Ford vs Ferrari
In 1963, Ford Motor Company Vice President Lee Iacocca proposes to Henry Ford II to purchase the Italian cash-strapped Ferrari as a means to boost their car sales by participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Enzo Ferrari however, uses Ford’s offer to secure a more lucrative deal with Fiat that allows him to retain complete ownership of Scuderia Ferrari. In rejecting the proposed deal with Ford, Ferrari also intentionally insults both Ford Motor and Henry Ford II. In response, a furious Ford orders his racing division to build a car to defeat Ferrari at Le Mans. For this task, Iacocca hires Shelby American owner Carroll Shelby, a former driver who won Le Mans in 1959 but was forced to retire due to a heart condition. In turn, Shelby enlists the help of Ken Miles, a hot-tempered British racer and struggling mechanic, and Shelby’s best friend.
Shelby and Miles test the Ford GT40 Mk I prototype at Los Angeles International Airport, working out all of its design flaws until it is race-ready. Thinking that Miles is not their ideal driver, Ford opts to send Phil Hill and Bruce McLaren to the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans instead. As predicted by Miles, none of the Fords finish the race. While Ford sees this as a humiliating defeat, Shelby explains to him that the GT40 instilled fear in Enzo Ferrari, as it reached 218 mph (350.8 km/h), on the Mulsanne Straight before it broke down. Shelby and Miles continue development on the GT40 Mk II, but Miles is nearly killed when the car has brake fade during testing. In 1966, Ford Senior Vice President Leo Beebe takes over the racing division, with the intent to continue the program without Miles, but Shelby gives Ford a ride in the car and wagers his own company to convince Ford to agree that if Miles wins the 24 Hours of Daytona, he will be allowed to race at Le Mans.
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