When Did Ford Beat Ferrari In Le Mans?

In 1964, Ford Motor Company began making an effort to defeat Ferrari at Le Mans. After two disastrous seasons in which Fords were unable to even complete the race, the American carmaker experienced an exciting 1-2-3 sweep in 1966. On the podium, Henry Ford II celebrated the decisive victory alongside the two New Zealand-born race winners, Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.

Ford desired for his vehicles to arrive at the same time.

The decision to end the race in a manner that would solidify Ford’s growing racing supremacy and openly display Ferrari’s strength as a track leader was made in the pits with Ford now poised to dethrone Ferrari. In order for three Ford cars to cross the finish line at once, Leo Beebe, then-director of Ford racing, came up with the idea of staging a dead heat by having the leading teams slow down and pull alongside one another.

Despite being informed by track officials that a dead-heat stunt win like the one intended would not be possible owing to the race’s staggered start, Beebe persisted, and the vehicles crossed the finish line side by side. Ford had finally defeated Ferrari in front of a large audience.

Ford won every podium position in 1966 at Le Mans after traveling more than 3,000 miles at an average pace of almost 130 mph. The Miles crew came in a little bit behind the McLaren squad after slowing down to account for the Ford finish decision. In the event that they had arrived simultaneously as anticipated, McLaren would have won despite starting the race a few positions behind Miles and covering a little more ground overall.

“Regrettably, Ken Miles, who passed away subsequently, didn’t take first place that year. To be honest, I struggled a lot with that “Hemmings quotes Beebe as saying that the decision to have a dead heat was made. “He was, however, a daredevil, so I drew him in and essentially arranged the end of that race, with the numbers one, two, and three. I called Ken Miles in and kept him back out of concern that the drivers would collide. All it takes is one fortunate mishap to wipe out all of your investment.”

Two months after the Le Mans race, Miles lost his life while testing the new Ford GT40 at Riverside International Raceway in Southern California. His car abruptly flipped and burst into pieces as he neared the back straight of the race at full speed, ejecting Miles, who perished instantly.

Ford’s convincing victory over Ferrari in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans has not been subject to speculation despite decades of heated debate over the decision to conclude the race in such a carefully orchestrated manner. Ford would return to Le Mans in 1967, 1968, and 1969, capitalize on its investment and podium finish, and win the event once more in each year.

The Ford v Ferrari film, featuring Christian Bale as Ken Miles and Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby, brought the tale of Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby, and Ford’s GT40 defeating Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 to the attention of the world. But what was the actual sequence of events that led to what happened?

As you might anticipate from a Hollywood movie, the plotline strayed from reality a bit. What portions of the movie are therefore accurate, and what details were exaggerated for artistic and dramatic effect? Check out the second in a series of videos covering the actual race and the movie in the one up top (part 1 can be viewed below).

At a race in California, did Ken Miles actually throw a wrench at Shelby? Has he ever thrown a punch at him in public? Was Ford management sabotaging Miles after he had a multiple-lap lead at Le Mans because they wanted their other drivers to win? At the finish line, what actually transpired? What did the actual podium scenario look like?

Using exclusive footage from Motorsport.tv’s Le Mans archive and images from Motorsport Images, we tell the story of what actually happened with interviews with a number of motorsport experts, including Miles’s son Peter, who was a young boy when all the real-life drama unfolded. Tom Kristensen, a nine-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, serves as the narration.

Le Mans 24 Hours

The 34th Grand Prix of Endurance, which took place on June 18 and 19, 1966, was the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 1966 World Sportscar Championship seventh round was also held at this event. Since Jimmy Murphy’s victory with Duesenberg at the 1921 French Grand Prix, this was both the first overall victory at Le Mans for the Ford GT40 and the first victory for an American constructor in a significant European race. Henri Pescarolo, who later set the record for the most Le Mans starts, and Jacky Ickx, whose record of six Le Mans triumphs remained until Tom Kristensen surpassed it in 2005, both made their Le Mans debuts.

The 34th round of the 24 Hours of Le Mans featured a battle of the titans between Ford and Ferrari. Henry Ford II arrived in La Sarthe with no fewer than eight models of the brand-new GT40 MkII, determined to end Ferrari’s decade-long dominance.

This new model’s 7-litre V8 engine saw a significant change in its undercarriage. Ferrari entered three 330 P3s in response, sticking to its 4-liter V12 engine.

When did the Ford GT40 triumph against Ferrari?

This article is about the winning racing vehicle from the 1960 Le Mans. See Ford GT for the supercar that was inspired by it. See DEC GT40 for more information about the graphic computer terminal made by Digital Equipment Corporation. Ford GT is a trademark (disambiguation).

The Ford Motor Company commissioned the high-performance endurance racing Ford GT40. It developed from the “Ford GT” (for Grand Touring) project, an attempt to fight against Ferrari in renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans races in Europe from 1960 to 1965. Ford had success with the GT40, winning the competitions from 1966 until 1969.

The project got underway when Ford Advanced Vehicles in Slough, UK, started producing the GT40 Mk I, which was based on the Lola Mk6. The engineering team was relocated to Dearborn, Michigan in 1964 as a result of dismal race performances (Kar Kraft). Several American-built Ford V8 engines that had been adapted for racing powered the range.

The GT40 Mk II ended Ferrari’s winning streak at Le Mans in 1966, becoming the first American manufacturer to win a significant European race since Jimmy Murphy’s Duesenberg victory at the 1921 French Grand Prix. The Mk IV was the only vehicle wholly developed and produced in the United States to take home the overall Le Mans victory in 1967.

The Mk I, the oldest of the vehicles, won in 1968 and 1969, becoming the second chassis to do so. (Until the Ferrari 275P chassis 0816 was found to have won the 1964 race after winning the 1963 race in 250P format and with an 0814 chassis plate, this Ford/Shelby chassis, #P-1075, was thought to have been the first.) With the addition of bespoke alloy Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads, its American Ford V8 engine’s 4.7-liter displacement capacity (289 cubic inches) was increased to 4.9 liters (302 cubic inches).

The “40” stood for its minimum permitted height of 40 inches (1.02 m), measured at the windshield. The initial 12 “prototype” cars had serial numbers ranging from GT-101 to GT-112. The Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, and Mk IV were officially referred to as “GT40s” once “production” started and were given the numbers GT40P/1000 through GT40P/1145. J1–J12 were the Mk IVs’ serial numbers.

Why didn’t Ford win the 1966 Le Mans?

The image of a showy Ford victory was fantastic publicity since Ford executives had told the drivers of all three cars to cross the finish line together. That required creating a tie for first place because the first two cars were competing on the same lap. Eleven laps later, the #5 in third place.

The #1 was in front as the race approached its final hour. On the 347th lap, Ken Miles took over the controls. The #2 car, which had already refueled and wouldn’t require another pit stop, trailed him by 34 seconds. According to Carroll Shelby’s instructions, he was running 4-minute laps. The #2 was occasionally going quicker than 3:54. As a result, as of lap 351, the two vehicles were side by side and remained so until the finish. Who was first, though?

According to the legend, there was a brief uproar when the race commentator, whose view of the finish line was less than optimum, declared the #1 the winner. Race Heritage & Museum Director Fabrice Bourrigaud continues the narrative: It was nearly difficult to win a photo finish. You must keep in mind that it was raining and that the low clouds made visibility nearly nonexistent. Only a few centimeters of the finish line are thick. Drivers have a small field of vision and are basically seated at track level. To pull off a prank like that wasn’t the best use of any of those. As the final straight approached, Car #1 had a tiny lead. Has Miles slowed down while waiting for McLaren? Has McLaren picked up speed to catch up? Is that how the #2 gained an advantage? Or was it a calculated action to secure a victory? a

Whatever the situation, Miles and Hulme (#1) led the race by 34 seconds with an hour to go, a lead that would have been challenging to close under normal circumstances. The #2 had previously led the race for four hours. Everyone eventually followed the rules. Professional drivers followed instructions, and officials followed the rules.

How many Le Mans victories did Ferrari claim?

Four different nations combined have only produced one champion. With 19 victories since their debut in 1970, Porsche has the most victories as a manufacturer. Ferrari is third with 9 victories, Audi is second with 13 victories, and

When did Ferrari last win the Le Mans race?

The Ferrari 250 LM was intended to replace the 250 GTO in the GT class but was denied entrance because fewer than the needed 100 cars were constructed, according to the FIA. Due to this, the 250 LM had to be put in the prototype class where it would face off against vehicles like the Ford GT40.

Ferrari’s final victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans would come in 1965. Ford vs. Ferrari, favoring the latter for the last time.

How many Le Mans victories did Ford claim?

5 Titles for Ford The Le Mans 66 movie immortalized the 1966 race, and the Ford GT40 went on to become a supercar in motorsport lore. In 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1975, Ford won.

Ford vs. Ferrari: Who Won in 1966?

The actual world Le Mans ’66 came to a thrilling conclusion with a historic result as all three Ford vehicles tied for first place when they passed the finish line.

Is a Ferrari quicker than a Ford GT?

Although we won’t constantly use the F8 as a primary benchmark, Ford tops it at top speed by 5 mph to start. 211 mph in the prancing horse against 216 mph in the blue oval-badged automobile. Although 5 mph may not seem like much, it actually expedites travel.

A Chevy victory at Le Mans?

SEBRING, Florida – After the Corvette C8, Chevrolet won the GT Le Mans Manufacturers championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship today.

Which automaker has won the most Le Mans races?

The rules were altered for 2014, most notably by requiring closed cockpits in all LMP1 vehicles, making various adjustments to the hybrid system, and implementing the slow zone system.

In 2014, Porsche returned to Le Mans with a brand-new factory LMP1 program, and Nissan did the same in 2015. Nissan quit after just one try in 2015, and Audi quit the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.

With its hybrid919, Porsche won the race in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The company is still the most successful at Le Mans, with 19 victories overall, including seven straight from 1981 to 1987.

All prototype cars must now have closed cockpits because revisions to the LMP2 regulations governing the cockpit and chassis were adopted in 2017.