Rac­ing in ‘66

Mo­tor rac­ing was chang­ing rapidly in 1966 with a se­ries of firsts and lasts – and un­prece­dented suc­cess for those from the an­tipodes on the in­ter­na­tional scene.

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

Mo­tor rac­ing was chang­ing rapidly in 1966 with a se­ries of firsts and lasts – and un­prece­dented suc­cess for those from the an­tipodes. AMC presents six ‘click­ety-clicks’ from sea­son ’66.

Just as car man­u­fac­tur­ers were gear­ing up for a new era of per­for­mance mo­tor­ing with larger ca­pac­ity ma­chines hit­ting the road, mo­tor rac­ing was start­ing to re­flect the ‘big­ger is beau­ti­ful’ mantra. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the 1966 World Championship was the first of the three-litre for­mula, with max­i­mum en­gine ca­pac­ity dou­bled from the pre­vi­ous sea­son. The change caught tra­di­tional rac­ing car con­struc­tors on the hop and cre­ated the op­por­tu­nity for an en­gine-build­ing sub­sidiary of Repco in Mel­bourne that was grasped with both hands.

Ford had its eyes on the ul­ti­mate sportscar prize, sup­port­ing an eight-car ar­mada for the twice-round-the-clock clas­sic in France. The 16-strong driver line-up com­prised a trio of Aus­tralians and three New Zealan­ders; the lat­ter cel­e­brated the hard­est.

Driv­ers of both na­tion­al­i­ties were prom­i­nent in the first run­nings of a pair of short-lived se­ries that kicked off in ‘66 in the United States, burn­ing brightly for a few short sea­sons be­fore dy­ing out.

On the do­mes­tic scene, the dis­cernible pop­u­lar­ity shift from events for rac­ing cars and sportscars to tour­ing cars con­tin­ued. That said, the Tas­man Se­ries and other in­ter­na­tional events on the Aus­tralian rac­ing cal­en­dar still at­tracted the big­gest names on the global scene with public at­ten­tion to match. Even the odd Gold Star round at­tracted hot­shots like Jack Brab­ham and Jackie Ste­wart (pic­tured, colour, at Surfers Par­adise).

Over the fol­low­ing pages AMC presents six spreads – snap­shots that we reckon re­ally cap­ture the essence of mo­tor­sport in this edi­tion’s fea­ture year.

We’ve pur­posely avoided in­clud­ing the Gal­la­her 500 here as that’s ex­ten­sively cov­ered else­where in this edi­tion.

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