This was when the Ford vs Ferrari showdown went gloriously sideways.
Pretty much everyone has heard about Ford getting mad at Ferrari and beating the Italian automaker at Le Mans. It’s an epic tale of an American icon being rejected and then exacting revenge. What you might not know anything about is Le Mans 1965, a race that was stacked with Fords and Ferraris, but pretty much everything you can imagine went wrong.
This race was absolutely stacked with Fords and Ferraris. In fact, there were 12 Ferraris between the factory and private teams, versus 11 Fords. That’s almost half of the cars in the endurance race from two brands, showing that the grudge match that had started with Ferrari walking away from negotiations with Ford had ballooned to ridiculous levels of competition on the track.
As you can hear about in the video, several turns of event knocked out all but one Ford, and two Ferraris from private teams. That meant the Italian automaker had to rely on its allies to win against its bitter American rival. Lucky for Ferrari, one of those 12 cars that lined up at the beginning of the race won, although it was wearing Goodyear tires and not Dunlop, which caused a stir. Nobody knew it at the time, but this non-factory race team was the last to win overall at Le Mans using a Ferrari ever, which is sadly quite amazing. Ferrari didn’t celebrate the win, though, because it wasn’t one of the beloved factory cars.
With the Ford v Ferrari movie coming out later this year, there will be more interest in 1960s Le Mans races than ever. It’s doubtful this 1965 competition will be portrayed on the big screen, so knowing about the crazy outcome actually allows you to introduce some more racing history to your family and friends after they see the movie. As they say, fact is stranger than fiction.
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