Ford vs Ferrari is a US-based sports drama film that was released in 2019. The story of the Ford vs. Ferrari film was scripted by John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller, and Jez Butterworth. The director of the film is James Mangold. Christian Bale and Matt Damon starred in the film and the supporting roles were played by Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon, and Noah Jupe. In certain European nations, the film was released with the name Le Mans 66.
The plot of the Ford vs. Ferrari story centers around a gritty squad of British and US-based automotive designers and engineers headed by British motorist Ken Miles and car designer Carroll Shelby. Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca and Henry Ford II send them with the assignment of developing Ford GT40, a novel sports vehicle that will have the capacity to ultimately conquer the recurrently leading Scuderia Ferrari, the Italian sports motoring squad at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966 contest in France.
During the initial phases of the production of the film, the casting team of the Ford vs Ferrari story picked Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise for the lead roles. However, the plan did not materialize. Subsequently, Mangold was recruited in 2018 February, and Christian Bale, Matt Damon, and other members of the cast came together in the summer same year. Shooting for the film started in July that year in California. The Ferrari vs ford film took just more than 60 days to complete.
Ford vs. Ferrari Cast
The cast of the Ford vs Ferrari story comprised the following:
- Christian Bale acted as Ken Miles, expert racing car motorist and Second World War ex-serviceman from Britain
- Matt Damon played the role of Carroll Shelby, ex-racing car motorist from the US, carmaker and vehicle designer
- Caitriona Balfe played the role of Mollie Miles, the wife of Ken Miles
- Jon Bernthal acted as Lee Iacocca, Ford VP
- Josh Lucas played the role of Leo Beebe, Senior Executive VP of Ford
- Tracy Letts acted as Henry Ford II, the Chief Executive Officer of Ford and automotive innovator Henry Ford’s grandson
- Remo Girone played the role of Enzo Ferrari, originator of Ferrari and its car racing squad Scuderia Ferrari
- Noah Jupe acted as Peter Miles, the son of Ken Miles
- JJ Feild played the role of Roy Lunn, a technologist with Ford who took part in the GT40 project
- Ray McKinnon acted as Phil Remington
- Corrado Invernizzi played the role of Franco Gozzi, the man Friday of Enzo Ferrari
- Jack McMullen acted as Charlie Agapiou
- Ian Harding played the role of Ian, a Ford supervisor
- Joe Williamson acted as Donald N. Frey, Ford Chief Engineer
- Jonathan LaPaglia played the role of Eddie
- Christopher Darga acted as John Holman
Is Ford vs. Ferrari a true story?
Yes, the film is based on a true story. The Ford vs Ferrari true story goes like this. In 1963, Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca, the Vice President of the Ford Motor Company, suggested Henry Ford II for buying the broke Ferrari S.p. A. This was an endeavor to enhance their auto sales by taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the oldest racing car event in the world organized in France. Nonetheless, Enzo Ferrari, the founder of Ferrari Motors, utilized the bid extended by Ford for sealing a more profitable contract with Fiat S.p.A., which enabled him to keep absolute control on Scuderia Ferrari.
While refusing the contract proposal with Ford, Enzo Ferrari deliberately abused both Henry Ford II and Ford Motor Company. As a reaction, an enraged Ford instructed his sports car department for fabricating a vehicle to outperform Ferrari at Le Mans. To accomplish this assignment, Carroll Shelby, the proprietor of Shelby American, Inc. got recruited by Iacocca. Shelby also worked as a motorist who became triumphant in 1959 Le Mans. However, Shelby had to seek retirement from his profession because of a cardiac ailment. Successively, Carroll Shelby solicits the assistance of Ken Miles. Miles was an irascible motorist from Britain and a careworn mechanic. Besides, he was the closest friend of Carroll.
The Ford GT40 Mk I model got tested by Miles and Shelby at the Los Angeles International Airport. They figured out all the defects in its fabrication and rectified them till the time it is geared up for the much-awaited contest. Taking into consideration that Ken Miles was not the perfect person to sit behind the wheels, Ford decided to refer Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1965 as an alternative. As forecasted by Ken Miles, none of the Ford motors could complete the race. Though Ford considered this as an embarrassing loss, Shelby clarified the whole matter to him. Shelby told Ford that at attaining 350.8 km/h (218 mph), the GT40 filled Ferrari’s mind with anxiety near the Mulsanne Straight ahead of breaking down.
Miles and Shelby kept improving the GT40 Mk II. However, Miles became almost dead after the vehicle experienced brake fade at the time of trial. Leo Beebe, the Senior VP of Ford Motor Company, took over the sports car segment of the company in 1966. The plan was to carry on with the project in the absence of Miles. Shelby offered a ride in the vehicle to Ford, gambling his firm for persuading Henry Ford to consent that in the event of Miles becoming victorious in The 24 Hours of Daytona, he would be permitted to contest at Le Mans.
Subsequently, Shelby American, Inc. gets into Daytona. However, Leo Beebe registered the participation of a 2nd Ford with the Holman-Moody Nascar squad backing it. Though the Holman-Moody squad had faster refueling stops, Shelby had Ken Miles entrusted to thrust his vehicle to the tachometer redline with 7,000 rpm. As a result, he became triumphant in the race.
When the Le Mans 66 took place, Ken Miles faced difficulty with a defective door at the time of the opening lap. However, Phil Remington, the engineer of the squad solved the problem using a mallet (hammer). Miles started to establish records with every lap simultaneously getting even with the Ferraris. At the time of contesting with Lorenzo Bandini, the motorist of Ferrari driving the new Ferrari model 330 P3, Miles’ brakes failed and he got his braking arrangement substituted at the time of his refueling stop.
Ferrari dissented the action. However, Shelby could satisfy the contest functionaries that the substitution was legitimate. Bandini and Miles once more vied with each other on the Mulsanne Straight till the time Bandini’s engine got blown, resulting in the disqualification of the Ferrari vehicle from the contest. Having three Ford squads in the top ranks, Leo Beebe commanded Shelby that Miles retard the speed for the other two vehicles from Ford to become equal with him. As a result, the press would get a three-vehicle photo finish.
At first, Ken Miles was opposing this move by Beebe, carrying on establishing fresh lap records close to the finish of the contest. However, he ultimately chose to allow Ford to fulfill their goal on the last lap. Eventually, McLaren was held as the winner of the contest on technical grounds. However, Ken Miles was obliged to Shelby for extending him the chance to contest at Le Mans 66.
Two months after this famous contest of Le Mans 66, at the time of the trial of the J-car, Miles once more had brake fail and died in the ensuing accident. After six months, Carroll Shelby called on Peter, Mile’s son, and Mollie, his widow. He gifted Peter a wrench which Ken flung at him in 1963 ahead of conquering a Willow Springs SCCA contest.
Ford carried on with its victorious run at Le Mans in three consecutive years (67, 68, and 69). In 2001, Miles found his place in the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America post his death.