The 24 Hours of Daytona kicked off the endurance racing season back in 1967 just as it does today. For that running of the race, Ferrari chose its new, sleek 330 P4, considered one of the most beautiful prototypes ever designed. The Italian marque fielded two factory cars: a P4 for Ludovico Scarfiotti-Michael Parkes and a P3/4 for Bandini-Chris Amon. Ferrari was also counting on four additional entrants from its loyal partner teams the NART and Ecurie Francorchamps, as well as a private P2/3 fielded by British driver David Piper.
Ford entered six factory Mk IIs in the race, but five suffered gearbox troubles and were forced to retire. Six hours in, Ferrari took the helm once and for all and went on to claim the entire podium at the checkered flag, a presumed reference to Ford's hat trick at Le Mans the previous year, which came off as a snub at home for the American marque.
The winning P3/4 was shared by Lorenzo Bandini (a Ferrari staple in Formula 1 and at the 24 Hours, which he won in 1963) and Chris Amon (winner at Le Mans in 1966, at the wheel of a Ford no less). They became the first two of 22 drivers to win both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona. The duo finished ahead of the P4 driven by Scarfiotti-Parkes and the 412P of Pedro Rodriguez-Jean Guichet (NART). The only Ford Mk II to cross the finish line was shared by Bruce McLaren and Lucien Bianchi in seventh place, trailing the winners by 73 laps.
An epic showdown was therefore set for the 24 Hours of Le Mans a few months later, with more than 300,000 spectators expected to attend the 1967 running of the race. Five Ferrari 330 P4s, three 412 Ps and one 365 P2 faced off against four new Ford GT40 Mk IVs, three Mk IIBs and three GT40s.
After starting from pole position at Daytona and qualifying ninth at Le Mans, the Ford Mk IV of Dan Gurney-A.J. Foyt left the others in the dust after the first refuelings. Ferrari failed to react, convinced the American car would end up breaking down. But the Americans continued on steadily, increasing the gap with the Italian marque. "As incredible as it sounds, we did not push the Mk IV to its full potential," admitted Gurney.
When the P4 of Scarfiotti-Parkes – in second place by mid-race thanks to an accident that eliminated three Fords during the night – finally set out after the #1 Mk IV, it was too little too late. The British and Italian drivers finished four laps behind the winners.
The duel between Ford and Ferrari gave the world of endurance racing some remarkable records. By accomplishing Henry Ford II's goal of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an American car and American drivers, Gurney and Foyt became the first to surpass 5,000 kilometers at the race (5,232 km). Scarfiotti and Parkes set the record for longest distance covered by a Ferrari at Le Mans, with 5,180 kilometers.
The battles at Le Mans and Daytona between these two giants marked the end of an era in 1967. With never-before-seen performances at the 24 Hours in France, the escalation caused the Commission Sportive Internationale (now the FIA) to restrict prototypes to three liters in 1968.
PHOTO (Copyright - ACO/ARCHIVES): LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, FINISH, SUNDAY 11 JUNE 1967. After beating Ford at the 24 Hours of Daytona, Ferrari finished on the heels of the winning Ford at Le Mans with the 330 P4 shared by Michael Parkes (at the wheel) and Ludovico Scarfiotti (seated in the car and winner in 1963).
BREAKING NEWS: THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS POSTPONED TO 19–20 SEPTEMBER 2020