had started from came into play".