“The Blanket Finish” It’s Le Mans 1966; The GT40s of Ken Miles/Denny Hulme (chassis #1016) and Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon (chassis #1046) are the only cars on the lead lap. Miles pulls in for his final pit stop. While they are servicing the car Carroll Shelby notifies Miles & Hulme of the decision to have the two GT40s cross the line in a blanket finish. Whatever was said Miles is furious when he leaves the pit. McLaren & Amon are also told of the decision during their last pit stop. Chris Amon later recounts, “I remember when I came in for our last pit stop and Bruce told me that Ford wanted to do a blanket finish. I said ‘Who’s supposed to win?’ Bruce said ‘I don’t know, but I’m not going to lose.’”
Leo Beebe (Director of Marketing - Ford of Europe) afterwards stated; “I wanted Ford to win. We called Ken in and slowed him down so that Bruce and Chris would win. They ran a good race and did what we had told them to do.”
Carroll Shelby would later state; “In 1966, Ford didn’t cost Ken the race at Le Mans, I did, and I regret it to this day. They came up to me and said ‘Who do you think should win the race?’ I thought, ‘well hell, Ken’s been leading for all these hours, he should win the race.’ I looked at Leo Beebe and said, ‘What do you think ought to happen Leo?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, I’d kind of like to see all three of them cross the finish together.’ (chassis #1016 was 3rd several laps down) Leo Beebe did not tell me what to say or do, so I said ‘Oh, hell, let’s do it that way then,’ not knowing the French would interpret the rules the way they did. Ken should have won the race. That was my ______, I take full responsibility for it, and I’m very sorry for it because, as you know, Ken was killed at Riverside two months later. Every time you go racing, you put your reputation on the line.”
Although the cars appear to cross the finish line together the French organizers declare McLaren/Amon the winners by virtue of completing a greater distance. They started 4th on the grid while Miles/Hulme started 2nd.
Despite these conflicting accounts by the people involved the most plausible explanation I have read comes from Charlie Agapiou (team mechanic); “Ford didn’t want Ken to win Le Mans. They wanted the headlines to read ‘Ford Wins Le Mans,’ not ‘Miles Becomes the First to Sweep Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans.’“
Virtually box stock build of Fujimi’s kit with a few enhancements.
Edited by afx, 18 July 2014 - 09:35 AM.