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Ford v Ferrari – separating fact from movie fiction

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Feb 4, 2020, 3:25 PM

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?

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 are false?

Did Ken Miles really throw a wrench at Shelby at a race in California? Did he ever punch him in the face? 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.

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About this article

Series Le Mans
Author Charles Bradley