Le Mans Classic 2014 - Grid 5 (1966-1971): Ford, Porsche and other records
Back

Le Mans Classic 2014 - Grid 5 (1966-1971): Ford, Porsche and other records

July 4-6, 2014, the Grid 5 of the Le Mans Classic will group together cars that competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1966 to 1971. During that period, Ford then Porsche ended Ferrari's domination.

During the period dedicated to Grid 5, records were beaten left and right in such a manner unseen since 1923. Awaiting to see at the 24 Hours circuit Ferrari, Lola, Porsche, Chevron, Ford, Ligier, Costin Nathan and De Tomaso, here are some stories of the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1966 and 1971. 

Ford, four victories for revenge – Up against Ferrari's experience (nine victories from 1949 to 1965), Ford landed in La Sarthe with its financial strength…and revenge to exact, after Enzo Ferrari turned down with great contempt a purchase bid from the American giant. With four consecutive wins from 1966 to 1969, Ford ended Ferrari's supremacy, undefeated since 1960.

Porsche finally! – 19 years after its first participation, Porsche won at Le Mans, with two consecutive victories by Richard Attwood-Hans Herrmann (1970) and Helmut Marko-Gijs van Lennep (1971) in the 917.

Records – In 1967, Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt (Ford Mk IV) were the first to race 5,000 kilometers (5,233). In 1971, Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep covered 5,335km. That new record would hold for 39 years. At the preliminary practice of the 1971 24 Hours, Jackie Oliver (Porsche 917 LH) completed the fastest lap in the history of the 24 Hours in 3:13:6, at an average of 250km/h. In 1970 and 1971, in the same car, Vic Elford and Pedro Rodriguez were the first to reach an average of 240 and 250km/h, respectively, in the quest for the pole position.

Famous debuts – Did you know? It was this period dedicated to Grid 5 that Jacky Ickx (six victories) and Henri Pescarolo (four victories) competed at their first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Quintuple winner, Derek Bell went to La Sarthe for the first time in 1970. Also, it was in 1967 that Tom Kristensen was born, current record-holder for most wins at the 24 Hours. 

The Le Mans start is over – In 1970, drivers no longer ran to their cars - images of the Le Mans start can be seen in Steve McQueen's film "Le Mans" - and the practice was definitively replaced in 1971 by the start procedure that is still used today.