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Road & Track

Road & Track June 2016

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

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in this issue

3 min.

CAPTURING THE LIFE AT SPEED 24 HEURES DU MANS Sam Posey made his Le Mans debut in 1966 in a Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada. At the time, he was the youngest American driver to compete in the 24-hour race. He drove at Le Mans 10 times, with his best finish, third place, in 1971 in a Ferrari 512m. On the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1-2-3 victory, Posey walks us through the day. POSITION, POSITION, POSITION Le Mans, 1966, the silent majesty of the start—for a few seconds, all you hear is the sound of running feet. The race was to have been a showdown between Ford and Ferrari, but Ferrari’s effort was half-hearted; only three of the 14 Ferraris on the grid were of the latest spec. The best they could do in qualifying…

4 min.

Dear R&T, If offered a few laps in any of the cars from the February issue— Acura NSX, Ferrari 488 Spider, McLaren 570S, Penske Z/28, or Jaguar XK-120—the real car guys would head for the Camaro. Only the Camaro could put a smile on your face like Zach Bowman’s. The Jag would be a close second, though. DON PINKAL, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO If anything has defined Penske Racing over the years (apart from winning in nearly every form of motorsport), it has been the impeccable preparation and presentation of their racers. Did anyone else notice the barn-door handle bolted to the hood of the Trans-Am car on the February cover? Functional? Yes. Penske-spec? BOB WEBER WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA I got a ride in Pat Ryan’s Penske Camaro years ago at a Sportscar Vintage Racing Association event. The…

2 min.
editor’s letter

HAS IT REALLY BEEN 10 YEARS since my name last appeared on the Road & Track masthead? Seriously, where did the decade go? During that time, so much has changed and so much has stayed the same: The best automatic transmissions are more efficient and shift faster than any human, but we still demand to row our own gears. The Tesla Model S has proved that progressive electric propulsion can be rapid—and cool—yet most car nuts still scoff at the Prius. Porsche took the podium at Le Mans last year, but Audi still dominated eight times in the past 10 years. We’re complaining, as before, about in-car technology, but rather than BMW iDrive, we’re targeting Cadillac CUE. R&T’s office moved from Newport Beach, California, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I…

5 min.
market swatch

JUNE! WHICH MEANS THAT auto-show season is well and truly over. When cold weather ends and we stumble from our homes, blinking in the sunlight, to gawk at and maybe buy new cars. Perhaps you need a biased and hopelessly narrow survey of the market. Perhaps not. Here’s one anyway. The Germans: With the possible exception of VW, they’re on a high. Suppliers, chassis engineering—some of the best stuff on the planet. They claim to know car buyers better than car buyers know themselves. Mostly, they just know how to build what Germans want: fast, complex cars with the half-life of cheap yogurt. (New-car turnover in Germany is enormous. If your dealers won’t see that S6/M5/E63/Golf R with real miles on it, why not make its stepper motors out of cake…

21 min.
road to le mans

You likely know what happened at Le Mans in 1966. It’s a legendary tale straight out of a Hollywood studio: Henry Ford II, spurned during negotiations to purchase Ferrari, sought revenge where he knew it would hurt Enzo most—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where, in 1966, Ferrari was riding a six-year winning streak. Ford hired top drivers, enlisted seasoned racing teams, and spared no resources building the best possible car, the GT40. The overwhelming and distinctly American show of force worked. Ford finished first, second, and third overall at Circuit de la Sarthe. Ferrari, the man and the company, were properly humiliated. What you hear less about is the struggle that preceded the GT40’s day of glory. Failure in ’64 and ’65, terrible sacrifices in ’66. The journey—that’s what fascinates us.…

4 min.
checkered past

If nothing else, the 2016 Ford GT program shows the enormous value an automaker can mine from its history. Over time, though, heritage can slip through the cracks. Chassis P/1046, which won Le Mans in 1966, is a prime example. Longtime automotive journalist and friend of R&T Don Sherman, who drove the car 25 years ago, recounts its meandering journey from obsolete parts donor to priceless treasure. In January 1966, Shelby American’s California shop took delivery of a bare chassis identified as P/1046—the 47th GT40 from Ford Advanced Vehicles’ 87-car production run. The Shelby crew completed this car to campaign it at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the hands of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, it qualified fourth in the 55-car field, two seconds behind the pole-winning GT40…