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WATCH | This real-life documentary goes behind the scenes of Ford's historic win at Le Mans in 1966

2020-01-14 06:00

Robin Classen

Le mans 1966

Image: Petersen Automotive Museum/Youtube

In 1966, Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and it was a defining moment in their race history.

The manufacturer to beat at the time was Ferrari who recorded five consecutive wins from 1960 to 1965. It was this on-track dominance and a failed merger between the two companies that started the historical chain of events. The objective was simple - beat Ferrari at all costs.

History in the making

After years of extensive tweaking and testing, Ford was ready to take the fight to Ferrari. They entered a total of 15 Mark II, only eight of which were accepted by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO).

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Carroll Shelby International, owned by the aptly named racing legend Carroll Shelby, as well as WWII tank commander and British racer Ken Miles were given the green light to build a car faster than Ferrari's 275 GTB.

The sweetest of victories

After a number of Ferrari's pulled out of the race due to mechanical issues or crashes and Miles setting consistent record laps, the executives at Ford wanted to capture the moment and rub it in Enzo Ferrari's face, even though it cost Miles a victory in a race he craved.

In the end, three GT40's crossed the finish line simultaneously for a photo finish and the team of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon were named the official race winners.

Even though the movie is recent and a Hollywood adaptation, going back to where it began is something that can never be replicated. It also highlights just what a good driver Ken Miles was and the foundation he built which enabled Ford to win at Le Mans again.

Watch the video:

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Read more on:    ford  |  ferrari  |  robin classen  |  motorsport

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