After Ford’s 1-2-3 Le Mans domination in 1966, Enzo Ferrari and his chief engineer Mauro Forghieri rebounded with the 330 P4, considered one of the greatest Ferrari endurance race cars ever. The Ferrari P4 engine, a screaming 4.0 liter V12 with three valves per cylinder, was modeled after the Italian Grand Prix-winning Formula One cars, and cranked out about 450 hp. Since Ferrari was such a small manufacturer, only four P4-engined vehicles were ever made.
In February of ‘67, running against the unreliable Ford GT40 Mark IIs at Daytona, the two 330 P4s and a 412P (a P3 chassis with a P4 engine) took the top three places. The only GT40 to complete the race finished some 300 miles behind the Ferraris.
But the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans saw the duo of A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, driving the new Ford GT40 Mark IV, restore American honor by winning easily, leading all but the first 90 minutes of the race.
At Le Mans the Ferrari 330s finished respectably, with the factory team of Italian Ludovico Scarfiotti and Briton Michael Parkes coming in four laps behind the GT40 for second, and the #24 car featured here, piloted by Belgians Willy Mairesse and Jean Blaton, with 11 fewer laps.
This 1/43 model features some nice details, clearly showing the radiator and the spare tire:
In retrospect, it’s hard to believe the 4.0 liter V12s could hang with the Ford’s 7.0 liter V8, but those early GT40s weighed almost 1000 pounds more than the Ferraris! Even more remarkably, this car, chassis 0856, was retired from racing and is owned today by Canadian Lawrence Stroll in almost its original condition, less the roof, which was lopped off to save weight for the 1967 season’s final race at Brands Hatch.
Sadly, driver Willy Mairesse suffered serious injuries in a crash at the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans and committed suicide in September of ‘69 just shy of his 41st birthday.