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THE STORY BEHIND THE MOST FIERCE RIVALRY AT LE MANS

It’s a Race like no other, it tests the driver to the ultimate level and pushes manufacturers to make cars that take engineering to the Apex. 24 hours of continuous racing. The Car that covers the most distance in 24 hours is the winner. It’s the Ultimate test of Endurance for Drivers and Manufacturers. Yes, you guessed it right, I am talking about the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Over the years Le Mans has evolved a lot. Cars have got faster, safety standards have been raised and the Track has been tweaked. The Le Mans has quite a great list of incidents that made some of its particular years memorable it also has given birth to some of the greatest rivalries ever seen on the Track. One of those famous rivalries is “Ford vs Ferrari” at the 1964 Le Mans. You all might have seen the movie as well. The car that’s going to be discussed this time is the Ford GT. The Rivalry arose when Ford tried to buy Ferrari but due to some negotiation issues, Ferrari dropped out of the deal and Ford lost millions of Dollars. Moreover, Enzo Ferrari had commented over Ford that they aren’t worthy of buying Ferrari, cause they make ugly Cars in ugly Factories that would never match up to Ferrari. Ford was very pissed at this remark and they went to make the Car to bury Ferrari at Le Mans. The Task of making the car was given to the Man himself, Carol Shelby. After rigorous testing and designing of the car, the GT40 Mk II was born. It looked like no other car in the Race. When the Project started, Ford turned to their Advanced Vehicle group and Ford’s experimental engine division started building the Car. Shelby worked on the engine and improved the reliability issues that the engine was facing. He also went on to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the car by his Famous Yarn experiment. Improving the aerodynamics of the Car led to better handling and stability. The braking system on the car wasn’t good at all, the brake pads used to heat up to 1500 Fahrenheit and the car won’t stop. This posed a serious threat to the safety of the driver. Phil Remington was one of the brake engineers who worked upon the brakes and developed a quick replacement system to change the brakes during the race so that the engineers didn’t need to worry about the brakes lasting for the entire race. Ford had previously lost in Le Mans in 1964 and 1965. So this was a very crucial Race for Ford to win. They wanted their prestige back. So ultimately with the legendary British race car driver Ken miles behind the wheel of the GT40, Ford went to win the 1966 Le Mans. Ford didn’t just win the race, they humiliated the Italians. Not a single Ferrari even completed the race. On the other side, all of the 3 GT40 that raced, finished in a lead. Sadly, Ken miles didn’t live long enough to race at Le Mans again. Unfortunately, Ken Miles died in 1966 while testing one of Ford’s car, he got involved in an accident and couldn’t survive it. In the further years, Ford went on winning the Le Mans in 1967 with the GT40 Mark IV and 1968 and 1969 as well. As for the GT40, it remains one of the most iconic supercars in the world. It’s one of the collector’s favorite Cars around the world. It sells for over half a million dollars and is Ford’s Flagship Car. That’s it for this time Guys!! Chao


Photo bySam Pearce-WarrilowonUnsplash

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