by Seth Hall
In 1966, Shelby Racing and Ford Motors worked together to take on the race cars of Ferrari in Le mans
One of the most monumental moments in Ford history began when Ford entered the racing division and entered the Le mans. The movie “Ford v Ferrari,” directed by James Mangold, was an extremely exciting movie, one that deserves multiple viewings.
The start of the movie begins with the Le Mans of 1959. Driving an Aston Martin, Carol Shelby, played by Matt Damon, finishes in first place. During this moment of victory, Shelby appeared to enter was seemed like tunnel vison, until it was interrupted by his doctor. It was apparent that Shelby had a medical condition that now prohibits him from racing.
Before Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale is introduced, Shelby’s voice is heard saying his famous quote.
“There’s a point at 7,000 RPMs where everything fades. The machine becomes weightless, it disappears; All that’s left, a body moving through space, and time. At 7,000 RPM, that’s where you meet it. That’s where it waits for you.”
This quote truly stuck with me while watching this movie. There are many moments when the races represent the quote exactly as it sounds. During the time period “Ford v Ferrari” was set, Henry Ford II was president of Ford Motors. While visiting his factory, Ford announced he only wanted those who brought new ideas to his desk to stay with the company. The rest he demanded to walk home as his father once did.
Lee Iacocca, played by Jon Bernthal, was in charge of a team at Ford working to bring sports cars into the line-up for customers. Iacocca is also responsible for the creation of the Mustang, one of the most iconic sports cars to date. Although, in the movie, it appears many disagreed with Iacocca’s plan to bring sports cars to the market, this is where the mention of Ferrari as competition emerges.
This part of the movie bothered me, primarily due to Leo Beebe, played by Josh Lucas arguing about how it’s a horrible idea. Throughout the movie, Beebe, who is the executive vice president of Ford Motors, becomes strongly disliked by Shelby and his best friend and driver Miles. Beebe attempts to take Miles out of the drivers line up when Ford makes the decision to race in the 1966 Le Mans with a new vehicle called the GT40. This was the most frustrating part of the film, as he succeeds for the first race and Miles does not race.
Ironically, Ford loses terribly to Ferrari and pushes Ford to return for a victory. The decision for a driver was now left with Shelby, and he chooses Miles without a second thought. Again, Beebe ruins the situation when he is unexpectedly placed in charge of the planning.
But, Shelby bet Ford II that Miles would win the 24 Hour of Daytona. He agreed to it, and as I watched, I just knew Miles would beat the other Ford driver for the spot in Le Mans. Miles won the race and earned his spot as a driver in the 24-hour long race in France.
Not long into the race, Miles takes a lead on Ferrari’s racers and eventually overtakes all three of them. As the end of the race gets closer, Beebe convinces Ford II to have all three of the Ford racers finish at the same time. This was a horrible moment for Miles, as this robbed him of winning.
Watching this happen is one of the most upsetting moments in the movie, and left a bitter taste in my mouth for Beebe.
At the end of the movie, Shelby and Miles were testing the new GT40 when an unexpected accident resulted in the car crashing, killing Miles instantly. This brought the movie to a close, as well as Shelby’s voice repeating his famous quote heard at the beginning of the film.
This movie was an incredible example of how people who are passionate about what they do and are determined to win can do that exactly. While this movie was incredible at covering the story of Shelby working with Ford Motors to win Le Mans, it was one of the most emotional movies I’ve seen. The story of Ken Miles is incredible and heart breaking at the same time.
This movie earned a 9 out of 10 for me, leaving me amazed and sad with the ending.