It was the 50th anniversary of the last remaining road race in the classic connotation - cars roaring through narrow village streets bordered on both sides by houses; then out onto the public roadways lined by eager enthusiasts, to come charging into the next town amidst cheers from the balconies.

Snaking its 44.7 mile way through the Sicilian hills from Cerda to Caltavuturo, Scillato, Coltesano and Campofelice, then back again to Cerda and the start-finish line, the "Little" Madonie Circuit is a monument to the heroic days of motor racing. Commemorating this jubilee, a group of old cars, veterans of previous Targa Florio events, drove around the longer, 91.9 mile mountain course of historic significance, previous to the Friday's official practice session.

Over the past years the Targa has become a traditional battle between Porsche and Ferrari; the lighter, smaller German cars often having the advantage over the bigger Italian machines.

This time, however, the Modenese firm decided to leave no opportunity untried, entering two 2-litre Dino 206S machines along with the Vaccarella-Bandini 330 P3 4-litre prototype. A third Dino ran under the colours of Scuderia Sant Ambroeus, but was factory-supported. It looked as though Ferrari was still sorting out the Dino, for each of the three had a different mechanical specification.

Among the factory cars, Parkes-Scarfiotti drove a fuel-injection, dual-ignition roadster while Guichet-Baghetti had a coupe with normal carburetion but also utilizing dual ignition. The semi-private entry of Biscaldi-Casoni was a roadster with single-ignition and carburetters. It used Firestone tyres.

Among the usual private Ferrari entries two were especially interesting: an LM and a GTB whose 3.3-litre powerplants had been replaced by 4-litre sohc V12 production units. These were piloted by Nicodemi-Lessona (LM) and Conti-Ventura (GTB), entered as prototypes in the category over 2,000 cc.

Facing the red Ferraris was a well prepared squad from Stuttgart. Since fifty Carrera 6s had been built, that type was now homologated as a production sports car. As a result, Porsche fielded three modified versions running as prototypes. Davis-Klass had a flat-8 engine enlarged to 2.2 litres and fitted into a production-bodied Carrera, while the two cars of Herrmann/Glemser and Bonnier/Mitter used Bosch indirect fuel injection, the charge being injected into the ports of the Carrera 6 unit. Two further, factory-prepared Carrera 6s were driven in the sports category by Pucci-Arena and, under the aegis of the Swiss Scuderia Filipinetti, by Mairesse/Muller. Five privately-entered Carrera 6s completed the Porsche picture in the sports class while two 911 s ran in GT, facing two BMC team MGBs.

A Ford Mk. II challenge didn't materialize as the nature of the narrow, twisting circuit wasn't very suitable to the great power and breadth of the big cars. They were being saved for Le Mans. The Ligier-Greder Ford France-entered GT 40 and the Settember-Freutel 7-litre Cobra were the only Ford products in the event.

Lancia Fulvia Coupes were in preponderance in the smaller GT class and last year's BMC-entered 1,300 cc Austin-Healey Sprite was rebodied as a coupe and once again painted brilliant green. It was driven by Aaltonen-Bakerwith another old "Monte" hand, Makinen, sharing the wheel of one of the team MGBs with Rhodes. Alfa-Romeo TZ 2s were in great evidence in the sports class and one of the most interesting highlights was the drive from Paris of the four production Alpine coupes, two from the Regie Renault and two from Alpine. They raced on ahead of the cars carrying the equipment, then would wait for them to catch up en route! Since the Prototype category was divided into just two classes: up to, and over 2,000 cc, Abarth didn't field any of their very rapid 1.3 litre prototypes but were well represented privately. Two ASAs and a Bizzarrini were also entered. The official practice session was disconcerting to Vaccarella's Sicilian fans, for Klass put up a better time in the Porsche 2.2-litre than local hero Vaccarella in the 330 P3. Parkes was going well in the Dino roadster but left the road, damaging the bodywork and front suspension. However, it was repaired that same day.

The dark clouds which had appeared menacing on Saturday afternoon fulfilled their promise, a heavy rain falling on the island till well past midnight.

Though it was dry for the 8.00 a.m. start on the Sunday, the rain clouds hadn't dissipated as the cars were dispatched with 20 second intervals between each. The Garafalo-Randazzo Fulvia was the first away of the 70-car field with Vaccarella roaring off the line as last, in the 330 P3.

The tension could be felt in the air on that first of the ten circuits and when the dull thud of the gun announced the arrival of the first car, all eyes were riveted on the road-it was the Lancia Fulvia HF of Cella-Marzi, Leo Cella having passed the eight cars which had started ahead of him to take 1st on the road. Checking the stop watches after that opening lap showed Vaccarella's P3 actually leading the race on elapsed time with Mitter's 6-cylinder Porsche 3 seconds behind, followed by Scarfiotti's Dino, the Mairesse Carrera 6, Klass' 8-cylinder Porsche, Guichet's Dino coupe, the two Carrera 6s of Herrmann and Arena, and Biscaldi with the third Ferrari Dino.

By lap 2, Mitter had put the fuelinjected Carrera 6 into the lead, 21 seconds ahead of the P3, and Klass took the 8-cylinder Porsche prototype past Mairesse and Scarfiotti, placing it 3rd behind the leaders. Behind the cars fighting for the overall lead, old rallye hand Makinen drove his MGB spectacularly, clearly outdistancing team-mate Hedges, and the Ford France GT 40 was steadily moving up, position after position. The Cella-Marzi Fulvia HF was well ahead in its class, both on the road as well as on actual time and the Alpines ran very consistently. Rain had been falling on various portions of the course, making the surface treacherous, and just before 10:30 a deluge inundated the major portion of the circuit, causing the drivers to switch their lights on.

The Porsches were going extremely well in the rain, with Mitter still leading the P3 on the 3rd lap. The 8-cylinder Porsche stopped to refuel at Bivio Polizzi, causing it to lose two positions by the end of the lap, but as the other cars pulled into the main pits to refuel, the Porsche sailed serenely into the lead on lap 4.

The Fulvia HF of Cella-Marzi had developed a leaking tank and was forced to make additional refueling stops, as was the case with the Parkes-Scarfiotti Dino. The weather cleared briefly by half distance and the P3 stormed into the lead again on lap 5. The Dinos were troubled by their windscreen wipers in the rain, which commenced again, and on lap 6 Parkes, who had held 4th place, limped into the pits to retire, the rear of his Dino battered when spilled fuel caused him to go off the road. The 8 cylinder Porsche again led the Ferrari P3, with the Bonnier/Mitter and Mairesse/Muller Porsches in 3rd and 4th. The fuelinjection Porsche of Herrmann/Glemser crashed and on the 7th lap, Bandini, now driving the P3 went sliding off the road in inverted position after mistaking the no passing sign given by a private Ferrari driver as indicating the opposite. Mitter caught up with team-mate Klass on that same lap and as both Porsche drivers were disregarding the "Slow" pit signals as it was, Mitter attempted to pass but Klass didn't see him and Mitter demolished the second fuel injection prototype, Klass retiring the leading 8-cylinder on the next lap when a weld came un-done on the rear suspension.

The three leaders had all been eliminated within two laps! All Porsche hopes were now focused on the Scuderia Filipinetti production Carrera 6 of Mairesse/Muller which went on to win, with the Porsches of Pucci-Arena and Bourillot-Maglioli 3rd and 5th. Sandwiched between them were the Guichet-Baghetti Dino, 2nd overall and winner of the Prototype Class, and the 4th place Pinto-Todaro Alfa TZ 2. With 6 wins, Porsche had tied Ferrari.

Author: ArchitectPage

Targa Florio Race 1966