With an entry list comprising aces Chris Amon, Mario Andretti, Jim Clark, A.J. Foyt, Richie Ginther, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Parnelli Jones, Bruce McLaren, Peter Revson and Jackie Stewart, and a crowd of 85,000 to watch them in action, the 1965 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside in California was set to be one of the greatest road races ever staged.
The 200-mile sportscar race for monstrous Can-Am cars pitched Brabham, Chaparral, Cooper, Ford, Lola, Lotus and McLaren against each other, with many of racing’s biggest international stars all keen to shine.
Pole position, with a record lap, went to the McLaren Elva Mk2 of marque founder Bruce McLaren, from the Chaparral 2C of pioneer and racer Jim Hall, although suspension problems meant the Texan would not start the two-hour enduro. Also missing from the grid come raceday were Foyt’s Lotus 40 and the Lola T70s of Mario Andretti, Ronnie Bucknum and Jackie Stewart thanks to various problems.
Keep an eye on the other Chaparral in the race, the slightly older 2A driven by the team’s co-founder Hap Sharp. Eighth on the grid, Sharp works his way up to the front to take victory at record pace – an average of 102mph – over Formula 1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Clark’s Lotus 40 and a charging Bruce McLaren, who fell back at the start after a poor getaway and was later delayed in the pits with tyre trouble.
The film ends with a classic two-way between pit reporter Chris Economaki and race winner Sharp.
‘Did you stay on the asphalt all day?’
‘That’s the way!’