1968 Alfa Romeo T33/2 ‘Le Mans’
Above Images ©Supercars.net @ Rosso Biano Museum
For the 1968 Le Mans, Autodelta SpA created a long-tail variant of their T33/2 for higher top speeds down the Mulsanne Straight. The longer bodywork helped the 2.0-liter car reach speeds nearing 185 mph. For stability in long sweep turns like the Porsche Curves, two small fins were added near the trailing edge.
Like the T33/2 Daytona, the 1968 design was updated with much larger side intakes for the engine and brakes. The new body was fitted to a chassis very similar to the 1967 car with its large-diameter H-frame chassis that also carried the fuel. The 270 bhp, 2-liter, aluminum V8 was retained to avoid a costly engine development program, but throughout the season journalists hinted that a 3-liter version was coming down the pipe line.
The ‘Le Mans’ long-tail T33/2 first appeared at the 1968 Le Mans test days where the two cars were 6th and 8th on the timing sheets. The GT40s were favorites for outright victory, while the Alfas were aiming for a class victory against the Porsche 910 and Ferrari Dino 206S.
The actual race was delayed for several months and was run on the weekend of September 28th. Four cars were entered by Autodelta SpA and they were all driven by Italian drivers. Autodelta also supported two more cars for the private Racing Team VDS of Belgium. Nino Vaccarella placed 14th in qualifying, the fastest 2.0-liter car, which hinted at more success to come. One of the VDS cars blew an engine early on and the favored team of Nino Vaccarella and Giancarlo Baghetti was out with fuel starvation about half way through the race. Fortunately, the remaining cars were reliable enough to finish in 4th, 5th and 6th which swept the 2.0-liter results.