Racing

The Ferrari Daytona SP3 takes its name from the famous 1-2-3 Ferrari finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1967
Words: Gavin Green

It’s one of the most iconic images in motor sport.

Three Ferrari sports racers, side-by-side, taking the chequered flag in a 1-2-3 finish at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona. To make the victory even sweeter, it was in America, home to Ferrari’s biggest rival for that year’s World Sportscar Championship – Ford. 

 

That image was splashed on newspapers and magazines around the world. Daytona would become a byword for Ferrari success, providing the nickname for one of Ferrari’s greatest berlinettas, the 365 GTB4, launched the following year and better known as the Ferrari Daytona. 

The image that went around the world: The famous 1-2-3 finish for Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Daytona

It has also given its name to the new 6.5 litre V12 Ferrari Daytona SP3, the latest edition to Ferrari’s Icona series and a car that draws on the spirit of both the Ferrari racing prototypes of the ‘60s and of course, that famous victory at Daytona in 1967.  

 

The previous year, in 1966, Ford had muscled Ferrari off the podium’s top step. Its new GT40 sports racer won the 1966 Daytona race, took glory at Le Mans – denying Ferrari a seventh straight victory – and narrowly pipped Ferrari to the championship title. 

 

Ferrari wanted payback, and there was no better way than to win the opening round of the 1967 championship at Daytona, home of America’s most prestigious sports car race.  

Watch the cars and the famous race that inspired the new Ferrari Daytona SP3

A new Ferrari racer also made its debut there, the 330 P4. An evolution of the 330 P3, the biggest change was the use of three-valve per cylinder heads on 4.0-litre V12, increasing power from 420 to 450bhp. A new Ferrari-designed five-speed gearbox was fitted, the suspension and brakes were redesigned, and the body was more aerodynamic and had superior downforce. This iconic sports racing car – as beautiful as it was successful – was the work of Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s impressive young technical director. 

A pitstop and refuel for the 330 P4 that would eventually win the race 

Two 330 P4 cars raced at Daytona. One, an open-top Spider, used a modified P3 chassis upgraded to P4 specification. It was driven by Ferrari’s new F1 team leader, Chris Amon. The previous year he won Le Mans for Ford. The New Zealander was partnered at Daytona by long-serving Ferrari F1 racer, Lorenzo Bandini. Amon was one of the best F1 drivers of the late ’60s, although bad luck meant he failed to win a single Grand Prix. Poor Bandini died a few months after Daytona at the Monaco GP.

 

The other Scuderia Ferrari car was a new closed-roof P4 berlinetta coupé, driven by Englishman Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti, winner for Ferrari of the previous year’s Italian GP. The P4s were backed up by a 412P, in effect a detuned P3 that used carburetors rather than the latest fuel-injected V12. It was entered by the factory-blessed North American Racing Team (NART) and was driven by Mexican F1 star Pedro Rodriguez and Ferrari’s 1964 Le Mans winner Jean Guichet.


Lined up against the factory-backed Ferraris were six Ford GT40s, now using more powerful 530bhp 7.0-litre V8 engines. Other fancied runners included the American Chaparral team, various Porsches and a number of privately entered Ferraris. 

The 330 P4 in January 1967 during testing for the 24 Hours of Daytona

The race started at 3pm on Saturday, February 4. Ex-Ferrari World Champion Phil Hill driving a Chaparral immediately stormed into the lead. When Hill’s car had problems after three hours, Ferrari took control of the race. The P4s were faster than the Ford GT40s and more reliable. Five of the six factory-backed GT40s retired.

 

Amon and Bandini won by three laps from the Parkes-Scarfiotti P4. The NART Ferrari 412P was third, a further 26 laps behind. In a stroke of publicity genius, team manager Franco Lini ordered the top three cars to cross the finishing line side-by-side, as though on parade. Nothing better summed Ferrari’s dominance. 

 

Enzo Ferrari had his revenge on Ford. He was still smiling at the end of that 1967 season, after the P4 helped Ferrari win yet another World Sportscar Championship.