January has always been the time when motorsport enthusiasts start counting down to the start of the season. And despite the still difficult global situation, this year, as ever, the first world championship event on the calendar is the 24 Hours of Daytona, which will take place from January 28 to 31. It is one of the three most important endurance races, the others being Le Mans and Spa, and it has often provided the stage for remarkable sporting feats by leading brands and drivers. In an endurance race, though, the true victor is the winning brand, and this explains why the parade-style finish, which amounts to a show of domination and mechanical strength, has become something of a tradition in this setting.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic parade-style finishes of the past, picked out for you by TCCT:
1966 Ford – 24 Hours of Le Mans
The three Fords crossing the line together at the Sarthe race track in 1966 is one of the most famous parade-style finishes of all time. After two difficult years, the GT40 project had finally come to full fruition, allowing the model, in the hands of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme, to dominate the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Towards the end of the competition, Leo Beebe (the team manager) and Henry Ford II asked the drivers to finish the race side by side, driving in a perfect line. This was Ford’s slap in the face to Ferrari, which had refused to be taken over by the US car giant.
1967 Ferrari – 24 Hours of Daytona
The following year, at Maranello the Ferrari team began the season with a new ace up its sleeve, the 330 P4. This model made its debut in the February, at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and therefore on American soil. It was time for Ferrari’s sweet revenge! The Ferrari team manager, Franco Lini, ordered a historic three-car parade-style finish, and in so doing showed that Ferrari could give as good as it got!
1968 Porsche – 24 Hours of Daytona
Modification of the rules in 1968 created problems for both Ferrari and Ford, the two brands that had dominated the previous editions of this race. This year thus marked the start of the long dominance of another European manufacturer: Porsche. With its 907 LH, the German car maker “joined the club”, finishing the race with its own triumphant and spectacular three-car “parade”.
1968 Alfa Romeo – 24 Hours of Daytona
In 1968, the US marathon race also saw another brand scoring a hat trick. The Alfa Romeo 33/2 dominated the 2000cc category, taking fifth, sixth and seventh place overall. The three cars fielded by the firm’s racing division, Autodelta, monopolized the winners’ podium in their class and earned themselves the nickname “Daytona”.
1998/1999 Ferrari – 24 Hours of Daytona
Just over three decades on from the famous 1967 victory, Ferrari won at Daytona again. The Maranello plant had not produced a Sport car since 1974, the year in which Enzo Ferrari had decided to focus on F1 racing, but eventually, in the mid-1990s, a return to Florida started look like a real possibility. New rules led to the birth of the 333SP, and with it another victory at Daytona (1998).
2000 Audi – 24 Hours of Le Mans
The very last 24 Hours of Le Mans of the second millennium marked the start of a new era, dominated by the brand that proved best prepared for the challenge: Audi. Its victory in 2000 was the first in a long series. In fact, the Ingolstadt-based car maker has won 13 times in 15 appearances at Le Mans.
2015 Porsche – 24 Hours of Le Mans
Porsche’s return to the winners’ podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans coincided with the hybrid era in all its splendor. Up against Toyota and Audi, the Porsche 919 Hybrid had not done well in its debut outing the year before, but in 2015 all the effort that had gone into developing the car paid off with a double success that earned the brand its 17thoverall victory on the Sarthe race track.
2018 Toyota – 24 Hours of Le Mans
After years of disappointments and bad luck with mechanical failures, the most dramatic being at Le Mans in 2016, when it was forced to drop out on the last lap, after 23 hours and 59 minutes of racing, in 2018, Toyota finally won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time. The victory, a true liberation, was celebrated by a parade-style finish that really underlined the value of the tradition.