GT/prototype racing 1965

Races

Photos

In 1965 Ferrari won the Prototypes Trophy, gaining 58.5 points, with Porsche second (30.4 points) and Ford third (19.6 points).  In the Grand Touring Car Championship it was beaten by Shelby American Cobra (90 points) and came second (71.3 points), with Jaguar a distant third (7.2 points).

In that year Mike drove in eight races, of which four with SEFAC Ferrari cars and four with cars entered by Maranello Concessionaires.  He achieved one first place, in the Monza 1000 Km., three second places, in the Nürburgring 1000 Km., the Rheims 12 Hours, and the Austrian Sports Car GP at Zeltweg, and one sixth place in the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy.

At the Monza 1000 Km. there was a massive line-up of Ferraris.  The works team included two 330P2s, a 275P2 driven by Mike with Jean Guichet, and a Dino 166P.  There were also two privately entered Prototypes, a 365P and a 330P.  Shelby entered two Ford GT40s.  Three of the Ferraris retired due to mechanical troubles and Surtees, in one of the 330P2s, was delayed by tyre failure.  Mike’s 275P2 performed impeccably and he and Guichet won the race, with Surtees and Scarfiotti second.  One of the Fords finished third, four laps behind the leaders.

At the Targa Florio, where the works team was present with three 275P2s, Mike was coupled with Scarfiotti.  They dropped out of the race when Scarfiotti crashed the car.  The race was won by one of the other 275P2s.

At the Spa 500 Km. Mike was driving a 330P entered by Maranello Concessionaires.  In the initial stages of the race he built up a considerable lead in first place and in fact set the fastest lap, but after eight laps the engine began to play up.  At 18 laps he came into the pits to refuel and the mechanics tried to clear the fuel pumps but the car continued to misfire and eventually was retired.

The Nürburgring 1000 Km. saw a Ford vs. Ferrari line-up: four Ferraris  (three works-entered and one from Maranello Concessionaires) and four Fords (entered by Shelby American, John Wyer and Ford France).  Mike was driving a works-entered Ferrari 275 P2, again with Jean Guichet.  The race was won by a 330P2 driven by Surtees and Scarfiotti, who led virtually throughout the race, Mike and Jean Guichet came second, 44.8 sec. behind their team-mates, the third Ferrari retired and the fourth, a Dino 166P, came fourth.  Three of the Fords retired and the one survivor finished eighth: a resounding defeat.

The Le Mans 24 Hour race was a major Ferrari-Ford confrontation.  Ferrari fielded three works Prototypes and a Dino, and a further two prototypes were entered by Maranello Concessionaires and NART.  Mike was allocated a 330P2, with Guichet as co-driver.  There were five Fords: two 7-litre Mk.2s entered by Shelby American and three GT40s.  Of the six Ferraris only the NART entry survived to the end of the race, coming seventh.  All the Fords dropped out with various kinds of mechanical failure.  Mike’s car ran well and led the race for three hours before losing time for a clutch repair.  It survived for twenty-two hours but was eventually retired because of a blown cylinder head gasket.  However Ferrari won the day: private 250LMs entered by NART and Ecurie Francorchamps came first and second and a 275GTB also entered by Ecurie Francorchamps came third.

At the Rheims 12 Hours Mike drove a Ferrari 365 P2 entered by Maranello Concessionaires with John Surtees.  There were two other Ferrari prototypes, a 365P2 entered by NART and a 330P entered by Maranello Concessionaires, but no Fords.  The start of this race was marked by a minor drama, which Colonel Hoare well remembered: “I had a terrible row with Mike once.  We were doing the Rheims 12 Hours  which started at midnight and finished at midday [in reality in that year the race ran from 11.00 pm to 11.00am].  We were all staying at the hotel in Rheims, went to the circuit.  Mike was co-driving with John Surtees in my car.  We looked at our watches, it was getting nearer and nearer to twelve.  No Michael.  I thought: ‘My God, what on earth has happened to him?’ Sally Bealey was helping us with the timekeeping that year.  At four minutes to go I said:’John, I’m awfully sorry, you’ll have to do the first stint.’ He said; ‘That’s O.K.’ John goes, the race starts.  No Michael.  Sally Bealey gets into her car, finds a friendly policeman, tells him that we are minus a driver, they produce a police escort of motorcyclists.  She goes flat out to Rheims, into the hotel and finds Mike fast asleep in bed.  She had to wake him up, got him there, I gave him a terrific rocket and that was that.” All the Ferrari Prototypes in the race had mechanical problems, but in the end the NART 363P2, driven by Rodriguez and Guichet, came first and Mike and Surtees came second, two laps behind, having lost five laps due to the replacement of a broken rocker arm.

In the Austrian Sports Car GP, a 200-mile race on the Zeltweg circuit, Mike drove a Ferrari 365 P2 entered by Maranello Concessionaires.  At half-distance he was leading the race but had to go into the pits for a tyre change, which put Jochen Rindt’s 250LM, which completed the whole race on one set of tyres, in the lead.  Mike chased Rindt hard, gradually catching up with him, but the car’s fuel system was leaking and just before the end of the race he had to make an extra pit stop to top up, which enabled Rindt to win the race by 44 seconds, with Mike in second place.  As Ronnie Hoare commented: “The race was won by the tyres.” Mike’s car had Dunlop tyres whereas Rindt’s had Goodyears.

At the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy, run in two 30-lap heats, Mike drove the Maranello Concessionaires 365 P2.  David Piper entered a similar car.  Both cars proved to be heavier and slower than the Lola T70s and the McLaren-Oldsmobile and Mike and David came in sixth and seventh.

Next: GT/prototype racing 1966

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