Was Ford Vs Ferrari A True Story

Title: Ford vs Ferrari: The True Story behind the Epic Rivalry


The 2019 film “Ford v Ferrari” captivated audiences worldwide, depicting the incredible true story of the fierce rivalry between two automotive giants: Ford Motor Company and Ferrari. Directed by James Mangold and starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the movie shed light on one of the most memorable chapters in motorsport history. In this article, we will delve into the true events that inspired the film, exploring seven interesting facts that showcase the real-life drama and intensity behind Ford vs Ferrari.

Fact 1: The Genesis of the Rivalry

The rivalry between Ford and Ferrari began in the early 1960s. Enzo Ferrari, the founder of Scuderia Ferrari, was considering selling his company to Ford. However, after a contentious negotiation, Ferrari abruptly backed out, leaving Henry Ford II infuriated and determined to beat Ferrari at their own game – the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Fact 2: Carroll Shelby’s Role

Carroll Shelby, a former race car driver, played a pivotal role in Ford’s quest to defeat Ferrari. Tasked with leading Ford’s racing division, Shelby assembled a team of talented engineers and mechanics to build a car capable of challenging Ferrari’s dominance. His relentless pursuit of victory and his unyielding determination made him a central figure in the Ford vs Ferrari saga.

Fact 3: The Birth of the GT40

To defeat Ferrari, Ford developed the GT40, a revolutionary race car that would become an icon of the era. The GT40’s name derived from its height, which measured only 40 inches (approx. 101 cm). With its sleek design and powerful engine, the GT40 aimed to outperform Ferrari’s renowned vehicles on the track.

Fact 4: Ford’s Initial Struggles

Ford faced numerous obstacles on their path to Le Mans glory. The early iterations of the GT40 suffered from mechanical failures and poor performance, leading to disappointing results. The company’s lack of experience in endurance racing became evident, but their determination to succeed remained unwavering.

Fact 5: The Triumph of 1966

In 1966, Ford’s perseverance paid off when they secured a historic victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The GT40 took the first three positions, ending Ferrari’s streak of dominance at the prestigious endurance race. This triumph marked a turning point in the Ford vs Ferrari rivalry and solidified Ford’s reputation as a true contender in motorsport.

Fact 6: The Legendary Drivers

Ford’s success at Le Mans was not only attributed to the GT40 but also to the skilled drivers who piloted these powerful machines. The film highlights the iconic partnership between Carroll Shelby and British driver Ken Miles, whose exceptional driving skills and unwavering determination played a pivotal role in Ford’s victory.

Fact 7: Lasting Legacy

Ford’s victory at Le Mans in 1966 was followed by three consecutive wins in the years that followed, securing their dominance in endurance racing. The Ford GT40 became an emblem of American automotive engineering and a symbol of Ford’s triumph over Ferrari. The legacy of this intense rivalry continues to resonate in the world of motorsport today.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is “Ford v Ferrari” based on a true story?
Yes, the film is based on the true events surrounding Ford’s attempt to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2. Did Ford really try to buy Ferrari?
Yes, Ford made a failed attempt to buy Ferrari in the early 1960s, which ultimately led to the intense rivalry between the two companies.

3. Who were the key characters in the real-life events?
The key figures in the Ford vs Ferrari rivalry were Enzo Ferrari, Henry Ford II, Carroll Shelby, and Ken Miles.

4. Did Ford win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966?
Yes, Ford achieved a historic victory in 1966, securing the first three positions at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

5. What was the significance of the GT40?
The GT40 was a groundbreaking race car developed by Ford to challenge Ferrari’s dominance. It became an iconic symbol of Ford’s triumph.

6. Were Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles real people?
Yes, Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles were real individuals who played key roles in Ford’s pursuit of victory.

7. How many times did Ford win Le Mans after 1966?
Ford went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for three consecutive years after their initial triumph in 1966.

8. Did Ford’s victory at Le Mans affect Ferrari?
Ford’s victory ended Ferrari’s streak of dominance at Le Mans and had a profound impact on Ferrari’s image and reputation.

9. What happened to Ken Miles after the 1966 victory?
Tragically, Ken Miles died while testing a Ford J-car at Riverside International Raceway in 1966.

10. Did Ford and Ferrari ever reconcile?
In later years, Ford and Ferrari buried the hatchet and developed a mutual respect, collaborating on various projects in the automotive industry.

11. Are there any surviving GT40 cars?
Yes, several GT40 cars from the Le Mans era have been preserved and are highly sought after by collectors.

12. How accurate is the film “Ford v Ferrari”?
While the film takes creative liberties, it stays true to the essence of the real events and characters involved.

13. What impact did Ford’s victory have on American motorsport?
Ford’s victory at Le Mans helped elevate American motorsport to new heights, challenging the dominance of European manufacturers.

14. Did Carroll Shelby continue to be involved in motorsport after the Ford vs Ferrari rivalry?
Yes, Carroll Shelby continued to be involved in racing and went on to establish his own successful performance car company, Shelby American.

15. How does the Ford vs Ferrari rivalry continue to influence motorsport today?
The intense rivalry between Ford and Ferrari remains a testament to the indomitable spirit of competition, inspiring future generations of racers and automotive enthusiasts alike.

In conclusion, the true story behind Ford vs Ferrari is one of perseverance, innovation, and the pursuit of victory. The intense rivalry between these automotive giants continues to captivate audiences, showcasing the enduring legacy of this iconic chapter in motorsport history.

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