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11 de setembro de 2020

Ford at Le Mans: Part 2 - The race of the century


Rui Faria

The 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours were presented as the “Race of the Century”. It was Porsche's attempted revenge after the defeat the previous year and both Italians and Americans bet heavily.


Ferrari entered seven models - four of the new P4 and three P3/4 - all with four-liter engines. The electronic injection of the new model made a difference compared to the carburetors of the rest. Ford presented seven models with the 7.0-liter V8 engine: four new MK IVs, designed by Phil Remington, and three MK IIBs evolved from the 1966 version.


But there were also new protagonists, such as Jim Hall's Chaparral 2F with 7.0-liter Chevrolet engines, which impressed with their aerodynamics but failed to assert their reliability.


Ford bet on an aggressive strategy. He assumed a lively pace, right from the start, to take advantage of the superior power of his engines and put the Italians' reliability in difficulties and he was winning his bet. However, with the course of the race, some inexperience of its drivers led to several accidents and four cars have not finished.


Dan Gurney and A.J.Foyt managed to secure Ford's victory in a race that ended up not having a great story. It is certain that the Ferrari P4s from Scarfiotti / Parkes and Meiresse / Beurlys finished close, but the winners commanded from the second hour of running, in a year in which the first three classifieds exceeded five thousand kilometers over the 24 Hours, in a journey that registered the largest audience so far.

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