The legendary Le Mans rivalry between Ford and Ferrari: a battle for glory

In motorsport, few stories are as fascinating and full of drama as the rivalry between Ferrari and Ford in the 60s. That “conflict” wasn’t just a battle to win the 24h of Le Mans, but it was at a personal level, a duel full of technological innovation and an unforgettable chapter in the history of cars.
Everything began at the start of that decade when Henry Ford II, who was focused on revolutionizing his brand, looked at Ferrari, which was at the time the most prestigious manufacturer of racing cars. Ford offered to buy it, but after many negotiations, Enzo Ferrari declined, offending Mr. Ford. That did not just stop the agreements but started a rivalry that would become legendary.
Because as an answer, Ford started the GT40 project, with the explicit objective of beating Ferrari on its favourite field: racing. More precisely, the 24h of Le Mans. The car’s name was due to its height, being only 40 inches, that would focus only on its performance. Ford hired Carroll Shelby, who had already won the race, to improve the car after a difficult start. He made the necessary changes that transformed the GT40 in a car that was able to compete against Ferrari.
The rivalry peaked in 1966, with Ford that showed supremacy by winning the race and occupying the entire podium, with Bruce Mclaren and Chris Amon winning. This victory started many years of Ford winning Le Mans, with four wins in a row. A great change that shifted forever those races.
The battle was beyond the track. It was about showing its strength, engineering kills and determination. But, aside that, this story helped creating the legend of Le Mans, with a story full of pasion and innovation.
The GT40 became more than just a car. It was a sign of vengeance, design and engineering. Its Le Mans victory wasn’t just a matter of speed, but resilience, reliability, and strategies. This story became an unforgettable chapter in the histories of Ford, Ferrari, and the French race. To remind the enthusiasts how much determination and innovation can transform brave dreams into reality.
This rivalry is one of the most electrifying period in sports history. What Le Mans enthusiasts learned in that period still influences the design and the technology behind cars. A tale that, to this day, is enjoyed by whoever loves stories of challenges, effort, and humanity.
RACEFEVER: you can’t rule speed
Tommaso Fatichi


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