DEARBORN - There has been great interest from employees, dealers, partners and Ford fans in the upcoming film Ford v Ferrari (or Le Mans ‘66, as it is known in Europe). The major motion picture starring Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles is slated to arrive in cinemas worldwide next month.
Ford did not have an active role in the production other than providing historical photos and videos for reference. However, from what we’ve seen in official trailers and read in press reviews, the movie looks to an entertaining dramatization of the events surrounding the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race where Ford won a historic victory. Ford entered eight GT40s in the race and ended up sweeping first, second and third places to become the first American automaker to win the world’s most famous endurance race. The remarkable achievements leading to our team’s victory at Le Mans remain a source of pride for our company, employees, partners and family members.
It was a significant undertaking from Ford engineers and team members around the world to develop such an iconic racing car and the story of that remarkable win is one of the most well known in racing history. The Ford vs Ferrari film provides an opportunity to look back with pride on all that was achieved over that period and to recognise everyone who worked so hard to make it happen. It is telling that the producers should choose this story as the one that they want to tell, and shows how even 54 years later, this is such a compelling story for Hollywood to bring to life.
The development of the GT40 and the legacy of those who designed, built, raced and supported its victory continues to be an inspirational and integral part of our commitment to performance and innovation. There is also an interesting parallel between the story of 1966 and our winning return to Le Mans in 2016 – in both cases, a number of the innovations seen on the track quickly found their way in to series production showing the direct link between innovation on the racetrack and innovation on the open roads.
As with almost any Hollywood movie based on a true story, Ford v Ferrari takes dramatic license and is not intended to be a perfect historical record of events. Even so, the spirit of Ford’s and its partners’ triumph in Le Mans coming to the silver screen is a moment we should all enjoy and a moment of pride.
If you would like to know more about the story, there are a number of online resources worth exploring. The links below will direct you to a series of illuminating short videos and documentary films telling the story of this remarkable race.