Ford v Ferrari revisited – separating Le Mans '66 fact from movie fiction

The story of Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby and Ford’s GT40 beating Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 was showcased to the world via the Ford v Ferrari movie, starring Christian Bale as Miles and Matt Damon as Shelby. But what was the real story of how it happened, and what happened next?

As you’d expect from a Hollywood blockbuster, the plotline played a little fast and loose with reality. So which parts of the film are true and which elements are stretched for artistic and dramatic effect?

Did Ken Miles really throw a wrench at Shelby at a race in California? Did he ever punch him in the face in the street? How did Miles lose a multiple-lap lead at Le Mans – was it sabotage from Ford management, who wanted its other drivers to win? What really happened at the finish line? And what did the podium scene actually look like?

Narrated by nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, using exclusive footage from Motorsport.tv’s Le Mans archive and photographs from Motorsport Images, we tell the story of what really happened featuring interviews with a host of motorsport experts – and Miles’s son Peter, who was a young boy when all the real-life drama unfolded.

Ford v Ferrari – what happened next after Le Mans 1966?

Following Miles’s death in testing just months after Le Mans ’66, Ford suffered another blow when Ferrari’s new 330 P4 blew away its GT40s in the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours, scoring a humbling 1-2-3 victory.

But Shelby had the answer with an all-new, American-built machine called the Mark IV. With legendary drivers Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt, it got its revenge at Le Mans after a fantastic race – which includes a moment when the leaders came to halt out on track in the most bizarre stand-off in motorsport history!

Narrated by nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, using exclusive footage from Motorsport.tv’s Le Mans archive and photographs from Motorsport Images, we tell the story of what happened next featuring interviews with a host of motorsport experts – and Miles’s son Peter, who chillingly recounts the day his father died...

Watch – Le Mans 1966: What Happened Next

As a bonus ‘DVD extra’, here’s US Editor David Malsher-Lopez, interviewing the stars of the movie – Matt Damon and Christian Bale:

shares
comments
Magnussen: "Hard to comprehend" extent of Le Mans bad luck
Previous article

Magnussen: "Hard to comprehend" extent of Le Mans bad luck

Next article

GTE Pro Le Mans winner Calado explains pre-race Corvette contact

GTE Pro Le Mans winner Calado explains pre-race Corvette contact
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide

The 90th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours is here. Here's Autosport's run down of the full field and who to look out for in each class

Le Mans
Jun 11, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Plus

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Plus

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

The GTE class faces a time of transition, with Ferrari and Porsche both committing resources to Hypercar programmes for next year's World Endurance Championship and GT3 cars confirmed to take over from 2024. But at its pomp in the recent past, the GTE Pro class pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022