This evergreen all-rounder made his Le Mans debut in a Daytona but has mixed feelings about its worth as a racing car…
“I first drove the JCB Daytona in the 1973 Le Mans four-hour race, sharing with Neil Corner. Earlier on I’d tested the car at Monza and almost wrote it off after I’d committed myself to a fast left-hander only to discover a Ford Escort’s exhaust system – from the manifold back – lying on the racing line. Smack! The Daytona was a heavy old thing – very much a road car, so quite physical. Actually it was hard work. We’d been fortunate to start the four-hour race as the clutch had disintegrated big time in practice. It was only after I’d bribed a factory Ferrari mechanic to change it that we were able to get going. He did it – including taking out the gearbox – in 50 minutes and we finished the race [in sixth overall].
“I did the main 24 Hours that year, again with Neil, and remember the car suffering from a stability issue. In profile, air would go over the roof and curl downwards underneath the tail, lifting it off the ground. I recall the Pozzi entry having a huge aerofoil slung under the axle line to get some downforce. What was amazing, where the Daytona excelled, was how it behaved under braking. We could outbrake Chevrons and the like. Unfortunately we were out past half-distance when the gearbox caught fire.
“My abiding memory, though, is of the support race. It was for historic cars and I was driving a Jaguar D-type. It was quick enough to qualify for the 24 Hours and, with the right tyres, it would probably have been right up there with the Daytona.”