|308gt4 Le Mans|
The car was completed in June of 1974, just a few days before the LeMans race. The car, unfortunately, retired with clutch problems in the fourth hour while standing 38th.
1975 NART TEAM ENTRY
In 1975, the car was again entered by the NART team by Mr. L.
Chinetti. The drivers, Harley Cluxton and Giancarlo Gagliardi drove the
car to 4:32.9 qualification, which was the top half of the grid when the
politics of European racing struck. The car was withdrawn, along with the
rest of the NART team, and a slower French car was put in its place.
The following is the sequence of events which led to the withdrawal of the NART Team from the 1975 LeMans Race.
On Tuesday, June 10th, all the cars were taken down to the track for technical inspection, and with minor exceptions and changes, all the cars were set for practice for qualification. Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. began the first of the two days of practice. There were two aspects of qualification: first for speed both night and day, and second for fuel consumption. In order to qualify for fuel consumption, the car had to make 10 full laps past the timing mark and obtain better tha 5.6 miles per gallon.
The first day all four of the NART Team cars attempted to qualify, both for speed and for mileage. That evening, one of the Course Officials by the mane of Pierre Allanet, whose official position it was the hudge on such things, said that three of the NART cars -- the #17 Dino, the #46 Daytona Spyder and the #99 Boxer had all qualified for both mileage and for speed, but that the #45 Daytona had not qualified because of excessive fuel consumption. The following morning, the #45 Daytona went out on the track and set som steady laps for fuel consumption and several fast laps for speed proof, and at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday evening it was reported that all the cars had completed their qualifications both at night and during the day, and all of the dirvers had qualified.
With receipt of this information, the Team Manager, Jahn Baus, directed the team to pack up, return to the garage, and get the cars prepared for the race to start at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 14th.
At the driver's meeting on Friday, which started at 2:30 in the afternoon, the NART Team was advised for the first time that the 308 Dino was not qualified. This, despite the fact that the car had placed in the top 40% of the grid, and had beaten three-fourths of the Porsche Carreras at the track in qualification. The ruling was that because the car was in a Prototype Class, it had to qualify faster than cars in other classes. This Class ended up with 2 Gulf Mirages, 4 908 Porsches, 3 French Ligers, and a lone Lola & 380, none the least bit comparable to the Dino. However, the car was put there by Automobile Club de L'ouest although the BMW 3.0 CSLs and racing Capris, which were reasonably comparable cars, were in Group 2. How that happened I don't know, but I am sure that it would make an interesting story.
Our problems were compounded by the aritrariness by which the size of a Class was established, or even indeed that a class speed division existed; and the notivication that we were "bumped" by a slower car without explanation as to why in spite of our assurance by an Official that we were qualified. LeMans has a history of political intrigue and Mr. Chinetti challenged the ruling. He then asked for a sheet showing how our car had qualified so slowly and how the other car had qualified faster, but the Officials refused to give him any records to document the alleged bump. Further, they disavowed their own official's statement that the car had been qualiified even though he was the specific Automobile Club de L'oest official assigned to make such hudgments. We then found that the car which bumped us was being fielded by the Guy Verrier French Driving Team which had almost bumped the Porsche Team a couple years ago. The Porsche Team threatened to withdraw and Automobile Club de L'oest relented then. Seeing as the Automobile Club de L'oest had no records which would substantiate their position, and that an Official had clearly advised us that we were officially qualified and would be allowed to enter the race, they said they would take some time and reconsider the matter.
A decision was to be reached by 10:00 the following morning. At 10:00 it was going to be 11:00; and at 11:00, 12:00; and at 12:00, 1:00; and at 1:00 it would be 1:15, and at 1:15 at 1:20; and finally at about 1:30 p.m. they said that their decision was that they were not going to allow the car to run. When confronted with the fact that they had no eveidence to show that the car had not qualified, they then asked Mr. Chinetti to sign a release saying that the car did not run fast enough and that was the reason it was disqualified. Outraged, he refused.
Mr. Chinetti then pulled the two French drivers from his Team Cars and put in an Italian and an American, and went on TV explaining the foul play. Automobile Club de L'oest then said that they would cancel his insurance if he pulled the French drivers, in another power move.
Mr. Chinetti, during the playing of the Anthems just prior to the race, then pulled all four NART cars from the race.
And that's where it is. Not racing, just politics.
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