American race car designer Carroll Shelby and British race car driver Ken Miles fight with their demons, laws of physics and corporate affairs to build a revolutionary car for Ford Motor Co.
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Almost every automobile geek knows the story of Ferrari and Lamborghini where Enzo Ferrari had insulted Ferrucio Lamborghini by saying – “You are a tractor driver, you are a farmer. You shouldn’t complain driving my cars because they’re the best cars in the world.”, when Lamborghini decided to tell Ferrari about the imperfections he found in his cars.
But very few people are aware about the history created in Le Mans between Ford and Ferrari. The movie Ford v Ferrari (2019) describes the struggle of a race car designer Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and the revenge taken by Henry Ford II (Tracey Letts) against Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) after knowing how Ferrari had refused his business offer and insulted him, his company Ford Motors and the employees as well.
Henry Ford II hires Caroll Shelby, who used to be a champion racer but his hypertension forces him to retire, to design the most unique masterpiece car for Ford. Shelby explains what it feels like to hit 7000 rpm in the car, expresses the time and motion around him as stopped and turned into slow motion moment. On the other hand Shelby hires his old friend Ken Miles, the most talented and volatile driver to inspect the car during its building process. And in the end Miles is the one who enters the race in Le Mans and wins the 24 hour outrageous race.
The movie explains the terms and challenges which a struggling person faces throughout the process before hitting the jackpot. Henry Ford II puts his executive and Director of special vehicles Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) as an in charge of the racing division, and Beebe immediately plans out to get rid of Miles because he doesn’t feel any potential in him. But Miles and Shelby have an ace up their sleeve: They actually know the equation to win races and have their sights set on the 1966 Le Mans.
Avoiding Beebe, Shelby takes Henry Ford II for a ride in the final built car to show him the power of Ford GT40 which is capable of beating a Ferrari.
“You ready?” Shelby asks Ford before the start of their ride to which Ford smugly replies, “I was born ready, Mr. Shelby. Hit it”. But as Shelby picks up speed and bolts down the tarmac, Ford begins to scream like a terrified child, clutching the dashboard for dear life and wails the fact that his father isn’t alive to witness his accomplishment at having built a race car that could rival a Ferrari. And Shelby also explains to him that Ken Miles is the perfect driver to lead the car in the race.
Apparently, Beebe desiring a publicity photo of three of their cars crossing the finish line together, approaches Ford and shares his plan to end the race with 3 of Ford car crossing the finish line together to create a historic photograph of Ford winning the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans . And one the basis, Ken Miles is ordered to slow down and join the 2 other cars and end the race in one line. After a discussion betwen Shelby and Miles, it gets confirmed that it’s upto Miles to win the race alone or portray the name of Ford by lining up all 3 cars and crossing the line, Miles agrees on does what Henry Ford II wishes for. However McLaren is declared the winner on a specific point of detail at the end of the race, but Miles is grateful to Shelby for giving him the opportunity to race at Le Mans.
In August 1966, two months after the race, Miles died in a fiery crash while testing a new car in Riverside, California.
Director James Mangold says the ending shows a different kind of hero in Miles.
“To me, the movie says it’s really hard to be a victor in this world,” says Mangold. “And sometimes the real measure of a man isn’t winning, but it’s actually giving up.”