Le Mans 1966: Ford Mk2: Andretti/Bianchi…

Posted: June 27, 2016 in Icons & Iconoclasts, Sports Racers
Tags: , , , ,

image

Evocative Jesse Alexander pre-start shot of the Mario Andretti/Lucien Bianchi Ford GT Mk2 and a young Ford fan…

The American, Italian/Belgian combo survived 97 laps before retiring with head gasket failure of their 6982cc pushrod V8.

Andretti was the ‘young gun’, he won the USAC Championship in 1965 and had plenty of wins too in 1966, but he had limited sportscar experience, Le Mans, his first GT40 race! Bianchi was the opposite, vastly experienced in such cars with three straight Tour de France victories from 1957-9 and a Sebring 12 Hour win with Jo Bonnier in 1962 to his credit.

The pair started 12th and steadily worked their way up the field, but luck was not on their side, retiring in the eighth hour. They hit it off though, Holman & Moody paired them together again in a MkIV in 1967.

Le Mans 1966 Ford prep

Pre race preparation, Ford Mk2 in the foreground, the #6 Andretti/Bianchi car clear…a military operation! (Dave Friedman)

The GTs’ famously failed to win in the previous two years but Ford made no mistakes in 1966, no less than fourteen of the powerful cars, both GT40’s and Mark 2’s entered with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon victorious in a Shelby American entered Mk2.

They ‘beat’ Ken Miles and Denny Hulme in the ‘infamous form finish’ in another Shelby Mk2.

LeMans 1966 grid forming

Gridding up pre start…#2 is the victorious McLaren/Amon Mk2, #3 Gurney/Grant Mk2 (DNF), #4 Hawkins/Donohue Mk2 (DNF)…and the rest. Captures the moment doesn’t it? (Ford Motorsports Archive)

Le mans '66 start

Le Mans ’66 start…#3 Gurney, #4 Hawkins, from grid slot 11!, #1 Miles, yellow car alongside Whitmore, #2 McLaren,all Ford Mk2…you can just see the tail of the Bucknum Mk2, from 9th on the grid!…and the rest (unattributed)

Hill Le Mans 1966

Graham Hill squirts his Alan Mann Racing Ford Mk2 off the line leaving the NART Rodriguez/Ginther Ferrari P2/3 on the line…slippery diff functioning well (Automobile Year 14)

Hub repair

Mechanic checks a new disc before fitment to the Gurney/Grant Mk2 hub assembly, beautiful standard of fabrication and workmanship clear in this shot. Front suspension: double wishbones, coil spring/damper unit and adjustable sway bar. Steering arm also in shot, knock off nut etc (Ford Motorsport)

66 Le Mans form finish...

Almost to the finish…McLaren on the left, Miles on the right, at about this point Miles backs off allowing McLaren/Amon to take the win (unattributed)

1966 formation finish

That famous formation finish, Ken Miles whilst pissed off wants no part of it, so eases gently before the flag, Amon/McLaren taking the win. Miles dead in a Ford J car accident within months, the great British American the lead development driver of the GT40 program (unattributed)

Etcetera…

image

Andretti and friends before the off (Jesse Alexander)

Ford Mk2 rear suspension

Mk2 business end, Daytona 1967. Note 2 roll bars to counteract the forces on the bankings (Automobile Year)

Photo Credits…

Jesse Alexander, Ford Motorsport Archive, Automobile Year

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Great photo of Graham Hill laying down rubber at the start!

  2. graham64 says:

    Great photo of Graham Hill laying some rubber at the start!

  3. Ken Collins says:

    Hi Mark. I thought that Bianchi was Belgian, not French………

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Ken, Italo/Belgian it turns out!, have changed the copy accordingly. He was born Luciano Bianchi and changed his name along the way whilst living in Belgium. Interesting talented driver taken young sadly, Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s