The NART Ferrari Cars at LeMans
NART (North American Racing Team) was a racing team that fielded Ferrari sports cars in various racing events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team was founded by Luigi Chinetti, a former Ferrari racing driver who had established a Ferrari dealership in New York City in the 1950s.
NART's racing history at Le Mans began in 1958, when Chinetti and co-driver Olivier Gendebien won the race in a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. This was the first of four Le Mans victories for the team, which would go on to compete in the race over the next decade.
In 1961, NART entered three Ferraris in the race, including a 250 GT SWB, a 250 GT California, and a 250 TRI/61. The 250 GT SWB driven by Gendebien and Phil Hill finished second overall, while the California driven by Bob Grossman and Glenn Roberts finished fifth overall. The team also won the GT class with the 250 GT California.
In 1963, NART entered a Ferrari 250 GTO in the race, which was driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet. The car retired from the race due to engine problems, but it remains one of the most iconic NART Ferraris to have competed at Le Mans.
NART's 1965 Le Mans victory with a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM was a significant moment in the team's racing history. The car, driven by Jochen Rindt, Masten Gregory and Ed Hugas (from Pittsburgh PA), completed 347 laps and secured the first and only overall victory for a Ferrari 250 LM at Le Mans. This was also the first overall win for an American team at Le Mans and the seventh overall win for Ferrari at the race. The victory remains one of the most iconic moments in NART's racing history and a testament to the team's success in the world of endurance racing.
NART's final Le Mans victory came in 1972, when the team entered a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona in the GT class. The car was driven by Luigi Chinetti Jr., Bob Grossman, and Francois Migault, and it finished 9th overall and first in class.
Overall, NART's racing history at Le Mans is a testament to the team's success in the world of sports car racing, and to the enduring legacy of the Ferrari brand at one of the most challenging and prestigious racing events in the world.
Ferrari Quits LeMans
Ferrari's decision to quit Le Mans in the late 1970s was largely driven by changes in the rules and regulations of the race that made it less attractive to the company. In particular, new rules were introduced that favored the use of smaller engines with reduced fuel consumption, rather than the larger, high-performance engines that Ferrari was known for.
At the time, Ferrari was also facing financial difficulties and was struggling to compete with other manufacturers in Formula One and sports car racing. The company had also recently faced the loss of its founder, Enzo Ferrari, who passed away in 1988.
These factors, combined with the changing regulations in Le Mans, led Ferrari to shift its focus to other racing series, such as Formula One and GT racing. Despite this, Ferrari has continued to be a dominant force in sports car racing and has won multiple championships in GT and endurance racing over the years.
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