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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a question for anyone who watches this movie and knows of the race results, but background first:

I've always known of what happened with the '66 LeMans and Ken Miles and how in my view 'the win was taken from him' by a blatantly dumb rule (I mean really....he QUALIFIED HIGHER, therefore he started further up the grid. For me, in the event of a 'TIE', the win should go to the highest qualifier, or most laps led or something like that. To just say, the other driver covered more distance based on literally not starting as far up the grid BECAUSE HE WASNT AS FAST is beyond dumb). Anyway (sorry, I digress), I really felt the need to look closer into the controversy because I've always had a pretty high opinion of Bruce McLaren, so I started wondering....why in the hell did he, someone considered to be as good a guy as he was (as most people say who worked with and around him), actually accept the win and not argue in favor for Miles and his co-driver (Hulme) who seemed to beyond reproach as far as 'deserving of the win' based on how the race played out.

As I started researching the 1966 Le Mans I learned that at least some of the inter teams rivalry was certainly between the Shelby Teams and the Hulman/Moody (though both the declared winner and the second place cars were Team Shelby), there evidently had been some controversy between the two Shelby cars as well. After digging around for some time I found an article that claimed that during the race, Bruce McLaren had been (at the very least) involved in floating the finish photo idea that eventually got presented to the Deuce, that could only occur by slowing Miles down. That being said though, he had his own personal, self serving reason behind it: According to the article, McLaren was mad because he believed that Miles had gone against 'team orders' and exceeded the rev limit demanded by FORD for during the race, and because Miles had disregarded the rev limit order, he had gained an unfair advantage. This was HUGE news to me, as I had never read or seen anything suggesting this.

Now, I must also say, up to this point, I'd always been confused how Miles still had lost the race by slowing down to let the other fords close up since he was 2+ laps ahead, since slowing would only close them up on track, but not in laps per se (so no big deal, right?). Well, another article I found pointed out that while preparing for the race, the head mechanic for the Miles/Hulme car had them prepare numerous sets of the brake rotor/brake pad 'change out' things 'bedded' out ahead of the race to eliminate any lack of performance once installed for use during the race (meaning they put them on the car at various stages of practice to get them just used enough that no time would be lost once they were installed so they would be at 100% peak performance right out of the gate). It should also be mentioned at this point that McLaren and Amon's car head mechanic FAILED (or opted not ) to do this.

So the race is winding down....there's an hour or two left (I'm my memory is vague enough about the exact time left at this point when this specifically when down, but the end result is the same so I'm not worrying about trying to dig back into it to figure out the exact moment), and Miles is 2 laps+ up with not long to go. Evidently, its determined by Miles that he needs to come in to do a brake change out to aid him finishing out the race with a capable set of brakes that can last without creating any additional issues. He comes in, the team does a brake/rotor deal change out, new replacement tires are installed, and he's sent back out (losing at least one lap, so no big deal since he's still got 1+ lap in hand, right?). Well, later (after the race) it was determined that McLaren's car head mechanic had 'accidentally' taken one of the 'pre set up brakes designated and prepared for the Miles car by their mechanic, and puts them on Bruce's car instead of using the ones provided to them for their car before the race (and obviously not prepared like the other car parts had been). So Miles goes out with the brake/calipar change out completed, but it turns out he's using one of the sets for the McLaren car since there were none of other 'bedded in' ones of their teams left, the McLaren change out had taken the last set. So when Miles goes out, he immediately realizes somethings off with the brakes, but doesnt know if its the new tires or the brakes. So he does his lap, but then immediately proceeds to return to the pits yet again deciding that the rotor replacement had gone wrong somehow and needed replacing yet again. Miles' head mechanic (either knowing another rotor switch out would take too long, they didnt have any more, OR just deciding for himself that it wasnt the brakes that were the issue but was the tires) only switches out the tires and sends Miles back out. BUT, this has taken even MORE time out of his lead (I knew none of this previously, so I was pretty surprised when I finally found out this information). He's leading still, but now McLaren is on the same lap, just however many minutes/seconds behind, and thus setting up this controversial finish when Miles slows down and ultimately loses the race.

I do get it....I've read far too many personal biographies written by and about race car drivers not to know better. To say they are narcissistic by nature is about the biggest understatement I can possibly say. I get that McLaren felt 'entitled' since (according to him), Miles exceeded the rev stipulation, and thereby aquired the lead by an unfair advantage. Miles had led most of the race...I feel pretty certain he felt he had earned the lead legitimately (especially recovering from the debacle at the start) and quite possibly the win as well, so obviously slowing up seemed about as polar opposite to his race driver instincts as there is.

I further read that as they approached the finish line, McLaren intentionally surged ahead slightly so his car would be ahead thus giving him the win, and at the same time was more then a little prepared to slam the door or speed up even further if Miles tried to pull ahead in any way.

I still say in the event of a tie, it should have never gone down to criteria where the deciding factor is simply that McLaren started further in the rear at the start.

So, now I pose the question.....Should McLaren have succeeded the win to Miles, or was he right and justified in taking it?



As a side note*** Over the years, I've run four marathons, numerous 1/2 marathons, 10k's and 5k's over the years. The way a marathon or any other race I've participated in started (especially the larger attended marathons), there is a corral for any runner who sets 'such and such' for a time (as in extremely fast, think Olympian hopeful type of runner). Obviously, when the gun goes off, the race starts....now despite me starting my 'race' with the gun as well, it may be literally 5-10 minutes (or on occasion even longer) before I even get up to the starting line which would then activate my running chip and thereby starting the timing of how long it takes me to run the course. Now the bitch about it is that even if I somehow uncorked the absolute best run of my life, and somehow beat the first finishing runners time, I still didnt win. Why? Because the race 'started' when the gun went off, not when I crossed the start line much further back. So unless the best run of my life made up for whatever the time delay I had just to get to the start line IN ADDITION TO THE TIME I SPENT ON THE COURSE RUNNING THAT STILL NEEDS TO BE LOWER THEN THEIRS, I still didnt win (anyone who knows me or runs any sort of races, knows 'winning' is a joke. Ultimately, you race against the clock and yourself).

Just curious as to others opinions on it. Its not like the results would ever be changed, but I'm always amazed how this ended up going down.
 

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Moderator/Admin Dude!
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Impressive post Bryan! You’ve done your research and presented a good case. I have no opinion on the matter, but thanks for sharing. (y)
 

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#1 Mike!
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Impressive indeed! The whole idea of the three abreast finish was the absolute cause of the debacle! But as we know in racing, the guy whose writes the checks gets the final say. I fully agree that the Lemans French rules organization were caught flat footed and were scrambling at the last minute to decide what to do!! They came up with the hapless decision you quoted. I too felt Ken should have been awarded the win. The decision was ill thought out, but human frailty oftentimes comes into play and this was a prime example. It was terribly unfair to Ken Miles. The premise that Ken exceeded the redline only confirms that not only was he a fantastic driver, but more importantly, his engineering skills and familiarity with that engine's capabilities were the unfair advantage that were part and parcel of the package when he put his ass in the driver's seat. He was an extraordinary compilation of driver and engineer that we saw in Mark Donahue in later years. Good thread!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've always held that Miles won that race, and doubt I could be convinced otherwise very easily.

Another example of my hard hardheadedness:

I still vehemently believe that Paul Tracy won the 2002 Indianapolis 500, and was screwed over by the Indy Racing League (The acronym I.R.L. always stood for 'Its Really Lousy' as far as I was concerned) that year, since it would have hurt their business model for a driver from the rival Indy Car series, Championship Auto Racing Team (C.A.R.T. series), to win their premier event). Its been 18 years now since just that race and hear I am still more then ready to argue about it too....so yeah, I was just curious if anyone knowing that majority of the facts about the '66 Le Mans would still hold to the idea that the results were correct and justified. McLaren was definitely an incredible talent, but I'm amazed he really seemed to believe he justifiably won.
 

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Miles won, no doubt in my mind. Racing is always about having the upper hand, better driver, engineer, etc. Shelby and Miles were willing to push the car to a point the suits at Ford weren't and it showed on the track. I always wondered how they got the laps back, so thanks for the research.

Also, had it not been an American team, I think the Frenchies would have come up with a different "deciding factor" to determine the winner.
 

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I, like Gooseman, don't really have an opinion on the matter, but do recognize your research and effort as outstanding. As I grow older, I have learned not to spend my time on "what-ifs" anymore ... 'what's done is done' and all that jazz. :)
 

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Miles should've won, but this is what happens when politics enters competition, let's face it, what happened to Ryan Newman at Daytona was no worse of a crime, connived, mickey mouse endings on superspeedways, strategy doesn't count, ability and preparation doesn't count..it's now 80% luck.
FWIW the brake issue was a massive problem for Ford, this is a wreck at Sebring in a Gt40 right after it came out of the pits, apparently it had no brakes, the driver tried to spin it before the hairpin, and hit a light pole. This was one of the first GT40 in private hands.
It was a whole different time back then.




 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Holy CRAP!!! That is incredible. Thanks for sharing those. I'd never seen them before.

As a huge Formula 1 fan for my entire life, ANYONE involved in racing back in the day had balls of steel. Good grief.

I gave up on Nascar a few years ago. I hated the whole idea of 'The Chase' and pretty much stopped watching the day they implemented it, the last few laps if there is a yellow that can cause 'overtime', and now most of all, stage racing. Color me gone.

The C.A.R.T. verses I.R.L. was just as bad in my opinion. I remember listening live on the radio the day of the race, to then watch the broadcast later that evening. But once the CART series got screwed over by Tony George and the IRL, I've really fallen off that series too (which I'd have never believed could happen) and its attempts at artificial racing. The IRL trying to make racing door to door like Nascar was a joke to me, so I was done.

Even now when I hear some series is considering a change in format because 'we believe that today's race fans want XXXXXXXXX', it makes my blood boil.
 
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