*Bob Bondurant, Le Mans '65: It won't be long until the race starts at 4 p.m., but Bondurant naturally never wastes a moment.
*Bob Bondurant, Le Mans '65: It won't be long until the race starts at 4 p.m., but Bondur
When I look back on those times now, it's the drivers that I remember most. They were the very best sports car drivers in the world, and we were all amazed that they should be driving for a single team. As I look through my photographic files, there are so many that deserve recognition: Ronnie Bucknum, the SCCA club racer from Southern California who was Honda's first Formula One driver; Jerry Grant, the tall USRRC driver from Washington and who was practically Dan Gurney's twin brother when it came to fun and jokes; Dick Hutcherson, the stock car driver who went on to become a racing car constructor himself; Denis Hulme, then just on the verge of becoming Formula One world champion; Roger McCluskey and Lloyd Ruby, oval-track drivers trying to find their way in Europe; Chris Amon, who always lived a little too hard; Pedro Rodriguez, so quiet and so heedless of speed when he won Le Mans in 1968 with John Wyer's GT40; Jacky Ickx, who won the first of his Le Mans trophies in 1969 with the very same Wyer-prepared car; Mark Donohue, Peter Revson and Skip Scott, who were always overlooked by Ford because they were thought to be just weekend sports car drivers; and Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt, two of the best-ever drivers from America.
Of all the people involved with the Ford effort at Le Mans, I remember best Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney and Phil Hill, Bruce McLaren and Ken Miles.
*Dan Gurney, Cobra Daytona coupe, Le Mans '65: Early Saturday evening, I laid on the top of the hay bales outside of the Mulsanne corner, pre-focused on a spot of pavement with my single-lens reflex Canon (exotic technology just then) and caught Gurney as he started the long, dangerous, high-speed stretch to Indianapolis corner. The contrast between the speed of the machine and Gurney's very human moment makes this one of my favorite pictures.
*Dan Gurney, Cobra Daytona coupe, Le Mans '65: Early Saturday evening, I laid on the top o
Bob Bondurant was Carroll Shelby's last choice for the Cobra team when it came to Europe in 1964, and maybe that made him work harder. He was always studying every track he came to; it was something he learned from Masten Gregory, he said. He won the 1965 GT championship for Shelby almost single-handedly. I remember him most for the 1964 Le Mans, in which he and Gurney drove the Cobra Daytona coupe to fourth place, winning the GT class. Bondo drove a GT40 at Le Mans in 1965. You could tell that he had been a Corvette racer during his early days in California, because he always had an attractive woman nearby.
Dan Gurney was bigger than life, exactly what Europeans thought an American should be. He was open, friendly and almost always seemed to be having a great time. Europeans would try to get close to him just to see him smile and hear him laugh. Wherever something interesting might be happening, there he'd be, just out of sheer enthusiasm for anything new. He was always the fastest driver on the track, and that's why it took so long for him to drive slowly enough to do well at Le Mans. When he won in 1967 with the MkIV, Gurney actually pulled off the track and stopped for a minute or so because Mike Parkes had been tailing him in the Ferrari P4, trying to goad him into a faster, car-breaking pace. Parkes pulled over with Gurney and waited behind him, and they had a little battle of wills as the other cars went past. Finally Parkes raced off, and Gurney drove on to win the race.