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Why Ken Miles did not win the '66 Le Mans 24

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by Gatorrari, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
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    It is much more complicated than that: you should, at least, read "Forza Amon" by Eoin Young (2004); you would then have one of the interpretations of what happened. But there are others...

    The only thing that is sure is that the cars did NOT cross together side by side under the checkered flag: all the pictures taken show without a doubt that McLaren, driving the "2", had taken two lengths of advantage over Miles driving the "1".

    The question is, did Bruce McLaren give that little accelerator nudge to win, or was it Miles who lifted? Their team mates, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon, were both of the opinion that Bruce gave a little accelerator nudge.
    I think we will never know for sure.

    Rgds
     
  2. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

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    But was he, that is the question?
    Read "Forza Amon" by Eoin Young, as said above: it quotes Karl Ludwidgsen, who said in 1969 that Miles was not ahead in the morning when they decided to freeze the positions: it was Amon.
    Then someone pleaded the Ford execs. to let Miles win the race; still according to Ludwigsen, they stopped Amon, leading, and changed his rear tyres...which were absolutely in perfect shape: from being 40 seconds in front, he started 40 seconds behind after the un-necessary tyre change. And Miles was then leading.
    But Bruce McLaren saw that dubious tyre change on his car: feeling cheated, he went to the Ford executives to suggest the idea of a side-by-side crossing under the checkered flag. And comes the checkered flag, he gave just a little nudge on the accelerator to be sure he was in front. He supposedly wrote to his father: "a 24 hour race can be won by two minutes of politics".
    Denny Hulme, who was teamed with Ken Miles, said later, quite enigmatically: "If I had been in Bruce's shoes, I would have done what he did"; and Amon said "I am pretty sure that Bruce was absolutely determined to win this race";
    Trouble is, there are other versions...

    I think we will never know for sure.

    Rgds
     
  3. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    Wikipedia has this to say about the end of the race:

    "With the field covered it was now that Leo Beebe, Ford racing director, contrived to stage a dead heat by having his two lead cars cross the line simultaneously. The ACO told him this would not be possible given the staggered starting formation that the #2 car would have covered 20 metres further. But Beebe pushed on with his plan anyway."

    "Any chance for a dead heat disappeared when officials discovered a rule that in case of a tie, the car that had started further down the grid had travelled the farther distance."


    All Leo Bebbe wanted was a flattering photo-finish to be splashed on TV screens all over the world, because it would be good publicity for Ford.
    He knew it would end in controversy, and decided to go ahead regardless. The ACO was against it anyway.

    I have also read that Ken Miles deliberately slowed down to spoil the effect, because he knew already that he was beaing cheated out of a win.
    I don't know if that's true, and poor Ken didn't live long enough to enlighten us on the subject.
    Did he know the ACO ruling in advance in case of dead heat?
     
  4. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    #29 lorenzobandini, Nov 20, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
    Yes , Ken died testing the second car constructed, J2, of 9 (the "J" name assigned as it fit FIA's appendix J rules before "MkIV"), at Riverside after the '66 24 du Mans. IIRC the rear bodywork came undone and sent Ken out of control. Different body configurations and chassis/cockpit protection development ensued before settling on the MkIV we know and (at least I) love.
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  5. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    At the risk of being accused of pursuing our "trivial history contest", regarding Ken Miles death.

    At the time, there was another version of what caused the accident. Ken Miles was testing different types of ventitaled discs on the J car at Riverside and one of the front discs would have exploded under stress during braking, locking instantly the wheel and sending the car out of control. The J car shot at a 90° angle and hit the bank at full speed leaving Ken Miles with no chance of survival. Was it an undetected crack in the disc, or a machining fault, who knows?


    Rear bodywork coming undone was the cause of Bruce McLaren death at Goodwood.
     
  6. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    'Hadn't heard that one.
    'Not "contesting" :D either, but are you thinking of Andretti's lockup during the race? He pitted his #3 (photo above) from 2nd early in the a.m. and during the pad change, one had been installed backwards causing a front wheel lockup....the rest is history. A "J" and two MkIIs out in one fell swoop.
    Ken's crash was at the end of the long straight at Riverside, so your scenario for Ken, an exploding disc, sounds quite feasible.

    We return you to the original topic, Ken Miles losing at LM. :)
     
  7. BartonWorkman

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    After researching a Ford GT40 a friend in Europe was selling, I learned a lot about how Ford and Shelby
    went about their endeavor of beating Ferrari at their own game at Le Mans.

    As is well documented, Ford threw tons of money at the project with little to no accountability. As it was
    Henry Ford II's pet project, much of what was spent was kept off company books. With a near unlimited
    budget, Shelby and his team had the freedom do whatever they wanted which amounted to spitballing
    ideas to see what would stick which in today's terms of engineers pouring over cars with computers
    monitoring every process, every part that is changed, everything documented, et.al., there was none
    of that with the GT40 project.

    This meant that Shelby could/would try different materials to build the cars attempting to keep the cars as
    light as possible, frame metals were used in testing which were found to be cracking. On discovering this,
    Shelby would simply cut the back half of the car off and install another back half using stronger materials
    and other things such as this which by today's standards would be considered completely insane.

    When a chassis was destroyed or cut to pieces to source parts, the team would keep the chassis numbers
    in circulation as the practice of assembling "Frankenstein" cars together for testing purposes continued
    throughout.

    When Ford pulled the plug on the project, all records were simply thrown out or destroyed. Thus, when
    making pointed inquiries about certain GT40 cars which become available on the market, Ford and Shelby
    representatives literally run for cover.

    Thus, a word of caution whenever being offered a "real" GT40, research, double research, triple research
    and even then trust no one's word, even the writer of the so-called Ford GT40 "Bible".

    BHW
     
  8. Hobacks427

    Hobacks427 Karting

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    Interesting discussion. I had read though I forget where and from who's account of the finish that Miles had braked just before crossing the line, for whatever reason. There has also been some speculation that the lap charts were inaccurate and Miles was still a lap ahead.....any which way and sadly Miles is not around to give his side of the story. Even if the Ford v Ferrari is not strictly accurate, it was to good to see Miles spotlighted and the importance of his role in developing the GT's put forth to a new generation.
     
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  9. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    Right to the end of the Ford program at the end of 1967, all GT40 chassis were built at Slough, England, by Ford Advanced Vehicle, headed by John Wyer.
    At the insistance of Roy Lunn, the chassis were steel monocoque, and not alloy monocoque like the Lola MK6 GT that inspired the GT40.
    Lunn's argument was that the car had to be produced in significant numbers and that he trusted steel fabrication more than aliminium.
    That was one of the reasons why Eric Broadley, recruited as consultant, left the project very quickly.
    Only the front and rear subframes were tubular with square tubing (another area of disagreement between the 2 engineers).
    FAV produced the GT40s delivered with 289cc engines to client teams, but shipped some bare chassis to Shelby American where 427 engines were fitted; Shelby didn't produce these GT40/MKII monocoques.
    Worked on by Phil Remington and his engineers, the Shelby cars were built to receive a different reinforced rear subframe, and larger bodywork and became called. MKII. It's possible that different subframes were tried. But in no way the core of the chassis (the monocoque itself) could be cut and reassembled to another part. The structural integrality of a monocoque would be greatly affected if some panels were simply cut. On the GT40, some panels start behind the front wheelarche and continue in one piece to finish well behind the rear bulkhead forming a rigid box that contains the fuel bladder.
    Shelby lobbied Ford to build his own chassis independently from Ford Advanced Vehicles and John Wyer .
    This is how the J car came about. The chassis would now be a honeycomb monocoque. Its gestation cost Ken Miles life.
    With new bodywork, the car became the MKIV and it was just ready for Sebring 67, where it won without opposition.
    Ford wanted to repeat his win at Le Mans, but time ran out, and Shelby couldn't produce enough MKIVs to fill all the entries Ford had obtained.
    So, 3 MKIVs and 4 MKIIs ran in 1967. Gurney-Foyt won for Ford, and the ACO soon banned 7-liter cars !!!
     
  10. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    And Mark Donahue's horrendous crash during testing in the 917 at Road Atlanta.
     
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  11. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    #36 lorenzobandini, Nov 21, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
    Duplicate
     
  12. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    #37 lorenzobandini, Nov 21, 2019
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    Vice versa; 3MkIIBs (S - 1047, S/FoFR - 1031, HM - 1015) and 4 MkIVs (S - J5 & J6, HM - J7 & J8). We won't discuss the GT40s run by Scuderia Filipinetti, Ford of France, or J Wyer (and his two Mirages).

    BTW, those tiny "289cc" (18 c.i.) engined ones...were they going for.....what was it called back then?, The "Balance of Performance Index"?.....victories? 'Couldn't have been very fast down the Mulsanne....(or anywhere, for that matter...) :p

    :)
     
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  13. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    Ah. The "Index of Perfromance". ;)
     
  14. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I knew that all the Mk. Is and Mk. IIs were built in England, but weren't the Mk. IVs built in the U.S.?
     
  15. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    You are right regarding the numbers of MKI and MKIV. I didn't check before writting.

    About the "tiny" 289cc GT40s. They were for customer teams and private entries. Ford sold quite a few of them through FAV.
    In 1966, a new category had been created between the prototypes, and the GTs; the Sport category .
    Only 50 cars needed to be produced for homologation.
    The Ferrari 250LM that had been refused GT homologation qualified as a Sport, also the Ford GT40, the Lola T70 Coupe, and the Porsche 906.

    The Sports were going to be the bulk of the field the next year, once the prototypes over 3-liter were banned.
    John Wyer winning Le Mans twice in succession with the same car under Gulf colours.
     
  16. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    Yes, I think they were built at Kar Kraft, but I am not sure.
     
  17. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    You realize that you mean 289 cubic inches, not 289cc. That would be small even for a motorcycle engine!
     
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  18. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    Yes, of course you are right !

    Thanks for spotting my mistake. We keep juggling between imperial and metric .
     
  19. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The GT was fast enough with the 289 (4.7 liter) engine; after all, it was the fastest thing on the track in 1964, albeit unstable and unreliable. And the 1968-69 version was able to win twice against much newer Porsche equipment.
     
  20. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    In 1964, the Ford GT40 had only 255cu engines (4181cc) giving about 380bhp.
    By 1965, they had 289cu (4737cc) and 420bhp.
    The "Wyer version" that won Le Mans in 68/69 had 302cu engine (4942cc) with 470bhp.
     
  21. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    #46 lorenzobandini, Nov 22, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    The evolution of Ford's original (1962) 221 c.i. V-8. ;)

    (pssstt...note...ci, not cu...:p)
     
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  22. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I saw references to the original Cobras having 260ci engines, which I assume were the same as the 255s, just rounded off to a whole number?
     
  23. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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  24. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    Whilst perusing results, I see there were two 427ci Shelby MkIIs, that broke their boxes early, in '65 too. 'Don't remember that.....siiiigghhh.... :(
     
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  25. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    Yes, Miles-McLaren and P.Hill-Amon were Shelby entries in 65. The gearbox couldn't handle the torque of the 427 Stockcar engine.
    John Wyer had wanted to develop the GT40, where Shelby simply advocated bigger engines. " You can't beat cube inches !"
    Shelby won the argument with Ford and was trusted with the whole program, running it from Los Angeles.
    John Wyer was sold FAV at the end of 65, and started to develop the GT40 to his liking, to become the Mirage M1 that immediatly won races.
     
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