This was the defining decade for the Le Mans 24 Hours. It started with six consecutive victories by Ferrari, overwhelming Aston Martin and Maserati. But then Ford threw its all-American dollars at the race and won it four times in a technically exciting period that also brought the competitive emergence of brands such as Alfa Romeo, Matra, Porsche and Renault. The participation of great automobile manufacturers spurred the development of many iconic racing cars: Ferrari Testa Rossa and GTO, Ford GT40 and Daytona Cobra, Porsche 904 and 917. The machines that were specially built for Le Mans evolved through the decade from front-engined brutes to mid-engined monsters. By the end of the period, many of them could achieve more than 200mph (300kph) on the awesome straights that defined the race, thrilling as many as 300,000 spectators at trackside. Almost 50 companies built cars that were raced at Le Mans in the 1960s. The 24 Hours became an annual cauldron of corporate rivalry and a high-speed proving ground for innovative automobile technologies. Above all, it became an incomparably arduous and complex challenge to man and machine that captured the imagination of the public the world over.