1969 SPORTSCAR RACES

1969 DAYTONA 24 Hour

LOLAS' DAY' IN FLORIDA

Porsche and Ford teams collapse - Mark Donohue/Chuck Parsons survive after 80 mins in pits to gain Lolas' first long-distance win TransAm Firebird third overall behind AIR Lola

E Roger Penske-entered, Sunoco-backed Lola-Chevrolet 1'70 Mk 3B of Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons won last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours, the first round in the 1969 FIA Manufacturers World Championship. After being delayed 'by continual stops for fuel, and later by repairs to the exhaust manifold, the Penske Lola bided its time, and then as a total of seven Fords and porsches fell out, the superbly prepared blue car moved up to take the lead a few hours before the end and win by 30 laps from the similar but older car of Lothar Motschenbacher/Ed Leslie, entered by James Garner's American International Racing.

The Porsche team were first delayed by split exhaust manifolds which filled the cockpits with fumes; then one by one the cars fell by the wayside with broken intermediate shafts to the camshaft gear. JW Automotive, with only two entries, fared no better, both cars retiring after taking the lead, and leaving a clear run to the Lola.

Once again the TransAm cars did well, especially the Ward/Titus 5-litre Pontiac Firebird, which finished third overall, one place higher than Titus finished last year. The GT category went to the Porsche 911T of Bruce Jennings/Herb Wetson/Tony Adamowicz in fourth place overall, and the 2-litre TransAm class to Bert Everett/Alan Johnson (Porsche 911). The works Lancia Fulvia HF Zegato of Maglioli/Pinto actually won the Group 6 category, finishing 11th overall! Certainly it was a most surprising way to start the year's Manufacturers Championship.

Entry

ANY hope of a really good entry for the opening round' of the 1969 FIA Championship was scotched once the full list was known. Daytona always suffers this way, being too early in the season to allow for many new cars, and an expensive race to compete in for most European teams.

Last year Porsche were the victors with their 2.2-litre 907s. This year they returned with no fewer than five 3-litre long-tailed cars, under the new race direction of Rico Steinemann. They differed little if at all from those seen throughout 1968, save that they used five-speed boxes instead of six-speeders for this fast circuit. They all had fins on the tails, crossed by an aerodynamic bracing.

There were some new faces in the German cars, with three British drivers, five Germans, one Swiss and the American Joe Buzzetta. The final pairings were Jo Siffert/ Hans Herrmann, Dickie Attwood / Joe Buzzetta, Vic Elford/ Brian Redman, Gerhard Mitter JUdo Schutz and Rolf Stommelen/Kurt Ahrens. Redman's right arm was a lot better, but he still drove with a plaster, as the bottom of one bone still remains parted from his wrist.

Matra Sports were the only other team to enter a true 3-litre prototype, with one "new" M630 (chassis No 4) for Johnny Servoz Gavin/Henri Pescarolo. This was little changed from the 1968 car, but was 90 ,kilos lighter, and had the oil radiators moved from behind the driver to the front. The only other over 2-litre prototype was Spaniard Alex Soler Roig's 2.2 Porsche 907 for himself and Austrian Rudi Lins; this car was very much under the wing of Steinemann.

The 2-litre prototype section had a mixed collection of vehicles. The only Alfa-Rome entered was a private ex-Autodelta T33 Series 2 for the Peruvian pair Mario Calabattisti and Eduardo Dibos from Lima. The North American Racing Team had the same now rather elderly closed Ferrari Dino 206S that had retired very early last year, and this was again driven by veteran American Charles Kolb with the assistance of Italian Giampiero Biscaldi of Alfa fame.

The remaining prototypes were all heavily under-powered for this sort of race, and were relying on durability rather than outright speed to get them through 24 hours. Lancia.had entered a single Zagato-bodied Fulvia with the new 1600 cc rally engine and five speed box for Claudio Maglioli/Rafaelle Pinto, and this car was running under banner of Lancia agents Algar Enterprises together with the standard-bodied 1600 HF of Bruce Hollander /Bob Clark/Wayne Marsula. Then there was a 1967 ex-works Le Mans Austin-Healey Sprite for owner Jim Baker and co-drivers Paul Richards and Clive Baker-this well prepared car has seen a lot of service on both sides of the Atlantic-and a dull but pretty little Volkswagen 1600 cc Zink Special with open body similar 'to an Elva Mk 7, driven by Jim McDaniel/Steve Peiper, the latter winning the 250 mile World Championship Formula Vee race on Friday with another Zink.

The Group 4 entry was dominated by JW Automotive Ford GT40s and Lola nos. JW actually brought three cars, but only two were GT40s: the third car was the long awaited Group 6 3-litre Mirage-BRM prototype ,which David Hobbs gave a full working-out programme the week before, lapping consistentIy in the I m 54 s bracket, but it was put away for race week. JW's brace of lightweight GT40s had little that we have not seen before. A "new" car was handled by Jacky Ickx and Jack Oliver with Ickx's 1968 car for David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood. All had 5-litre engines' and Gurney heads, and were as usual immaculately turn­ed out in the colours of their sponsors Gulf Petroleum. A third GT40 (chassis No 103) was privately entered by American Airlines engineer and veteran driver Bill Wonder of New York for himself and Ray Cuomo; this car had not raced since Watkins Glen, but now has all the goodies-5-litre engine, Gurney heads and big brakes.

There were four Lolas in all, and there might have been five had Sid Taylor been able to come to terms with the organisers over travelling expenses. Two of the four were completely new 1969 cars, neither of which had turned a wheel in anger before Daytona. Most attention was centred around the Roger Penske Racing entry, sponsored by Sunoco. This car was a joy to behold, so magnificently was it prepared. Although not yet raced, it arrived with an average of 18 man hours a day in preparation since its shipment from Lolas a month ago, and was gleaming in deep royal blue with gold lines. Penske used the usual 5-litre Chevrolet engine, built by Traco for long-distance rac­ing using fuel injection. Drivers were Mark Donohue and Ronnie Bucknum. The othef new Lola no was entered by Sportscars Unlimited for Jo Bonnier and Ulf Norinder. Both Bonnier and Norinder have ordered cars, but this one was Norinder's as Jo's is still being built. They also brought a spare (Norinder's .1968 car) which was used as a stock of spares rather than a race car. This car ran on carbs with Traco engine and wet sump lubrication.

The two older Lola nos were both entered by film-star James Gamer's American International Racing, and had not been seen since Sebring last year. Like the two newer cars, they had Traco-Chevrolet engines, running on carbs with wet sump lubrication. Drivers were Scooter Patrick/Ed Leslie 'and Dave Jordan/Lothar Motschenbacher. The second car had suffered a mild fire while practising the week before.                                                '

There was only one Ferrari 275LM this year, and this was the old Ecuadorian one that John Gunn drove so well last year. This time it was again driven by Fausto Merello, with the assistance of Umberto Maglioli and Eddie Alvarez, and entered by Raceco of Miami. The remaining Group 4 cars were all in the 2.litre category, and consisted of Sportscars'

Unlimited's second entry, a 2-litre 1967 Porsche 910 for Masten Gregory/Richard Brostrom, and the Canadian-entered Carrera 6 for Rainier Brezinka/Fritz Hockreuter /Horst Peterman/Rudy Bartling. Chevron's Derek Bennett flew out to Florida to help run Raceco's privately-entered 1968 Chevron-BMW B8 which had been entered for Bob Beatty / John Gunn/Hugh Kleinpeter. This car was originally built for Charles Bridges to take to South Africa, but never actually went, and had a 197 bhp engine tweaked by Weslake.

Finally, George Waltman drove all the way down from New York on the road with an old 1962 OSCA-Maserati GTI, a pretty but slow 1600 cc ohc car with body by Zagato which had apparently run at Le Mans in years gone by.

The Group 3 GT category was clearly an all-American affair, and here the most interesting cars in the paddock were the two typcally Yankie Owens-Corning Fibreglass entered 7-litre Chevrolet Corvette 'Stingrays from Toledo, Ohio. The cars were basically the same as in 1968, drivers Tony DeLorenzo and Gerry Thompson having dug out Owens Corning to replace Sunray Oil, who have pulled out of racing for the time being due to their merger with the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) who are of course fully committed to sponsoring Roger Penske. The two Corvettes have 1.5 ins wider wheels this year in an attempt to put more ruuber on the road, and weigh in at 2950 Ibs, which is still a bit on the heavy side, as they are homologated 300 lbs lighter. Drivers DeLorenzo and Thompson were joined by sedan pilots Dick Lang and Jim Harrell. Robert Esseks/Frank Domini­anni/Ed Lowther were entered in another 7 litre Corvette, and there were two older 327 CI cars.

Main opposition to the Corvettes was supplied by a lightweight Ferrari 275GTB/4 entered by NART for CanAm driver Sam Posey and one Ricardo Rodriguez of Mexico, who is no relation to Pedro or his late brother. The GTB/4 had run well at Watkins Glen last year. The remainder of the GT category consisted of several Porsche 911 Ts and MGBs, plus examples of E-type, TR4, Alfa-Romeo Giulia SS, Triumph GT6 and Lancia Fulvia HF-a very mixed bag indeed.

The Porsche 911Ts were driven by Bruce Jennings/Herb Watson/Tony Adamowicz, Andre Wicky/Sylvain Garant, and the Canadian trio Jacques Duval/George Nicholas/Andy Sampson. This year the TransAm category was not included in the national championship, which had the effect of eliminating any spectacular cars such as the Shelby Mustangs and Penske Camaro of last year. However, Camaros dominated the over 2-litre entry with at least 12 cars; there were also a few Mercury Cougars, a Mustang and a Dart. Porsche 911s swamped the 2-litre section with intervention from a desperately slow Volvo and an Alfa GTA. A Pontiac Firebird was also entered for Jerry Titus and Jon Ward-Titus had finished fourth overall last vear in the 24-Hours.

Once again Bill France was obliged to accept the TransAm cars to make up the field, but the presence of some of the slower cars, both in the TransAm and small GT classes, was most shortsighted, and more than one serious competitor was roughly handled by these cars. Gordon Cooper, the American astronaut, who has had some limited competition experience, was scheduled to drive a Cougar in the TransAm class, but NASER stepped in with an ultimatum of "Race or Space, Mr Cooper," and he was not seen.

Practice

TRAINING was a drawn-out affair, starting on Wednesday but not getting very serious until official practice on Friday. The Porsche team experienced some. early trouble 10 the handling department, the cars being particularly skittish on the bankings. Tweaking tyre pressures, roll bars and spring rates soon cured this, and by the time the quintet rolled out on Friday Steinemann was satisfied that the cars were completely competitive. His point was soon proven, with drivers times ranging between I m 52 s and I m 55 s, compa red to Siffert's best time in practice for the 1968 race of I m 57.31 s with a 2.2-litre car.

The two new Lola T70 Mk 3Bs were quite a lot quicker than their older counterparts from AIR, but the Bonnier /Norinder car suffered considerable teething troubles which kept them from getting in any continuous lappery. However, Penske's car was in magnificent form, slipping in and out of the pits, dropping in the odd quick one here and there, and generally fooling the opposition. Donohue's scheduled co-driver Ronnie Bucknum was in difficulty as he had injured a finger in a motor cycle spill, and before practice ended CanAm veteran Chuck Parsons had appeared to take over.

Both JW GT40s clcarly lacked steam, Ickx only just managing to better his 1968 practice time with the new car. The little Belgian was not particularly happy with his car, complaining of poor handling and lack of power, while Oliver was given little chance to settle into the car. The two AIR Lola T70s burbled round fairly satisfactorily, although both were now fairly dated cars. Alex Soler-Roig, driving the short tailed 2.2-litre ex-factory 907, went extremely well. as did his codriver Rudi Lins. They lapped in 2 m 0.8 s, just over 2!- secs slower than the best works 907 time III practice last year. Among the GT cars, only the' two brutish Corvette Stingrays of DeLorenzo / Lang and Thompson/ Harrell showed any real form. DeLorenzo getting round in 2 m 3.2 and Thompson in 2 m 4.8 s, with the G4 Porsche 910 of Gregory / Brostrom in between them at 2 m 4.7 s. There were no eompetitive 2-litre prototype times, now' the Porsche 910 homologated as a Group 4 car, but the NART Dino 206S and the Peruvian Alfa T33 were running each other pretty close with times of 2 m 8.4 sand 2 m 9.6 s. The Chevron of Beatty/Kleinpeter/Gunn did 2 m 13.8 s.

The TransAm competition was four-sided, with the Camaro of Rusty Jowett and Craig Fisher at 2 m 7.8 s, the Pontiac Firebird of Jon WardfJerry Titus on 2 m 7.2 s, the Camaro of Don Yenko/Dick Guldstrand doing 2 m 9.6 s and the Bob Grossmann/Bob Dini Camaro 2 m 10.5 s. Donohue wasn't giving away a thing, and under the clever direction of Roger Penske his quickest time remained a mystery until after practice. when he was posted at 1 m 52.7 s (121.704 mph). The Lola's time was good enough to head all but one of the 9085 -Elford's, for the' experienced Englishman just pipped the big Anglo-American car by half a second, giving him a top qualifying time of I m 52.2 s (122.246 mph). Two more 908s' followed, Siffert qualifying his car in I m 53.4 s, and the Stommelen/ Ahrens car posting I m 53.9 s. Bonnier showed the sort of form he was to produce in the early stages of the race itself by getting in a snappy I m 54 s, followed by the other two 908s of Attwood/ Buzzetta (I m 54.4 s) and Mitter / Schutz (I m 54.4 s). lckx nearly equalled the slower 908s with I m 54.5 s, and Hobbs was marginally quicker than Hailwood with I m 55.3 s.

Late in practice Henri Pescarolo flipped the Matra in front of the pits when the car got out of control. He rolled it spectacularly, also hitting a Porsche 911, but stepped out unhurt, but the car was too badly damaged to be straightened for the race.

Race

THE beautiful hot Florida weather that had lasted throughout practice showed signs of breaking up on Saturday, but by the time of 3 pm start drew near the clouds had drifed away and the sky was a brilliant blue again.

A spectator attendance that would hardly have done justice to Lydden Hill on a wet Sunday trickled quietly into the circuit as the 62 starters were lined up in two-by-two formation in front of the pits for the rolling start. Missing were the unlucky Matra, the Wonder/Cuomo GT40 which had not qualified in practice duc to having wrong exhaust gaskets, the Dodge Dart and a Camaro.

At a few minutes past 3 pm the long column headed slowly away, prayers for the safety of the drivers having been said in typically southern fashion. They completed one and a half laps and then, as the Camaro pace car gathered speed down the back straight, it dived down the slip road and the race was on.

Elford made the initial running, with Siffert and Donohue close behind, the Jeading ninc cars (five Porsches, two Lolas and two Ford), pulling away at once trom the rest of the field led bv Scooter Patrick in one of the AIR Lola T70s. Within two laps the leaders were already gobbling up the slow cars, some of which blocked badly and by five laps the Fords of Ickx and Hobbs were showing signs of dropping back to leave the initial sprint as a contest between the 908s and the Lolas of Donohue and Bonnier. Siffert led for most of the first ten laps, with constant intervention by Elford and at times by Donohue, and at ten laps the order was SitTert, Donohue, Elford, Bonnier, Attwood, Schutz, Stommelen, Ickx, Hobbs, Patrick, Soler-Roig, Gregory, Thompson, Delorenzo, Leslie and the rest.

One car failed to start, Waltman's OSCA, which couldn't make the second pace lap. By the 16th lap Jo Bonnier had begun to put on the pressure, and at 20 laps Elford led from Bonnier, Siffert, Donohue, Attwood, Schutz, Stommelen, Ickx and Hobbs. All the others had been lapped once or more alread" led by Patrick and leslie from Gregorv's 2-litre 910 and Alex Soler-Roig in the slightly larger 907: the two private Porsches enjoying a good scrap, as was the Dino with the Alfa ,T33. Early on Deloremo blew a tyre on the East Banking and came in with a damaged fuel pump; after stopping at the pits the car caught fire but this was put out and the car retired immediately- exit the first Corvette. The Chevron got pushed off, spun, and continued.

After one hour's racing both the Mk 3B Lolas had dropped back, and Porsche were holding the first five places in the order Elford. SifTert, Attwood; Schutz, StommeJen, with the first two pulling smartly away from the others and Attwood in turn leaving the two Germans: Elford's average was over 116 mph. Donohue was finding his petrol consumption unduly high due to problems over pick-up from the tanks, and he soon fell from the leader board after making the first of many stops. This put Dnnohue into seventh place between the two Fords, with the AIR Lolas in ninth and tenth spots. The other fast Lola of Bonnicr got wedged in between two slower cars, sustaining damage on both sides, and called in to have the car checked on several occasions. Later Ulf Norinder took the car over, but received the same treatment from another competitor, this time against one of the walls on the banking, and came in with a badly damaged off-side rear, including damaged upright, suspension, wheel and drive-shaft. The carl spent a long time in the pits and was eventually wheeled away looking very second-hand.

Elford still led after 60 laps and the order of Porsches behind was the same, save that Donohue had worked his way back up again between Schutz and Stommelen, thanks to an electric 23 second stop to re-tank. The Fords followed, looking a bit breathless, but biding their time, and Patrick came next, but Leslie had fallen back after repairs to a broken throttle spring. The first driver changes were now in full swing.

At approximately 5.53 pm Porsche started their long saga of trouble: Redman arrived in the pits very groggy from an excess of fumes in the cockpit and overshot. He was helped out, while mechanics changed a split exhaust manifold. This put Siffert into the lead from Buzzetta and Ahrens, with Donohue next and keeping up well, then Ickx/ Oliver, who had made up some ground and were fifth ahead of Schutz/ Mitter. Patrick was eighth trailing the Hobbs/ Hailwood GT40 and the 907 of Lins. The Carrera 6 was chucking out its oil and pitted. There were already several retirements, among them the Ecuadorian Ferrari 275lM with gearbox trouble when Magliofi was driving. Next in with manifold trouble was Stommelen at 6.15 pm, and then Siffert at 7.05 pm with a split silencer this time. Porsche were clearly in trouble with these untested manifolds, but Attwood's car was going well at this stage, and he moved into the lead with Joe Buzzetta, two laps to the good on Donohue and his replacement codriver Chuck Parsons, Punctures were becoming commonplace, and Ickx was one of the first to suffer, dropping behind Schutz/Mitter and SoJer-Roig/Lins, as well as his own team-mates Hobbs/Hailwood, who now moved up into second place.

About this time the 3.8-litre E-type of Richard Robson/Rajah Rodgers blew -up in a big way, blinding Mario Calabattisti who was driving the single Alfa T33. Calabattisti braked hard, and local driver Peter Gregg flew right over the top of the red car in his TransAm Porsche 911, while Rudi Lins came piling in from behind in the 907. The Alfa turned over, pinning Calabattisti beneath it, while the two Porsches were too damaged to continue. The Peruvian was quickly removed from the total wreck of his Alfa, and was later stated to have a sprained wrist, cuts, lacerations and other minor injuries. Later he was released from hospital, and returned painfully to the circuit! Strangely enough, this accident happened at about the same time and place as that big shunt of 1968 that eliminated Gregory, Mitter and Spoerry.

At five hours Attwood was still untroubled by the manifold gremlin and led by a lap from the No 2 GT40 with which Hailwood was doing some splendid work. Schutz and Mitter had also been troubled by the fumes caused by the manifold on his car, but a vent had been opened in the rear screen and he reported feeling fine. This car was third, followed by the Ickx/Oliver GT40 and the Donohue/Parsons Lola, which was suffering from all the pit stops it was having to make for fuel (about every 20 to 21 laps at this stage) and fluctuating in its. position. The three Porsches that had required work on their exhausts were all five or more laps down, with Patrick in among them with the best-placed AIR Lola, the other having suffered its second broken throttle spring, to Ed Leslie's disgust! The - race average had settled down to 113.5 mph as the night set in and the lights blazed their way round.

The sixth hour showed several more retirements, including the leading TransAm Camaro of Jowett/Fisher after 44 laps. Mitter/Schutz were swapping second place furiously with the No 2 GT40, emulated by the Penske car and the No I GT40 behind that. The three other Porsches and the Patrick/Jordan Lola T70 were still all within two laps of each other, followed by the Stingray of Thompson/Harleli, now also driven by Tony DeLorenzo and going very well. The other AIR Lola followed, then the Ward/Titus Pontiac Firebird which was now leading the TransAm class overall by two laps from Bert Everett and Alan Johnson (Porsche 911). The exworks 1300 cc Sprite of Baker /Richards/ Baker and the slightly larger 1600 cc Lancia Fulvia Zagato of Claudio Maglioli/Pinto were both going great guns. The Chevron-BMW B8 of Kleinpeter/Gunn/Beatty was going well, but the Dino Ferrari was in trouble with over­heating and loss of power and the Pickering/ Cline Triumph GT6 was in and out of the pits. .

At 200 laps No 51 Porsche (Attwood/Buzzetta) had two laps lead over Hobbs and Hailwood, who had just one lap on the third place Porsche behind them. Although nothing like as fast as the Porsches or Lolas, the two GT40s were improving all the time as they got into their stride, but so was the Lola, and the big blue car's fuel consumption was beginning to improve. It was now fO\lrth, two laps in front of r ckx and three Porsches, with the AIR Lola TIO four, or more laps behind that. Hagen/Gillebard had retired their Cougar DeLorenzo, driving the Thompson/Harrell Stingray, felt the steering getting heavy, failed to keep control of the car, and hit the wall on the right at the end of the East Banking. All DeLorenzo hurt was his big toe, but he was out of the race.

Attwood and Buzzetta still led at 240 laps, but the GT40 had cut this lead to one lap and was closing in all the time. The Schutz/ Mitter Porsche was three laps behind that and ahead of the other GT40, the Gulf car temporarily relieved of Donohue who had had a slight nudging match with the leading Porsche and then a long stop to repair the exhaust system and carry out some routine work on the car. This had cost Roger Penske 1 hr 19 mins and dropped them right down the field, and it looked at this stage as though the stop would cost the Lola any hope of a win or even a place. Nobody really believed the 1.0las would last anyway. The Grant/Oest Lancia Fulvia HF was out, and also the Esseks/Dominianni/Lowther Corvette.

By midnight the Penske Lola was in its lowest place - 11th, 44 laps in arrears. The two GT40s were runnmg a lap apart and three laps behind the leader, and the other four Porsches were in line ahead, the order being Mitter/Schutz, SifTert/Herrmann, Stommelen/Ahrens and Elford/Redman. The Patrick/Jordan Lola was eighth, and then came the leading TransAm car which was still Jon Ward and Jerry Titus in their well-driven Firebird. The Dino was finally out with engine trouble, and the Rafferty/Gearhart/Wisler Corvette was in the pits most of the time., .

At 12.50 am Porsche actually lost their first car, when the leader abandoned with broken, camshaft gear after 273 laps, caused by a faulty intermediate shaft between the crankshaft and the car. The McComb/Dooley Mustang also blew its engine, and now David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood were in the lead for the first time in the race, with four laps on Mitter/Schutz and five on Ickx/Oliver, the second and third place car taking second place from each other according to pit stops. The Triumph GT6 finally retired, and Fred Opert blew up his 911 after changing the gearbox earlier. Meanwhile the fumes had been worrying Mitter a lot, and he was unable to continue, being taken away in an ambulance for examination when he came in.

At 300 laps the two Fords were three laps apart, and the remaining Porsches lay third, fourth and fifth and within striking distance. The Penske car was going well, but it seemed at this stage an impossible task for Donohue and Parsons to pull the car up the field again. However, the ever menacing Mitter/Schultz car, which now had Attwood driving in place of Mitter, had been drawing in the Ickx/Oliver Ford, and passed into second place at 310 laps. The AIR Lola was also splitting the other three Porsches, but at 2.50 the Elford/Redman 908 stopped out on the circuit at 278 laps with yet another suspected broken intermediate shaft, reducing Porsche to three cars. By 330 laps the order was:

Hobbs/Hailwood (Ford GT40), 330 laps; Ickx/ Oliver (Ford GT40), 326; Mitter/Schultz/Attwood (Porsche 908). 326; Siffert/Herrman (Porsche 908), 323; Slommelen/Ahrens (porsche 908), 312; Jordan/Patrick (Lola 170). 311; Donohue/ Parsons (Lola T70), 281; Motschenbacher /Leslle (Lola 170), 275; Kleinpeter/Gunn/Beatty (Chevron-BMW), 273; Everett/Johnson (porsche 911), Grossman/Dini (Camaro), Williamson/Drolson (Porsche 911), Duval/Nicholas/Sampson (Porsche 911T). Jennings/Wetson/ Adamowicz (Porsche 9:1T), Maglioli/Pinto (Lancia Fulvia Z). Wicky/ Garant (Porsche 911T) and Ward/Titus (Firebird).

Thirty laps later the Porsche and the Ickx/ Oliver Ford were still contesting second place, and after 312 laps Stommelen/Ahrens retired with the same wretched intermediate shaft trouble. At 4.30 am on Sunday morning the leading Ford of Hobbs/Hailwood began using up a lot of water. It came in several times, and by the 420th lap had dropped to fourth behind the Porsches. At 5.05 am the car was retired. So at 420 laps the order was Ickx/OIiver, Mitter / Schultz/ Attwood (417), Siffert/ Herrman (415), Patrick/Jordan (382), Donohue/ Parsons (376), and then the game little Chevron with 351 laps. Bob Grossman and. Bob Dini had temporary hold on the Trans/Am class, and Everett/Johnson continued to dominate the small section of this category.

Just after the Ford retired, poor Rico Steinemann took another blow when the same problem that had already eliminated two. and probably three of his cars hit. the Siffert/ Herrmann machine, and out it went after' 415 laps. This altered the whole.concept of the race and meant that although the two leading cars remained the same, Donohue/Parsons suddenly became third having caught the AIR Lola of Patrick/Jordan. The Grosman/Dini Camaro passed the Chevron, while the previously well placed TransAm Firebird of Ward/Titus was stealthily moving back up and was behind Everett/ Johnson, Motschenbacher / Leslie, Jennings / Wetson / Adamowicz (Porsche 911T) and the Williamson/Drolson 911.

On the 450th lap the sole remaining Porsche was on the same lap as the sole surviving Ford. Jordan/Patrick were out of luck for about the first time in the race and had pitted for a change of bearings in the rear-offside upright, which moved Grossman/ Dini into fourth and the Chevron into fifth.

The Gifford/Campbell 911 was out with clutch trouble, and the race average was now just over 110 mph.

But now John Wyer and David Yorke were looking most uphappy the leader was clearly in trouble with overheating, and by the 470th lap the Mitter / Schultz / Attwood Porsche was ahead. Then on the Ford's 469th lap, it suddenly went out of control after the pits, and in a few seconds poor Ickx was walking in leaving behind a sorely bent motor car. It is thought that something in the front suspension may have failed, but with probable crackel cylinder heads the car seemed doomed anyway. The Ford's exit moved Donohue into second place having passed the AIR car, but still a full 54 laps behind the Stuttgart machine. Grossman couldn't believe that he was now third, two laps ahead of Everett, but what was worrying Grossman was the Ward and Titus Firebird creeping up.

Williamson/Droison temporarily passed the slowing Chevron, which had had a number of small troubles including difficulty draining its t.mks on this predominantly left-hand circuit, which had affected fuel consumption drastically. Jennings also looked as though he would pass the Bolton car from Miami. The Penske lost 17 mins when the starter jammed, but still a safe second.. The Chevron was back in fifth by 490 laps, but then the final straw broke for Porsche; ,their last car stuttered into retirement, with the same trouble, a broken intermediate shaft to the cam-somehow Steinemann seemed almost relieved! The Porsche had completed 483 laps.

At last - Penske had achieved his intention, to lead the race, and out of four Lolas that started three were still running. Ward and Titus had now got their Firebird past the Everett Porsche 911 and were flat out after Grossman, who now had the misfortune to run into trouble with his fuel pump ana valve gear. Grossman's long pitstop let Ward and Titus through, but now a new danger threatened the second and third place TransAm cars in the shape of the Motchenbacher/Leslie'T70 which had been quietly catching up time.

At the 19th hour the AIR Lola was just a lap behind the Chevron and the 911; at 495 laps the big James Garner-sponsored car was past the Chevron, while it stood at the pits, and by Everett a short while later. The Jennings/Wetson/Adamowicz 911T also passed Everett, but the Firebird took a lot more hauling in, and it wasn't till the 22nd hour that it was Lolas one-two. There were no more significant changes in the last two hours, and Parsons took the flag with 626 laps to his credit, 30 up on the Motchenbacher/Leslie car. Ward and Titus were five laps behind that, and Everett and Johnson eight more in arrears. The Chevron was an excellent sixth.

Certainly, Daytona .1969 was a race of attrition, with only the strongest sUrviving. One small mechanical part certainly cost Porsche the race, and every. one of their cars; Ford, too, were' most unlucky. Nobody expected the Lolas to finish, but if anyone could get one of these cars to the flag then clearly Penske was that man, for his preparation is second to none and his race discipline and team management a joy to watch.

Cesare Fiori of Lancia was delighted to win the prototype class with such a small car, and now takes maximum points in the Group 6 Championship with 11th place overall. The TransAm class went to Titus and Ward, Titus of course already well known but Ward a complete newcomer and most fancied in American TransAm circles to do big things this year. Everett and Johnson drove a copybook race to take the small TransAm section, which they led practically the whole way, while the G T class went to the 911 T of Jennings/Wetson/Adamowicz. Best 2-litre sports car was. the Chevron once the Sportscars Unlimited 910 of Gregory/Brostrom was delayed by thumping the wall and having to have its suspension straightened out.

Had the Porsches proved reliable, Daytona would probbly have been a bit of a drag; but they didn't, and, as things turned out, this transformed it into a pretty interesting affair, with "survival" being the word that will help us to remember the first round in the Manufacturers Championship' for 1969.

                      DaytonaConlinental 24 Hours

Daytona Speedviay, Florida, USA, February 1/2

FIA Groups 4 & 6 Championship, round 1

1. M. Donohue/C. Parsons (5.0 Lola-Chevrolet

        T70 Mk 3B), 626 laps, 2385.06 miles, 99.268

         mph, S;

2, L.. Motschenbacher/E. Leslie' (5.0 Lola-Chevrolet no Mk 3), 596 laps, S;

3, J. Ward/J. Titus (5.0 Pontiac Firebird), 591 laps, TA;

4. B. Je.nnings/H. Wetso~/A. Adamowicz (2.0

         Porsche 911T), 583 laps. GT;

5, A. Everett/A. Johnson (2.0 Porsche 911), 581

         laps, T A;                                                                                                 .

6, H. Kleinpeter/J. Gunn/R. Beatty (2.0

         Chevron-BMW B8), 579 laps, S;

7, S. Patrick/D. Jordan (5.0 Lola-Chevrolet

         no Mk 3), 578 laps, S;

8, H. Williamson/G. Drolson (2.0 Porsche 911),

         577 laps, T A;

9, J. Duval/G. Nicholas/A. Sampson (2.0

         Porsche 911T). 571 laps, GT;

10, A. Wicky/S. Garant (2.0 Porsche 911T), 569 laps, GT;                                                                                                                             

11, C. MagliolijR. Pinto (1.6 Lancia Fulvia HF Zagato), 566 laps, P; 12, R. Grossman/R. Dini (5.0 Chevrolet .Camaro), 564 laps, TA; 13. J. Corwin/M. Manner/C. Baird (5.0 Chevrolet Camaro), 549 laps, TA; 14, J. Ryan/P. Harrison/ J. Carter (2.0 Porsche 911), 548 laps, TA; 15, M. Gregory/R. Brostrom (2.0 Porsche 910), 544 laps, S; 16, V.Gimondo/Miss S. Dro!el/J. Belperch (5.0 Chevrolet Corvette, Stingray), 532 laps, GT; 17. J. Baker/P. Richards/C. Baker (1.3 Austin-Healey Sprite LM), 527 laps, P; 18, J. McDaniel/S. Pieper/W. Scott (lob Z.nk VSR­Volkeswagen), 519 laps. P; 19, J. Gammon/R. Mummery/R. Smith (1.8 MGB), 508 laps, GT; 20, R. Brezinka/F. Aockreuter/H. Peterman/R. Bartling' (2.0 Porsche 906), 507 laps, S; 21, M. Carter/No Adams (5.0 Chevrolet Camaro), 501 laps, TA; 22, H. Rose/M. Richards (5.0 Chevrolet Camaro), 499 laps, TA; 23, S. Posey/R. ROdriguez (3.3 Ferrari 275GTB-4), 494 laps, GT; 24, A. Mollin/A. Rile (1:8 Volvo 122S), 473 laps, TA; 25. W. Pryor J. Marina (1.6 Alia-Romeo Giulia SS), 451 laps, GT; 26, G. Waldron/T. l1arris/B. Scott (1.8 MGB), 428 laps, GT; 27, G. Wright/ W. Craine (2.0 Porsche '911), 337 laps, TA; 28, B. Hollander/R. Clark/W. Marsula (1.6 Lancia Fulvia HF), 331 laps, P.      

No lastest lap available.

Boac 500 1972

Le Mans 1958 version 2

British GP 1970

US GP 1964

Marlboro 12hrs

Goodwood 1964 TT

Daytona 67

Daytona 70

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Index