Travel: Here’s How The Le Mans Classic Honored Ferrari’s Last Le Mans Win

Here’s How The Le Mans Classic Honored Ferrari’s Last Le Mans Win

By Michael Banovsky
July 15, 2016

Photography by Tim Scott

Nineteen Sixty-Five was a great year, with Ferrari’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans very close to the high water mark…at least as far as classic cars are concerned. Its victory with Jochen Rindt, Masten Gregory, (and possibly Ed Hugus) in 1965 was the final overall victory by the Prancing Horse. How big of an achievement was it? The recent Le Mans Classic illustrated what the team was up against.

At the Le Mans Classic, “Plateau 4” was for sports racing cars built between 1962 and 1965. In period, Ferrari swept all four years (for a total of six outright wins in a row), with its utterly dominant V12 engines, achingly beautiful bodywork, and ace drivers at its disposal.

In period, it was a fight featuring the factory Ferrari and Porsche teams for the 1965 title; between Ferrari, Shelby, and Porsche in 1964 and 1963, with Jaguar being Ferrari’s main competition in 1962 with a 4th place finish. In other words, if you wanted to win Le Mans in the early ’60s, you needed a Ferrari to do it. Once it lost to Ford in 1966, that was it…

That’s not to say other manufacturers didn’t try—photographer Tim Scott was able to capture at the Le Mans Classic just how diverse and competitive the competition must have been in period. Funny, then, that on the day the best finish for a Ferrari was in 31st position, with Fords, Shelbys, and Shelby-prepped Fords locking out (.pdf link) the top 10.

Which of these machines from the early ’60s do you think could have challenged Ferrari in period?

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Chris Ribbe
Chris Ribbe
7 years ago

however… photography stunning

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
7 years ago

It’s odd that you featured a picture of a Cobra on the main page with the headline about honoring Ferrari. How could it be that the quickest Ferrari was 31st? I guess I wouldn’t push cars that valuable too hard either.

7 years ago

Agreed. This site really needs to make titles that are accurate. Very few articles on “This is what it’s like to drive” actually include much about how the featured car drives, including steering feel, grip, etc., just as these “This is how” articles, such as this one, fail to really tell us “how”.

The picture only ups the criminality.

Come on, Petrolicious! You guys can do so much better, as evidenced by countless gems on this site.

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