When Ford almost beat Ferrari and other great Nine Hour exploits
Ahead of the return of the Kyalami race, Stuart Johnston looks back on what made it so special over the years
Just as a big-budget movie about the Ford vs Ferrari battles at Le Mans in the 1960s is being released, a major international endurance race is about to be re-enacted at Kyalami. This weekend the Nine Hour returns to Kyalami after an absence of 37 years.
In 1965, seven months before Ford finally conquered the Ferrari dominance at Le Mans, it oh-so-nearly happened at Kyalami. With less than 10 minutes to go, after eight hours and 50 minutes of gruelling racing in the November highveld heat, a Ford GT was in the lead. A highly skilled privateer from England, Peter Sutcliffe, and Grand Prix driver Innes Ireland were about to score a memorable victory and earn the Ford Motor Company some of the respect it so badly craved...