Apr. 25, 1965
Ford decided to focus their energy on racing the new GT40 and Shelby American would be responsible for preparing them in 1965. This change would surely have spelled disaster for the Cobra racers. Luckily, a contract was signed with Alan Mann Racing in England to campaign the Coupes in the FIA-sanctioned GT Championship races for the balance of the 1965 season.
Bob Bondurant could not have been prepared for his meeting with Alan Mann; Mann had cast Bondurant as his 'number three' driver! Bob was very unhappy with the arrangement but agreed to race. Teamed with Allen Grant for the 1000 km Di Monza, and with something to prove, the American drivers proceeded to better their English teammates' lap times by several seconds on the bumpy circuit.
Mann, charged with winning the GT Championship, was only interested in ensuring the Coupes finished the race. He showed the 'EZ' pit board to his drivers lap after lap. Bondurant lowered his rev limit, matched revs on his shifts and followed the smoothest (not fastest) line around Monza. Still, he pulled away from the Coupe of Sears/Whitmore and infuriated Mann with his pace.
Regardless, the well prepared Cobras dominated the GT class and Bondurant and Grant in car number 48, chassis CSX 2601, took an easy victory.