The 24 Hour War
In the early 1960’s, Ford was drastically losing market share to GM and Chevrolet. The Corvette was crushing Ford at the dealerships and on the track. Henry Ford II was desperate to regain the market share his grandfather had worked so hard to build. While watching the 12 Hours of Sebring, Henry Ford II saw a beautiful red solution to his problems -- Henry Ford II decided to buy Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari had been dominating the racing world for decades. A former driver himself, Enzo lived and breathed racing, and the beautiful cars he designed reflected his passion for the sport. Enzo only sold consumer cars to fund his racing, while Ford wanted to win races in order to sell more consumer cars. Talks began between the two companies. After months going back and forth to Italy, Ford was finally ready to buy Ferrari. Ford would now have the answer to all of their problems: a lethally fast car that could easily crush the Corvette and restore their former glory. As the deal was about to close, Enzo Ferrari blew up and walked away. He couldn’t risk Ford interfering with what he loved the most, racing. Henry Ford II was furious; Ferrari had represented a savior to his company, now they were the enemy. He vowed to build a race car that would crush Ferrari on the track, no matter the cost. The track that became the battlefield would be the world’s most famous race – The 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race that Ferrari had been dominating for a decade. The grueling 24 hours of Le Mans is the greatest test of a manufacturer’s prowess on planet earth, and success there showed the entire world exactly who had the preeminent car. Henry Ford II turned the best and brightest minds in the world to developing a race car that could overthrow Ferrari. In 1964, the GT40 was born. The world was watching as Ford showed up at Le Mans. Unfortunately, Ford failed to have one GT40 even complete the race and Ferrari won Le Mans finishing in 1-2-3 in 1964. Now beaten down further, Henry Ford II hired Carroll Shelby, the only man that had proven he could beat Ferrari. Shelby brought with him experience, and a small team of ultra-talented hot-rodders that defeated Ferrari with the Shelby Daytona Coupe. Shelby brought a full team of GT40s to Le Mans in 1965 and again Ferrari dealt Ford and Shelby another crushing defeat, with not even a single GT40 lasting the entire 24 hours. With all of their money, and skilled engineers, Ford couldn’t match Ferrari’s experience, and Henry Ford II was now furious, giving his entire team business cards that said, “win or you’re fired.” Ford returned to Le Mans in 1966 with a vengeance. Ford pulled off the upset against Ferrari, winning the race with a 1-2-3 finish with the GT40s. The success didn’t stop there; as Ford went on to win in 67, 68, and 69. Ford achieved the impossible beating Ferrari. From 1966 to the present, Ferrari never won Le Mans again.
Starring Mario Andretti, A.J. Baime, Bob Bondurant
Director Nate Adams, Adam Corolla