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The 24 Hour War
In the early 1960’s, Ford was drastically losing market share to GM and Chevrolet. The Corvette was crushing Ford at the dealerships and on the track. Henry Ford II was desperate to regain the market share his grandfather had worked so hard to build. While watching the 12 Hours of Sebring, Henry Ford II saw a beautiful red solution to his problems -- Henry Ford II decided to buy Ferrari.





Charlie Slater, Bill Auberlin & Joe Cogbill Winners Sebring 12 Hour 1995
Charlie Slater, Bill Auberlin & Joe Cobill win the Sebring 12 Hour IMSA Endurance race in 1995 in the GT2 class. Bill Auberlin was extremely fast with the fastest qualifying time and the team lead most of the race from start to finish facing tough competition and challenges from rainy weather which turns Sebring into "Lake Sebring" as the area is so flat. This was the first major win for the legendary Alex Job and his wife Holly Job that would go on to win over sixty major endurance races in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and ALMS (American Le mans Series) sanctioned professional races as the USA team manager for the Porsche authorized racing efforts in North America.. Alex prepared the entire car including building the engine and transmission combination himself personally as well as the chassis preparation and organizing the entire mostly volunteer crew for the event. Charlie Slater had emerged as a prosperous self-made businessman with an invention in the medical field and had now become the current owner of the IMSA sanctioning body. Joe Cogbill experienced his first major professional win coming from the Sports Car Club of America amateur ranks as three time national champion. Bill Auberlin went on to experience a long professional racing career as a BMW team driver. The Henry Taleb, Rob Wilson & Jean Pierre Michelet Nissan 240SX was second in the GT2 Class with Jorge Trejos, Dennis Aase & Martin Snow finishing third.





Ford Dominates 24 Hours of Le Mans (1967)
The 1967 World Sportscar Championship season started on a real low for Ford. Ferrari had dominated the first round, a 24-hour race at Daytona International Speedway in the United States by finishing 1-2-3 (all works cars) while all of the works GT40 Mk.IIB's (the Mk.IV was not ready yet, and the Mk.II's were upgraded to "B" spec) effectively retired with the same type of gearbox troubles. Thoroughly humiliated on home soil, Carroll Shelby, the Holman & Moody squad and Ford executives knew what had to be done. They ended up winning the next round 6 weeks later at the 12 Hours of Sebring, also in the United States with their new Mk.IV with American Mario Andretti and New Zealander Bruce McLaren driving, run by Holman & Moody. Ford only entered the 12 and 24 hour races that were part of the championship; the way Ford saw it, Daytona and Sebring were really test runs for the only race that really mattered: the world stage at Le Mans. The surprise winners were Americans A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, who led all but the first 90 minutes of the race and defeated the factory Ferrari 330P4 of Italian Ludovico Scarfiotti and Briton Michael Parkes by nearly four laps. The team had to fabricate a roof "bubble" to accommodate the helmet of Dan Gurney, who stood more than 190 cm (6 feet, 3 inches) tall. In one famous incident which took place in the middle of the night, Gurney had been running quite easily to preserve his car, and Parkes came up behind in the second-place Ferrari (which was trailing by four laps, or 34 miles). For several miles Parkes hounded the Ford driver by flashing his passing lights in Gurney's mirrors until an exasperated Gurney simply pulled off the course at Arnage corner and stopped on a grassy verge. Parkes stopped behind him, and the two race-leading cars sat there in the dark, motionless, until Parkes finally realized this attempt at provocation was not going to work. After a few moments, he pulled around Gurney and resumed the race, with Gurney following shortly. With the cat-and-mouse game abandoned, each car then simply maintained their positions to the finish. The win remains, to this day, the sole all-American victory at Le Mans: an American-built car, prepared by an American team and driven by American drivers. When the winners mounted the victory stand, Gurney was handed the traditional magnum of champagne. Looking down, he saw Ford CEO Henry Ford II, team owner Carroll Shelby, their wives, and several journalists who had predicted disaster for the high-profile duo of Gurney and Foyt. Many of the journalists had predicted the two drivers, who were heated competitors in the United States, would break their car in intramural rivalry. Instead, both drivers took special care to drive the car with discipline and won easily. On the victory stand, Gurney shook the bottle and sprayed everyone nearby, establishing a tradition reenacted in victory celebrations the world over ever since. Gurney, incidentally, autographed and gave the bottle of champagne to a Life Magazine photographer, Flip Schulke, who used it as a lamp for many years. Schulke recently returned the bottle to Gurney, who keeps it at his home in California.





The 24 Hour War
In the early 1960’s, Ford was drastically losing market share to GM and Chevrolet. The Corvette was crushing Ford at the dealerships and on the track. Henry Ford II was desperate to regain the market share his grandfather had worked so hard to build. While watching the 12 Hours of Sebring, Henry Ford II saw a beautiful red solution to his problems -- Henry Ford II decided to buy Ferrari.




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