1968 Watkins Glen 6 hour race

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Track layout 1968
Ford GT40 with starting number 6; Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs drove the car into second place overall
Rear of a Howmet TX with the exhaust pipes for the gas turbine

The first 6-hour race of Watkins Glen , also the 21st Annual Watkins Glen Sports Car Road Race (6 Hours of Endurance For World Championship of Manufacturers), Watkins Glen , took place on July 14, 1968 in Watkins Glen and was the eighth race the sports car world championship this year.

Before the race

In 1948 , a sports car race was held for the first time in the small town of Watkins Glen , in the US state of New York . It was driven on public roads with a distance of 80 kilometers. The winner was Frank Griswold in an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B . 1956 - George Constantine won on a Jaguar D-Type - the event switched to the permanent track of the Watkins Glen International Circuit and subsequently became an endurance race . In 1968 the 6-hour race was announced for the first time, the driving time corresponded to a distance of almost 1000 kilometers.

The race at Watkins Glen was after the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring 1968 the third race with world championship status in the United States . After seven world championship races, after four overall victories , Porsche had 47 championship points to book and led the overall standings from their big competitor Ford . After three successes, the American manufacturer was clearly behind the sports car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen with 31 points . If a Porsche racing car wins the 6-hour race, the world championship with the overall victory would be decided for the German team.

The race

The Porsche team arrived with four 908 hatchbacks . There were changes to the previous races in the driver pairings. Porsche race director Fritz Huschke von Hanstein didn't want to leave anything to chance and hired pilots who were familiar with the track conditions in Watkins Glen. Joe Buzzetta had been a works driver at Porsche since 1965 and was also used sporadically in the sports car world championship. In 1967 he and Udo Schütz won the 1000 km race on the Nürburgring in a Porsche 910 . A newcomer to Porsche was his team-mate George Follmer . The 34-year-old Follmer was known in North America as a USAC Championship Car Series driver and was known as an expert on the track. Even Scooter Patrick had already been active for Porsche as a factory driver. In 1967 he and his partner Gerhard Mitter finished third overall in the Sebring 12-hour race and had contested many races in Porsche racing cars in his career to date. Another newcomer was the young Japanese Tetsu Ikuzawa , who was able to celebrate some successes in the British Formula 3 championship . Huschke von Hanstein saw it positively at the 500 km race on the Nürburgring in 1967 . There he finished eleventh overall on a Honda S800 and had left many larger-capacity sports car teams behind in his class win. The other two teams were formed by Jo Siffert / Vic Elford and Hans Herrmann / Richard Attwood .

John Wyer sat in Watkins Glen two Ford GT40 , both of new 5-liter V8 engine with Weslake - cylinder heads received. Five days before the race, regular Wyer driver Brian Redman had a serious accident at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps . After a suspension damage to the Copper T86B , he went off the track, the car broke through a barrier and crashed into a parked vehicle. Redman broke his arm and suffered minor burns. Redman's replacement as Jacky Ickx 's partner was Lucien Bianchi . Paul Hawkins and David Hobbs drove the second car .

Ray Heppenstall reported two Howmet TX with Continental Aviation & Engineering - gas turbines for himself and Dick Thompson as well as Hugh Dibley and Bob Tullius . The North American Racing Team from Luigi Chinetti brought two Ferrari on the track. A Dino 206 for Charlie Kolb and Ricardo Rodríguez and a 275 GTB / 4 for Bob Grossman and Ronnie Bucknum .

The course of the race

Jacky Ickx had the best start from second place on the grid, but he was ousted from the lead in the first lap by Jo Siffert , who was fastest in training . Behind Ickx, the three remaining Porsches followed in the order Scooter Patrick, Hans Herrmann and George Follmer. In sixth place was Dick Thompson in the faster of the two Howmet, ahead of Joakim Bonnier in the Lola T70 Mk.3 GT and Paul Hawkins in the second Wyer GT40. Jo Siffert's lead lasted twelve laps, then Jacky Ickx took back the top position. That was when the problems started at Porsche. George Follmer switched the gear when downshifting and over-revved the eight-cylinder boxer engine of the 908. The car then failed with engine failure. After an hour of racing, Jo Siffert came to the pits with a jammed wheel bearing . While the Porsche mechanics were trying to change bearings as quickly as possible, Hans Herrmann stopped with an over-revved alternator . To make matters worse, the second-placed scooter Patrick came into the pits at the same time. Patrick felt sick in the hot cockpit. He could bring the car just to the pits before the confidence lost. Mechanics helped the completely exhausted pilot out of the car. Richard von Hanstein sent Attwood back on the train with this vehicle and put Patrick's actual partner, Ikuzawa, in Hans Herrmann's 908. When all Porsches were back in the race, the two GT40s had a lead of several laps in some cases. After three hours of racing, both Attwood and Vic Elford retired with damaged wheel bearings on their 908s. So only the car of Scooter Patrick and his new partner Ikuzawa was in the running. Jo Siffert drove a few stints in the car, which was hopelessly behind after a battery change and a repair on the accelerator.

At the front, the two GT40s drove their laps unhindered for hours. Tension only arose when Lucien Bianchi lost 1½ minutes in the pits after a puncture. Hawkins and Hobbs, however, stuck to the racing director's command "Slow" and "Stay in your position", which had already been issued at halftime, and drove after the team-mates' car, which also suffered from irregular oil pressure, throughout the race. After a driving time of 6: 00: 26.080 hours, Ickx / Bianchi had a lead of 11 seconds over Hawkins / Hobbs.

Ray Heppenstall and Dick Thompson finished third overall in the Howmet, thus achieving the first podium for the gas turbine racing car.


Final ranking

Item class No. team driver chassis Round
1 S 5.0 5 United KingdomUnited Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering Ltd. BelgiumBelgium Jacky Ickx Lucien Bianchi
Ford GT40 286
2 S 5.0 6th United KingdomUnited Kingdom JW Automotive Engineering Ltd. AustraliaAustralia Paul Hawkins David Hobbs
United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Ford GT40 286
3 P 3.0 76 United StatesUnited States Howmet Corporation United StatesUnited States Dick Thompson Ray Heppenstall
United StatesUnited States
Howmet TX Continental 267
4th S 2.0 88 United StatesUnited States Foreign Car Sales United StatesUnited StatesWerner Frank Ralph Trieschmann
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 906E 259
5 S 2.0 14th United StatesUnited States B & B Motors Ltd. United StatesUnited StatesBob Bailey Jim Locke
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 906LE 257
6th P 3.0 2 GermanyGermany Porsche System Engineering Ltd. GermanyGermany Hans Herrmann Tetsu Ikuzawa Jo Siffert
Porsche 908 257
7th P 2.0 21st United StatesUnited States North American Racing Team United StatesUnited States Charlie Kolb Ricardo Rodríguez-Cavazos
United StatesUnited States
Ferrari Dino 206S 247
8th GT 2.0 59 United StatesUnited States Brumos Porsche Corp. United StatesUnited StatesBert Everett Peter Gregg
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 911T 244
9 S 5.0 22nd United StatesUnited States North American Racing Team United StatesUnited States Bob Grossman Ronnie Bucknum
United StatesUnited States
Ferrari 275 GTB / 4 241
10 S 5.0 11 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Ecurie Bonnier SwedenSweden Jo Bonnier Chuck Parsons
United StatesUnited States
Lola T70 Mk.3 GT 240
11 GT + 2.0 12 United StatesUnited States Robert Johnson United StatesUnited States Bob Johnson Robert Johnson
United StatesUnited States
Chevrolet Corvette 427 238
12 P 3.0 67 United StatesUnited States Howmet Corporation United KingdomUnited Kingdom Hugh Dibley Bob Tullius
United StatesUnited States
Howmet TX Continental 229
13 P 2.0 73 United StatesUnited States Baker Motor Co. Inc. United KingdomUnited Kingdom Clive Baker Paul Richards Jim Baker
United StatesUnited States
United StatesUnited States
Austin-Healey Sprite 228
14th GT 2.0 94 United StatesUnited States Ralph Meaney United StatesUnited StatesRalph Meaney Alex Dearborn
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 911 213
15th S 5.0 7th United StatesUnited States William Wonder United StatesUnited StatesWilliam Wonder Ray Cuomo Raymond Caldwell
United StatesUnited States
United StatesUnited States
Ford GT40 212
16 GT + 2.0 99 United StatesUnited States Pegasus Racing Team United StatesUnited StatesSidney Finkel James Sutter
United StatesUnited States
Shelby GT350 25th
17th S 2.0 37 United StatesUnited States Dieter Oest United StatesUnited StatesDieter Oest Nick Davidson
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 904 GTS 20th
18th S 2.0 93 United StatesUnited States Arthur Mollin Racing United StatesUnited StatesArthur Mollin Art Riley
United StatesUnited States
TVR Grantura 9
19th S 2.0 47 United StatesUnited States Andre Prefontaine United StatesUnited StatesAndre Prefontaine Peter Roberts
Lotus 47 181
20th P 3.0 3 GermanyGermany Porsche System Engineering Ltd. United StatesUnited States Scooter Patrick Richard Attwood Joe Buzzetta
United KingdomUnited Kingdom
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 908 145
21st P 3.0 1 GermanyGermany Porsche System Engineering Ltd. SwitzerlandSwitzerlandJo Siffert Vic Elford
United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Porsche 908 109
22nd GT 2.0 97 United StatesUnited States Herrington Motors Inc. United StatesUnited StatesWilliam Herrington Rick Mansfield Jerry Walsh
United StatesUnited States
United StatesUnited States
MGB GT 106
23 S 2.0 58 CanadaCanada Jacques Duval CanadaCanadaJacques Duval Jean-Paul Ostiguy
Porsche 906 105
24 GT 2.0 86 CanadaCanada Craig Hill CanadaCanadaCraig Hill Bill Brack
Triumph GT6 91
25th GT + 2.0 9 United StatesUnited States Sunray-DX Oil Co. United StatesUnited States Don Yenko Dave Morgan
United StatesUnited States
Chevrolet Corvette 427 84
26th P 3.0 10 United KingdomUnited Kingdom John Woolfe Racing United KingdomUnited Kingdom John Woolfe David Piper
United KingdomUnited Kingdom
Chevron B12 26th
27 P 2.0 33 United StatesUnited States Ausca Racing Inc. United StatesUnited StatesHorst Kwick John Martino
United StatesUnited States
Alfa Romeo T33 / 2 17th
28 P 3.0 4th GermanyGermany Porsche System Engineering Ltd. United StatesUnited States George Follmer Joe Buzzetta
United StatesUnited States
Porsche 908 13

Only in the entry list

Here you will find teams, drivers and vehicles that were originally registered for the race but did not take part for a variety of reasons.

Item class No. team driver chassis
29 GT + 2.0 62 United StatesUnited States Lodge steak house United StatesUnited StatesDon Yenko John Bushell
United StatesUnited States
Chevrolet Corvette 427

Class winner

class driver driver vehicle Placement in the overall ranking
P 3.0 United StatesUnited States Dick Thompson United StatesUnited States Ray Heppenstall Howmet TX Continental Rank 3
P 2.0 United StatesUnited States Charlie Kolb United StatesUnited States Ricardo Rodriguez Ferrari Dino 206S Rank 7
S 5.0 BelgiumBelgium Jacky Ickx BelgiumBelgium Lucien Bianchi Ford GT40 Overall victory
S 2.0 United StatesUnited States Werner Frank United StatesUnited States Ralph Trieschmann Porsche 906E Rank 4
GT + 2.0 United StatesUnited States Bob Johnson United StatesUnited States Robert Johnson Chevrolet Corvette 427 Rank 11
GT 2.0 United StatesUnited States Bert Everett United StatesUnited States Peter Gregg Porsche 911T Rank 8

Racing data

  • Registered: 29
  • Started: 28
  • Valued: 15
  • Race classes: 6
  • Spectator: unknown
  • Race day weather: hot and dry
  • Route length: 3.701 km
  • Driving time of the winning team: 6:00: 26.080 hours
  • Total laps of the winning team: 286
  • Total distance of the winning team: 1058.626 km
  • Winner's average: 176.225 km / h
  • Pole position: Jo Siffert - Porsche 908 (# 1) - 1: 10.200 = 189.820 km / h
  • Fastest race lap: Jacky Ickx - Ford GT40 (# 5) - 1: 11.100 = 187.418 km / h
  • Racing series: 8th round of the 1968 World Sports Car Championship


  • Peter Higham: The Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing. A complete Reference from Formula 1 to Touring Car. Guinness Publishing Ltd., London 1995, ISBN 0-85112-642-1 .

Web links

Previous race
1000 km at Spa-Francorchamps 1968
Sports car world championship Follow
-up race 500 km race from Zeltweg 1968