6. FERRARI 330 P4
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