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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.

Read Also:

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 Motorsport.com’s US Editor David Malsher, interviewing the stars of the movie – Matt Damon and Christian Bale:

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