GT/prototype racing 1966



In 1966 Ford finally got its revenge: it won the Prototypes Trophy with 38 points; Ferrari was second with 36 points and Chapparal third with 10 points.  Ferrari considered building a Prototype car for the 1966 racing season with a greater capacity and more power, to compete with the 7-litre Mk II Ford, but in the end decided to develop an improved version of the 330P2, which was baptized the 330P3.  This car was raced only by the works team.  A new model of the Dino was also produced, the Dino 206S.
In the course of 1966 there were various strikes at the Ferrari factory, due to national rather than local disputes.   This meant that in some cases, for example at Le Mans, the racing cars were not as well prepared as they normally would have been.

In 1966 Mike drove works-entered Ferraris in five races (Sebring 12 Hours, Monza 1000 Km., Nürburgring 1000 Km., Spa 1000 Km., Austrian Sports Car GP), Maranello Concessionaires cars in  three races (RAC Tourist Trophy Oulton Park,  20-lap sports race at British GP Meeting Brands Hatch, Guards Trophy Brands Hatch), and a 250LM entered by David Piper in one race (Montlhéry 1000 Km).  He achieved three first places, at Monza, Montlhéry and Spa, and one sixth place (at Brands Hatch).

Mike’s first race of the season was the Sebring 12 Hours, at which the Ferrari works team consisted of a single 330P3, driven by Mike and Bob Bondurant, and a Dino 206S.  NART entered a 365P2/3.  Ford was represented by four Mk II Fords and two GT40s.  For many hours Mike and Bob battled against the four Mk II Fords, maintaining second place on the same lap as the leading Ford.  After nine hours racing the gearbox seized up and the car was retired.  The leading Ford broke down on the last lap, but other cars in the Ford team came first, second and third.

At the Monza 1000 Km Ferrari again entered a single works 330P3, in the hands of Mike and John Surtees.  The other Ferraris in the race were a 365P2/3 entered by Ecurie Francorchamps and four Dino 206S cars.  The only Fords were five private entrants.  It poured with rain throughout the race; Mike and Surtees led it from start to finish, not helped by the fact that their windscreen wiper packed up about a third of the way through.

The Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park saw Mike in a Dino 206S entered by Maranello Concessionaires.  The car started to give trouble during practice and a replacement differential was flown out overnight and fitted; in the course of this repair it emerged that there was a problem with the oil flow to the crown wheel and pinion.  In the race itself the car was withdrawn after only two laps, when Mike realized that all was not well.

In the Targa Florio Mike was again driving a Dino 206S, with Ludovico Scarfiotti.  During practice Mike lost control of the car and crashed it, damaging the front suspension and body.   Fortunately, the mechanics were able to patch it up in time for the race.  On lap six, with Mike at the wheel, the throttle jammed open and he crashed out of the race.  After numerous crashes the race was finally won by a Porsche 906, with the other works Dino in second place.

At the Spa 1000 Km, there was a single works 330P3 and a works Dino entered in the name of Maranello Concessionaires.   There were also various other privately entered Ferraris.  Mike and Scarfiotti drove the 330P3, which this time had Firestone tyres instead of Dunlops.  There was a single 7-litre MK II Ford.  Mike and Scarfiotti won the race handsomely at an average speed of 126.43 mph, having led throughout, and the Mk II Ford came second, almost a lap behind them.

The Ferrari works team at the Nürburgring 1000 Km again consisted of one 330P3 and one Dino, with Mike and John Surtees driving the Prototype.  There were also two privately entered Dinos.  Surtees started the race brilliantly and had built up a good lead by the fifth lap, but after the first hour’s racing the car started to give trouble.  It had to make two pit stops for repairs to the rear suspension and finally, three-quarters of the way through the race, Mike was forced to retire it because of clutch trouble.  The race was won by a Chapparal 2D, with two Dinos in second and third places.

At the Le Mans 24 Hours Ford finally had its revenge, winning first, second and third place.  Mike was driving a 330P3 with Scarfiotti.  There were two other 330P3s, one a works car and the other entered by NART, and four privately entered 365P2/3 cars.  There were eight Ford Mk II cars and five Ford GT40s.  Safety in numbers, as you might say.  For the first eight hours of the race the Parkes/Scarfiotti car was well up in the pack, but just after 12.30 am Scarfiotti collided with a Matra-BRM (which was reversing back onto the circuit after going off the track) and was quite badly injured.  Both of the other two 330P3s had to retire with gearbox trouble later on in the race.

In the U.K. Mike drove the Dino 206S Spider in a 20-lap sports car race held on the day of the British GP at Brands Hatch.  He finished sixth, winning the 2-litre class.  At the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy Meeting he was scheduled to drive the Dino 206S again, but spun into the safety bank in practice, leaving the car unfit to race (and cutting his face).

His final race of the 1966 season was at the Montlhéry 1000 Km, driving David Piper’s 250LM, with David as co-driver.  They won the race.

All in all, so far as Prototype and Sports cars were concerned, Mike’s 1966 racing season was less successful than previous years.  This was due more to the unreliability or poor preparation of the 330P3 and the Dino 206S than to driving errors on his part.  On the positive side, he was one of the drivers at the wheel of the 330P3 in the only two races in which it came first.

Next: GT/prototype racing 1967