In honor of this weekend’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, here’s some awesome historical video from the 1965 Daytona Continental, where the Ford GT collected its first international victory.
This wonderful old Goodyear clip is actually a fragment of a longer film that originally included both the Daytona and Sebring endurance races in 1965. Somewhere along the line, this copy was edited to focus solely on the Daytona race, the opening event in the FIA World Sportscar Championship season in ’65. This would be the last year for the 2000-kilometer format at Daytona, as the race would be lengthened to a full 24 hours in 1966, its current length to this day. Ford was a key player in the 1965 event, just as it intends to be in 2017 with four Ford GTs from Chip Ganassi Racing entered in the GTLM category.
After a less than stellar outing for the Ford GT at Le Mans in 1964, the factory handed the entire GT40 race program over to Carroll Shelby for ’65, and the Shelby American team came to Daytona in February with two shiny Ford GTs and four Cobra-Ford Daytona coupes. Shelby delivered for his Dearborn bosses, bringing the Ford GT its first international victory as the no. 73 entry of Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby covered the field by five laps. Shelby-Ford entries skunked the field, claiming five of the first six finishing spots. However, Dan Gurney (with co-driver Jerry Grant) managed to throw a scare into the Shelby paddock with his little privateer Lotus 19J-Ford, leading by more than 20 miles until a piston failed at around the two-thirds mark. All these angles and more at the ’65 Continental are covered nicely in the video below. Please enjoy.