6. FER­RARI 330 P4

Motor Sport News - - Le Mans Preview: Retro -

BEST RE­SULT: 2nd (1967) It’s a cliche to say the P4 is one of the most beau­ti­ful rac­ing cars of all time. It’s true, but that tends to over­shadow the fact that this was also a very fine thor­ough­bred sport­sracer, which fell short at Le Mans thanks to one of the big­gest in­va­sions La Sarthe has ever seen.

Af­ter be­ing de­feated by Ford’s big-bucks as­sault in 1966, Fer­rari pro­duced the 330 P4, com­plete with a gem of a four-litre V12. And took re­venge on its Amer­i­can ri­val by fin­ish­ing 1-2-3 at the Day­tona 24 Hours. Fer­rari would win the over-2000cc class in the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­onship for Sport­sPro­to­types, but Le Mans re­mained the big prize.

Works Fer­rari driver Chris Amon, who had won Le Mans the year be­fore with Ford, says: “As a team, Fer­rari went to Le Mans in 1967 with high hopes and con­fi­dence, but per­son­ally – hav­ing driven the big block Fords in the pre­ced­ing two years – I had reser­va­tions about be­ing com­pet­i­tive with the Fords due to the na­ture of the cir­cuit.

“I ex­pected us to be at least some 20mph down in top speed and, given the length of the Mul­sanne alone, that was al­ways go­ing to be sig­nif­i­cant. I don’t think Fer­rari ever ap­pre­ci­ated how good those big ca­pac­ity Amer­i­can pushrod units were.”

Four fac­tory Ford MKIVS and three Mk2bs were ranged against three works P4s (along­side a num­ber of older Fer­raris) and the seven-litre Fords made the run­ning.

Nev­er­the­less, myr­iad prob­lems for Ford – not least a multi-car ac­ci­dent that re­moved three V8s – meant it looked fal­li­ble.

“I don’t re­call hav­ing re­li­a­bil­ity con­cerns,” adds Amon, whose own Fer­rari only re­tired af­ter catch­ing fire fol­low­ing a punc­ture. “I al­ways felt the P4 was pretty bul­let­proof me­chan­i­cally.”

In the end, only the care­fully driven Dan Gur­ney/aj Foyt MKIV had a trou­ble-free run, but that was enough to limit hard-work­ing Fer­raris to sec­ond and third.

P4: sec­ond in 1967

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