1969 24 Hours of Daytona – Race Profile Page Two
If you believed the automotive press at the time the only competition that Porsche was supposed to have at Daytona was the two five-year-old (ancient by racing standards) Ford GT40’s entered by John Wyer of JW Automotive of London. Ford had been very successful in challenging Ferrari and Porsche for the manufacturer’s championship and won the 1968 trophy literally in the last points event of the year at Le Mans.
Where was perennial winner Ferrari? The Italians were noticeably absent from Daytona because Maranello was still having problems with their new three-liter sports prototype, the 312P. The French Matra team was present with the Matra-Sports 630M but few gave the car a chance of lasting the grueling 24-hour event. The general feeling about the French racer was that the car was fast and pretty but usually didn’t last. And it didn’t. Driver Henri Pescarolo flipped the Matra during night practice destroying the car. He walked away with bruises.
Rounding out the field of prototypes were four Lolas. Two T70 Mark III’s from James Garner’s American International Racers driven by Ed Leslie, Lothar Motschenbacher, Scooter Patrick and Dave Jordan. One T70 Mark IIIB from Sports-Car Unlimited driven by Jo Bonnier and Ulf Norinder and a T70 Mark IIIB from Roger Penske/Sunoco and driven by Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons. During qualifying the Penske Lola managed to place second on the grid with a speed of 121.704 mph. The works Porsche 908’s were first, third, fourth, 6th and 7th on the grid. The Bonnier Lola was gridded 5th and the JW/Gulf GT40’s driven by David Hobbs, Mike Hailwood, Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver were gridded 8th and 9th.