The life of an endurance car is a tough one- just ask the drivers that have piloted such cars in races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But when you take the idea of an endurance car and apply it to a vehicle from the classic era, you get a whole different beast. Take, for example, the 1963 Ford Falcon that car gurus Richard and Andrew Frankel piloted this year with DRIVE’s own Chris Harris for the Spa Six Hours endurance race in Belgium. This classic Ford is far from what some would consider a good endurance vehicle, but on the latest episode of DRIVE’s Chris Harris on Cars, Harris shows just what this American classic is capable of.
With lightweight parts, a 400+hp 289ci Ford motor, ZZ-rated tires and a mix of small front discs and rear drum brakes, the 2,755lb Falcon is a beast on the track. Of course, the car doesn’t compete in modern endurance races like you’re used to seeing teams like Corvette Racing compete in.
Rather, the Falcon holds its own against other classic-era vehicles like AC Cobras, Ford GT40s, Jaguar Type Es, Mustang Shelbys, Porsche 911s and Ferrari 250LMs that compete in the unique vintage-style endurance race that is the Spa Six Hours.
Set on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps road course, the Spa Six Hours pins legendary cars from yester-year against one another in a test of speed, skill and stamina. The race runs from late afternoon into the depths of night, giving drivers not only the challenges of competition but also of changing track conditions, visibility and car performance.
After having to retire their Falcon early at last year’s race, the Frankels and Harris were optimistic about keeping up with their fellow classic competition this year. With the team’s overall qualifying position putting them 38th out of a field of 104 cars, as well as the tweaks they made to the car giving them better grip and tire reliability, the Falcon went into the September 22nd race ready to bring the heat.
Unfortunately, alternator issues and broken rods ended the Falcon’s 6-hour race prematurely again this year, but watching the car cruise around a road course among other classic cars is a sight we won’t soon forget. If anyone’s looking for an item to add to your ever growing automotive bucket list, the Spa Six Hours is definitely on the top of our list.