My Car Quest

October 14, 2019

Wishful Thinking Should Not Be Presented As Truth – Especially About Important Car Races

by Wallace Wyss –

The other day I was listening to one of my favorite radio shows, about cars from KPFK FM 90.7 and the co-host, Dave Kunz, interviewed a Ford expert about Ford’s illustrious Le Mans history.

I was going along with what they said until, near the end, the host referred to Ford’s recent Le Mans victory with the present Ford GT. My memory bank flashed WARNING, red lights flashed, and I knew it, the guest and the host both implied that Ford with the current Ford GT won Le Mans recently and probably most of the listeners swallowed that. I went to Wikipedia and no Ford GT has won since 1969.

1-2-3 - 1966 Le Mans -Ford GT40 (Ford Archives)

1-2-3 – 1966 Le Mans -Ford GT40 (Ford Archives)

If the current Ford GT had won overall, you would have heard a lot more about it, I assure you.

So what they were doing is something I hear from adherents of one marque or another, blurring of the lines between a class win and an overall win. I have been to Le Mans (unlike either their guest or Kunz who admitted that on air) and I’m here to tell ya, winning overall is the Whole Enchilada. Winning in class is good but equivalent to winning just one battle in a lengthy war.

You could say the Germans won at Dieppe (repelled the invasion) but nobody ever says the Germans won WWII.

So, give me a break sports fans. No matter how much you love your favorite marque, quit confusing the general public with your wishful thinking. There’s first place at Le Mans and far, far down in the order of significance is a class win.

When a company wins I think they deserve to milk that victory forever more, like Bentley is doing now for wins that were way before WWII.

The guest speaker on that radio show by the way was also confused why Miles didn’t win in ’66. It wasn’t that he spurted ahead at the last minute when a 3-abreast finish was ordered by HFII (broke ranks as it were), it was McLaren’s car had actually started much farther back on the grid than Miles’s, McLaren’s car was awarded the finish. So technically the McLaren car traveled farther than the Miles car even if it was a few feet farther and the goal of the Le Mans race is to see which car traveled the furthest within 24 hours.

‘Nuff said.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss authored or co-authored
five books on Shelby. Currently he’s welcoming inquiries on his noir novel The Ferrari Hunters. He can be reached at mendoart7@gmail.com

 
 
 

 

 

Summary
Wishful Thinking Should Not Be Presented As Truth - Especially About Important Car Races
Article Name
Wishful Thinking Should Not Be Presented As Truth - Especially About Important Car Races
Description
So what they were doing is something I hear from adherents of one marque or another, blurring of the lines between a class win and an overall win.

Comments

  1. In the trailer for this movie it shows the men setting up a GT40 rear spoiler in a shop. Made me remember about the Cobra coupes rear spoiler creation story. In 2011 at Tom Tjaarda’s Monterey dinner celebrating his/the Panteras 40th anniversary, guest Peter Brock told us that he knew/felt there would be too much rear aero lift during LeMans high speeds on the Mulsanne. So they confiscated/borrowed a short and wide aluminum French highway sign and then riveted it to the coupes rear vertical wall, told Dan Gurney to make passes down the Mulsanne straight while Peter and group watched from roadside. Then Dan was to max brake in front of group while all watched body dive, directional weave, tire patch smoke and whatever else! Where before sign spoiler they saw too much rear lift, rear tire smoke and front brake/aero dive now the saw frontal lift and front tire skidding, too much rear downforce. So many more runs were done as they crew were trimmed the sign downward 1/4″ each time to see the diff. Then all were satisfied when Dan Gurney again braked at 180+-mph and car stayed flat and equal + – smoke came from tire patches.
    Pretty cool that real seat of the pants engineering created one of the coolest cars ever.

  2. wallace wyss says

    I think the movie Ford v. Ferrari will show a little of that by-guess-and-by-gosh engineering. Brock himself told me when the GT40 people came to Shelby American some employees who were hot rodders felt “they were the enemy” and he left about that time. I hope there’s some ref. in the film to WWII experience, as I am sure that Remington, having fettled bombers at a base in England, during the war, learned how to fabricate in one helluva hurry as lives were at stake.

  3. But Miles would have never been in that position if Ford hadn’t ordered Miles to slow down so Ford PR could get all three cars crossing the finish line. Listening to people who have seen the film its 2 1/2 hours that feels like and hour. Miles is the character that the audience sympathizes with, but the movie is really about Carroll Shelby. Both the Ford and Ferrari characters are played well and the racing footage is solid. Not Le Mans quality, but good enough.

  4. Richard Bartholomew says

    Ferraris and Porsches both finished ahead of Fords in class at Le Mans this year and the GTs that were supposed to do very well were disqualified. I’m sure Ford and Disney would have liked a better Ford finish but I’m not sure if it would have saved this movie.

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