Surtees/Parkes win for Ferrari
Monza, Italy, April 25th
The 1,000-kilometre race at Monza on Monday, April 25th, a national holiday, provided Ferrari with a hollow victory, rather like that of Ford’s at Daytona, for there was no serious opposition to the works-entered 4-litre V12-cylinder four-overhead-camshaft 330P/3 with new coupe bodywork. There was no car in the entry of 40 that was any challenge, nor was there any driver capable of challenging John Surtees. The Ferrari number one driver was having his first race since his crash last autumn, and he proved that he was not only fit, but right back on form, by driving 500 of the 1,000 kilometres and making fastest lap. Michael Parkes shared the car with Surtees and did his 500-kilometre stint at undiminished pace, driver changes and refuelling being made approximately every 25 laps of the total of 100.
Rain fell throughout the day and the winning Ferrari had its windscreen wiper fail shortly after Parkes took over at the first stop, but he soon got accustomed to driving without a wiper, The very sloping and curved windscreen assisting greatly in getting rid of the rain and spray. This happened on lap 30 and the car did the remaining 70 without a wiper. At one point during Surtees’ second spell at the wheel the Ferrari showed signs of getting waterlogged in the engine compartment and though it did not lose any speed it did not sound so crisp; luckily things dried out a bit and it finished the I.000 kilometres as healthy as when it started.
There were four Dino 206 Ferraris entered, competing directly against the Porsche Carrera 6 cars of Stuttgart, as the German cars were not due to be homologated as Group 4 sports cars until May 1st. All four Dinos were using production-type V6 four-camshaft engines, built by Ferrari but similar to the engine that Fiat intend to put into production. The Bandinii/Scarfiotti car was a coupe, like the 330P/3, and also like its big brother it was using Lucas fuel injection. The other Dinos were using Weber carburetters and during the Sunday practice Bondurant left the road at the Curva Grande and wrecked the car he should have shared with Vaccarella, so the Sicilian was transferred to a 275LM Ferrari with Carlo Facetti, and Bondurant was stood down. The private Dino Ferraris of Maranello Concessionaires and Scuderia Sant Ambroues were driven, respectively, by Piper/Attwood and Biscaldi/Casoni, but during the race all three 2-litre Ferraris were delayed by windscreen-wiper trouble, while the last-named pair retired with gearbox trouble. The expected Porsche versus Dino Ferrari battle did not materialise and though Colin Davis had a slight accident on the opening lap and stopped at the pits to make sure all was well, the other works car driven by Mitter/Herrmann had no trouble and was a challenge to all but the leading Ferrari.
It was hoped that Ford would send some opposition for Ferrari, but the only American challengers were production 4.7-litre GT40 models, and they cannot match the Prototype Ferrari. Ireland drove the light blue car of F. English Ltd., the Bournemouth Ford dealers, until it went out with a serious oil leak, so that his co-driver Amon did not get a drive, and the two white and red cars of the Essex Wire Team ran in formation for a time but eventually the Revson/Scott car ran out of fuel, and the Whitmore/Gregory car continued to run well, but was no match tor the leading Ferrari. The Filipinetti Ford GT40, driven by Muller/Mairesse, ran very consistently, going noticeably faster when Mairesse took over, and the Ford France car of Ligier/Greder was reliable, if not fast. The dark green Ford of Nick Cussons was driven well by English clubmen Brian Redman/Richard Bond, who were in their first big International event and did nothing to let the side down; quite the opposite, in fact, they made a good impression.
Among the small cars the prototype Renault-Alpine of Mauro Bianchi/Grandsire went very fast in practice but its starter failed to operate on the “dummy grid” and it was last away. After Bianchi had forced his way up to 26th position, out of 40 runners, the engine broke, and the second car, driven by Vinatier/de Lageneste could not deal with the Abarth opposition. The interesting Matra-B.R.M. 2-litre made its first race appearance in the hands of two young French Formula Three drivers, but they were not fast enough to do it justice, and there were numerous other entries that are best not mentioned.
Considering the appalling weather conditions, everyone seemed to drive with great circumspection and “incidents” were few. The speed on the banked part of the track was cut down by the introduction of chicanes at the beginning of each banking. These were new tarmac roads built in the infield, forcing cars down to bottom gear in order to negotiate the right-left-left-right corners. before starting each banking. Even so the Ferrari P3 and the Fords must have been reaching 160 m.p.h. past the grandstands after their “standing start” blind round the south banking, and a very impressive sight they made, with water and spray streaming out behind the fat rear tyres. While not being an exciting race to watch it was doubtless an exciting race for the drivers, especially during the closing stages as early darkness began to fall and headlights were used to penetrate the gloom, while Parkes and Surtees must have had some hair-raising moments passing other cars without a windscreen wiper. It was a fine opportunity for John Suttees to prove that his accident of last autumn has left him with no after effects, even if he didn’t drive the whole 1,000 kilometres. as some daily paper reporters seemed to think, and it showed that the 1966 Prototype Ferrari is a force to be reckoned with.—D.S.J.