A history of the 24 hours of Le Mans- Part 3

Ferrari domination

Ferrari would start the decade on a strong note, with the Ferrari 250 TR59/60 driven by the all-Belgium team of Le Mans Veteran’s Olivier Gendebein and Paul Frere dominating the event. The Ferrari would completely outclass the performance of the Aston Martin DBR1, raced by Roy Salvadori and Britain’s motor racing hero, Jim Clark, who would come home in third position.

Ferrari’s factory team main competition in 1960 came from the privately run North American Racing Team or N.A.R.T. Raced by 18-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez and Andre Pillette of Belgium, the two finished three laps down on the leaders in a strong effort and it’s said that Rodriguez never gave up until the flag fell.

Sadly despite two later attempts, this would be Ricardo’s highest result at Le Mans, before his tragic death in 1962. The popularity of Le Mans had also been cemented with north of 200,000 people lining the Circuit de la Sarthe to see the 12-cylinder Ferrari take victory.

1961 would be Ferrari’s year. The company would dominate proceedings in world motorsport claiming victory at the Sebring 12 hours, Le Mans 24 hours with Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebein, whilst also claiming the Formula One World Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships of 1961 with Phil Hill.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t all be positive for the Italian constructor, with the death of Wolfgang Von Trips at the 1961 Italian Grand prix, whilst racing for the Scuderia in a championship battle against Phil Hill.

1962 would see a new addition to global motorsport at the recently built Daytona Speedway, named the Daytona Continental, the race would run to GT II and GT III regulations for cars as part of the world championship over a three hour distance.

Le Mans would be another dominant victory for the Ferrari team of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebein. Gendebein would announce his retirement from racing following the 1962 running, finishing his career with four Le Mans 24 victories. Gendebein reportedly believed that Phil Hill would match his record of four victories the following year. Hill would, however, leave Ferrari at the end of 1962 and never match Gendebein’s record at Le Mans.

Ferrari was incredibly strong for 1963 with the top six cars to finish Le Mans all Ferrari’s led by the 250 P of Lorenzo Bandini however a rival would arrive in 1964 which would change the entire world of Le Mans.

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