The 1000Kms of Monza

This year the 1,000-kilometre race at Monza looked as though it was going to be a simple question of the Ferrari team drivers tossing a coin to see who was going to win, as the Ford team did not enter, but at the last moment Chaparral entered one car and kept the Ferrari team on their toes. There were two P4s from the factory driven by Parkes/Scarfiotti and Bandini/Amon, two P3 coupes, one driven by Muller/Vaccarella for the Filipinetti team and the other by Rodriguez/Guichet for N.A.R.T. Opposing these red cars were the two Ford Mirages. The lone Chaparral 2F coupe, with aerodynamic “wing” over the tail, was driven by Phil Hill/Spence, making fastest practice lap in 2min 53.8sec. against Ferrari’s best by Bandini in 2min 54.1sec. In the sports category there was a straight fight between numerous GT40 Fords and LM Ferraris, and the 2-litre class was an all-Porsche affair.

Really it was a three car race, the two P4s against the Chaparral. Bandini, Parkes and Spence led off at a furious pace from the start with the Chaparral in the lead, its Chevrolet V8 engine making a low rumbling noise in direct contrast to the high pitched scream from the 12-cylinder Ferraris. For lap after lap Bandini and Spence were wheel to wheel, sometimes side-by-side and always with Parkes just behind them. Spence recorded a new fastest lap in 2min 57.8sec but the works Ferraris were equally fast. Piper had a long pit-stop with one of the Mirages, the Drury/Oliver Ford GT40 was retired, and an Italian-driven 904 Porsche GTS wrote itself off at the South Comer.

Bandini was now beginning to monopolise the lead but the Chaparral was never far away, although Parkes was beginning to worry it, and while the big Ferraris were dealing with their opposition, the little Dino was over heating and had to give up, letting the Porsches command the 2-litre class.

Just before one hour of racing Parkes took second from the Chaparral as Spence was beginning to feel a vibration from the rear. On the seventeenth lap he stopped to investigate. By coincidence a rear tyre was losing air, so he had another fitted and went back in the race, but the vibration remained, and at the next stop a fault was found in one of the drive shafts so the car had to be retired. This left the Ferraris in full command of the race and at 25 laps, or quarter distance, Bandini was driving the leading car while Scarfiotti had taken over from Parkes in the second place car. With 4-litre Ferraris 1-2-3-4 the crowd of 60,000 was more than happy.

Schlesser had now got the French Ford GT40 ahead of all the Porsches, who were no longer bothered by the works Dino Ferrari and could case off. At the height of the battle the race average had been well over 200k.p.h. but now dropped back to 199k.p.h., and the two factory P4s were out on their own. However, the Ferrari plans were disturbed when Scarfiotti came into the pits off-schedule as it seemed to be running out of fuel. The last quarter of the tank was not being picked up. This stop let Rodriguez catch up challenge the works car forcibly. Parkes and Rodriguez were now side by side and, sure enough, during the 47th lap Rodriguez tried to out-brake Parkes going into the North chicane and went straight on into the barriers and bent the front of the Ferrari pretty badly, so now the two works cars could relax.

Apart from the fact that the Parkes/Scarfiotti car had to refuel more often than intended, the two Ferraris had only to complete the distance. For an hour everything ran smoothly, but then Vaccarella had a lurid spin, clouting the front and rear of the Ferrari and breaking a wheel and bursting a tyre. He limped back to pits, a new wheel was fitted and the bodywork hammered and he rejoined the race.

At 70 laps Bandini was still in the leading Ferrari, and he was now touring at an average of 197kph. The number two car was two minutes behind in second place, due to its extra refueling stops, and three laps behind came the two works Porsches, followed by the Schlesser/Ligier Ford GT40 and the Vaccarella Ferrari. For the closing phase of this endurance race Amon took over the leading Ferrari and Scarfiotti the second car, and all seemed set for the two works Porsches to follow them home. But with only three laps to go the 910 Porsche driven by Siffert broke its front suspension and the steering became extremely vague, but the Swiss driver struggled on.

Meanwhile the Filipinetti Ferrari of Vaccarella/Muller had passed the Schlesser/Ligier Ford and was catching the sick Porsche. The triumphant Bandini/Amon Ferrari finished the lace, to the delight of the Ferrari following among the crowd. It was nearly a lap ahead of its team-mate, due to its extra refueling stops, and the healthy Porsche of Rindt/Mitter finished third, four laps down. As Siffert came limping along the final straight, the Filipinetti Ferrari came screaming off the banking and passed the Porsche to take fourth in sight of the flag. This was some small consolation for the Swiss team as shortly before this their GT40 Ford had left the pits on seven cylinders, a fire started in the carburettors and the whole car went up in flames and was gutted before the fire-brigade arrived. Fortunately there was no injury, but the car was written-off. Once again Ferrari was victorious in a long distance race, the 1967 Ferrari P4 cars showing a useful improvement over last year’s P3 cars, though the challenge from America is still strong and while Ferrari is quite competent to do battle against Ford and General Motors he would no doubt welcome some help from other European manufacturers in this Europe-versus-U.S.A. battle.