Shelby American painted the #2 car all black with a branch and the letters "NZ", resembling the uniform of the New Zealand national rugby team, for the Kiwi duo of McLaren and Amon.
When the French national flag dropped at 4pm, signalling the start of the 24 hour marathon, GT40 Mk IIs surged into the lead, dicing with various Ferrari 330s and Phil Hill's Type 2D. The #2 car driven by Bruce McLaren was not designated as a front runner and had been lapped after the first hour, his pace reflected in the fact that he was the last of the Fords to make a fuel stop.
Ford suffered its share of attrition as the race progressed, but several Mk IIs remained at the front of the field as dawn broke over Le Circuit du Sarthe. Miles/Hulme held the lead most of the night, trading the lead briefly with the Gurney/Grant and McLaren/Amon cars and the Bucknum/Hutcherson car never too far behind. With the morning sun came the realization that the last of Ford's competition had crumbled. Even Gurney's #3 eventually retired.
At the last pit stops, competition chief Leo Beebe directed his team to moderate their pace. The big Fords crept around the last lap to form a 1-2-3 photo finish. Though he rounded the last corner in the lead, a puzzling thing happened... Miles, in the #1 car, actually braked to let Bruce McLaren cross the finish line first! Some team members thought Miles was a lap ahead... perhaps even McLaren believed this. Race officials thought differently. In the blink of an eye, McLaren and Amon were handed victory at Le Mans!