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Ferrari could face legal action over advertising on new F1 car

Ferrari faces legal action over advertising

Ferrari is facing legal action spearheaded by non-profit consumer rights organisation Codacons. The group claims that the new SF1000 F1 car features illegal advertising.

The dispute concerns the Mission Winnow logos, which reference an initiative with the backing of tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris International. Though it’s claimed there is no direct advertising of tobacco, Codacons says the logos are a get-around of regulations.

Codacons claims it has the backing of Italy’s Ministry of Health in pursuing Ferrari on the issue, saying “the Ministry’s opinion states that ‘the Mission Winnow brand used on the occasion of Formula 1 sporting events allows, through the links on the site of the same name, a promotion, albeit indirectly, to an important manufacturer of cigarettes and new tobacco products’”.

Ferrari faces legal action over advertising

The issue could even result in the seizure of the new car and any associated material featuring the branding.

“Strengthened by the decision of the Ministry, we will start a legal battle against Ferrari, presenting a new complaint to the Antitrust and Ministry of Health,” said Codacons president Carlo Rienzi.

“We will ask the NAS to seize the new SF1000 single-seater presented in Reggio Emilia.”

Ferrari faces legal action over advertising

This isn’t the first time the Scuderia has courted controversy with its association with Mission Winnow. It first ran the logos at the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. However, it eventually removed the logos and shelved its ‘Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow‘ team branding for 11 of the 21 races during last year’s season. The branding was also missing on the car for the F1 2019 game, with SF90 logos taking its place. 

“It is not the first time that Formula 1 or motorbike races have been used to bring back from the window what the law forbids, namely to advertise tobacco and tobacco products,” said Massimiliano Dona, president of the UNC, Italy’s national consumer union. 

“For this reason, we ask the authorities to ascertain the facts and what Mission Winnow really is.”

Ferrari tops Disney as the world’s strongest brand

Ferrari world's strongest brand 2020

Ferrari has been ranked the world’s strongest brand for the second year in a row. That’s according to the Brand Finance Global 500 report for 2020.

A brand strength index score of 94.1 out of 100 earns Ferrari the top spot on the list. It’s ahead of 11 other brands to have been awarded the highest AAA+ rating. It did, however, drop slightly from its 2019 score of 94.8.

Ferrari is also the only automotive brand to get an AAA+ rating. It defeated second-placed Disney (93.9), which spent more than seven-times the total brand value of Ferrari on film and TV assets owned by Fox.

Coca Cola, meanwhile, came sixth, with a score of 90.9 in the BSI index.

Ferrari world's strongest brand 2020

In the name of preserving exclusivity, Ferrari plans to cut licencing agreements by 50 percent, and eliminate 30 percent of its product categories. Could that mean cheap Ferrari aftershave is a thing of the past?

The brand value of Ferrari grew to nearly £7 billion last year: a year-on-year rise of nine percent. The result is that, overall, Ferrari is 206th in the top 500 most valuable brands. It climbs from 220th place in 2019.

Ferrari world's strongest brand 2020

Its success partly due to a new model offensive. Last year saw the marque introduce five new cars, including the SF90, a new supercar designed to deliver hybrid-hypercar performance, and the Roma, a higher-volume GT.

In terms of other areas of its business, Ferrari also closed a deal with the Giorgio Armani Group for the manufacturing of its clothing.

Ferrari world's strongest brand 2020

“The embodiment of luxury, Ferrari continues to be admired and desired around the world, and its outstanding brand strength reflects this,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.

“It is no wonder that many consumers, who might never own a Ferrari car, want a bag or a watch emblazoned with the Prancing Horse, but it is also crucial that the company management remain at the steering wheel of the brand’s future and maintain its exclusive positioning by monitoring the licensing output closely.”

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

The Ferris Bueller Ferrari is up for sale

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

You could own one of the most famous Ferraris in the world. It might be a replica, but it’s the 250 GT replica that co-starred in the cult 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The car is up for auction at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale on January 18.

This is the first of three replicas built by Modena Design and Development for the movie. These were used for the fast driving shots in the film. For close-ups, a real 250 GT was used.

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

One of the cars was destroyed while filming, while the third wasn’t actually finished in time to be used. This one has just underdone a full body-off restoration back at Modena Design and Development.

It looks as almost beautiful as an original Ferrari. However, there are some aspects of Ferrari ownership that this replica can’t deliver.

Turn the key, for instance, and you won’t be met with the chatter of a classic Columbo Ferrari V12. Instead, a 7.0-litre four-barrel-carburettor V8 will burble into life. Somewhat incongruous with the delectable Italian lines, but then they’re not really Italian are they?

Ferris Bueller Ferrari for sale

Of course, the car’s provenance as a movie star adds an appeal that no real 250 has. Well, apart from the one they used for static shots in the film.

As for what the car will sell for – it’s anyone’s guess. Real 250s approach eight figures and beyond. Replica number three, not used in the film, came up for sale two years ago and made just over £300,000.

Having had actual screen-time in the film, this one is likely to go for considerably more.

Museo Ferrari Maranello

More than 600,000 people visited a Ferrari Museum in 2019

Museo Ferrari Maranello

For many Ferrari fans, a trip to Italy is not complete without visiting one of the famed brand’s two museums. 

Last year, a record-breaking number of them made the pilgrimage, with total visits swelling to over 600,000. 

Visitor numbers were actually up 12 percent over the previous year, with more than 400,000 people visiting the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, and 200,000 visiting the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena.

Ferrari says a new ‘single ticket’ that gives access to both museums has helped grow visitor numbers. Sales of the dual-access ticket grew 50 percent in 2019.

The history of Ferrari is so rich, it needs two museums. The Modena destination celebrates Enzo Ferrari himself, along with exclusive Ferrari GT engines and cars.

Museo Enzo Ferrari Modena

Meanwhile, the museum in Maranello focuses on the broader Ferrari group, plus Scuderia Ferrari F1 and other famous racing cars.

Fittingly, the first exhibition at Maranello this year is “Ferrari at 24 Heures du Mans’, which opens on 15 January to mark 70 years of Ferrari victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

It runs alongside other exhibitions marking 90 years of Ferrari and a showcase of the brand’s most extreme limited-run hypercars.

Over in Modena, the Museo Enzo Ferrari continues its ‘timeless masterpieces’ exhibit of Ferrari’s most enduring designs.

DIY Daytona: Buy this classic Ferrari and build it yourself

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

Would you buy yourself a classic Ferrari if you had to assemble it yourself? If so, this could be the perfect opportunity to own an iconic Daytona. 

The car was once a gleaming 1971 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta (affectionately known as the ‘Daytona’), but it hasn’t been driven since 1974.

This UK-market car, collected from the Ferrari factory in May 1971 by its first owner, was taken to the Monaco Grand Prix along the Italian Riviera. That’s the Daytona-driving dream, right?

The DIY DaytonaCollecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

The car was driven and serviced accordingly for the following three years, but the Daytona dream soon turned to a nightmare. The story goes that it left the road and tumbled down a slope, which damaged it. The chains used to recover it then damaged it even more.

Multiple custodians took it on over the next 45 years, wanting a project. One even relieved it of its roof to turn it into a GTS/4 Spider recreation, but never followed through.

It sat fallow for 30 years until 2006, when work finally got underway on a restoration. With some expert coachwork and painstaking parts-sourcing, its bodywork is probably in better condition than when it left Maranello. Yet there’s still work to be done.

Collecting Cars Ferrari Daytona GTB/4

It’s offered now as a partially finished project, with the original V12 engine and boxes of parts ready to go. Some of the parts to be supplied with the car are brand new.

The engine will need work, but its internals are apparently in good condition. Original, too, is the instrument cluster, with a believed-to-be-accurate 26,117 miles on the odometer. 

This is a DIY Daytona, with everything needed to build a complete car. We say ‘DIY’ in a light-hearted way. You’ll almost certainly want the help of a specialist to get it across the line. You’ll need to decide what colour to paint it, though. Once complete, it should be perfect for someone who wants to drive their Ferrari, rather than simply own a garage queen.

You’ll be able to bid in this Daytona, and its associated bits, on Collecting Cars in the new year.

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Ferrari Dino 'Evo'

Ferrari Dino ‘Evo’ review: a red rag to the purists

Ferrari Dino 'Evo'

Ferraris are works of automotive art, says conventional wisdom; modifying one is like daubing Dulux on the Sistine Chapel. Not that Kevin O’Rourke seems concerned. His Ferrari Dino ‘Evo’ was among the star cars at London Concours last summer, while another Dino built by his company, Mototechnique – the 400hp, F40-engined ‘Monza’ – earned a thumbs-up from Jay Leno and made the cover of Octane magazine. Is nothing sacred?

Launched in 1968, the Dino was named after Enzo Ferrari’s beloved son, Alfredo (known as ‘Alfredino’), who died of muscular dystrophy aged 24. It was Maranello’s first mid-engined road car, although it never wore the prancing horse badge (many owners added them subsequently). It was also the first ‘junior’ Ferrari, a since-unbroken bloodline that leads to the new F8 Tributo.

Read more Motoring Research reviews FIRST on City AM

The original Dino 206 GT had a 2.0-litre 180hp V6, swiftly upgraded to 2.4 litres and 195hp in the 246 GT. The Evo, as you’d expect, packs a somewhat bigger punch. Its 3.2-litre V8 hails from a Ferrari 328 and uses Bosch electronic fuel injection from an F355, along with uprated driveshafts and a hydraulic clutch conversion. The result is 300hp and vastly improved reliability. “I’ve driven the car to Austria for skiing holidays and competed in three European road rallies,” confirms Kevin.

Ferrari Dino 'Evo'

The Dino’s voluptuous lines remain intact, and rightly so. The only additions are a roll cage to boost rigidity, a bespoke ‘Evo’ badge in the same angular script as Dino’s signature, plus a set of gold Ferrari 360 alloys – needed to accommodate the 360 brake discs and calipers. “Most people don’t like the wheels,” Kevin admits. The paint is a lustrous candy-flip, created by layering dark metallic red over a silver base.

I tug a delicate chrome latch and open the dainty door. The Dino’s cabin is snug and driver-focused, with simple white-on-black Veglia gauges, an evocative open-gate manual gearbox and a dashboard swathed in race car-style flock by O’Rourke Coachtrimmers, owned by Kevin’s son. Concessions to comfort aren’t immediately obvious, but include power steering (which can be dialled-down for track days) air conditioning and a power socket for a mobile phone.

The engine fires with a brusque bark and I ease gingerly into west London traffic. The pedals are skewed towards the centre and the gear lever needs a firm hand, but the Dino’s manners are reassuringly refined. It idles steadily and pulls strongly from low revs, allowing me to short-shift from first to third, while the brakes feel powerful and progressive. Ride quality, on fully adjustable suspension with Koni dampers, is firm without being brittle. Thankfully, the electric power steering still belongs to the old-school: it jostles with incessant feedback.

Ferrari Dino 'Evo'

I follow the old A3 through Esher and finally arrive at some open roads. With the lift-out Spyder roof removed, the V8 sounds magnificent. It’s multi-layered and richly mechanical, gurgles and gasps of induction augmented by zingy rasps from the exhausts. The Evo is quick enough to worry hot hatchbacks, but it’s more about sensation than raw speed. You drive it via the seat of your pants, measuring your inputs and feeling it react to road. It amplifies where most modern cars smother.

I finish the day with a tour of Mototechnique in West Molesey. Alongside numerous Ferraris, a Lamborghini Miura and a rare Porsche 356, I watch as aluminium panels are hand-beaten and a carbon fibre clamshell for an F40 is moulded from scratch. The contrast of old artistry and new technology is fascinating.

Kevin concedes that demand for modified Dinos will be limited, particularly given the £250,000 cost of a donor car. However, his latest project – tucked in the corner of the workshop – starts from around a fifth of the price. The 400hp 308 GTB Evo is, for now, a work in progress. But I can’t wait to see the finished result.

Price: £300,000+

0-62mph: 5.8sec

Top speed: 160mph

Horsepower: 300hp

Weight: 1,180kg

Ferrari Dino ‘Evo’: in pictures

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The real cars of Le Mans 66

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

With Le Mans 66 opening in cinemas, the famous story of Ford’s triumph over Ferrari in the 24-hour race will be further immortalised in popular culture. It’s a rare treat for racing and motoring enthusiasts to see a movie where cars are the stars.

And if you can get to Los Angeles before January 19 2020, you could see them in person at the world-renowed Petersen Automotive Museum.

Winning numbers

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

Two Ferraris featured in the film will be on display at LA’s Petersen Automotive Museum in January, as a part of the ‘Winning Numbers’ exhibit. The 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB SEFAC and 1957 Ferrari 625/250 TR will be joined by a Ford GT40 Mk3, the first Shelby Cobra from 1962 and a 1952 Ferrari 212/225 Barchetta. We start with the Ferraris…

Ferrari 250 SWB SEFAC

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

The 250 Short Wheel Base is an integral part of Ferrari’s road and race history. Affectionately known as the ‘hot rods’, the SEFAC 250 SWB Competizione racers were made from thinner alloy and produced more than 300hp.

The car on display at the Petersen brought home a GT class win for Ferrari at Le Mans in 1961 and finished third overall. It’s fair to say this car is a building block of the Ferrari Le Mans legend, one with which Ford was so determined to grapple.

The car is owned by Petersen founding chairman Bruce Meyer, who loaned it to the Le Mans 66 production team. Meyer bought it in 2010.

Ferrari 625 TRC

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

The other movie star car is a Ferrari 625 TRC Spyder by Scaglietti. Unlike the 250 SWB SEFAC, which is a GT racer, the TRC is a sports prototype. It came about right at the start of Ferrari’s era of dominance at Le Mans. The marque took outright wins from 1960 to 1965. The events of 1966’s race are, of course, the subject of the film.

While not a Le Mans winner itself, this 625 is an integral part of this story. It was raced in 1962 by none other than Ken Miles, star character of Le Mans 66, played by Christian Bale. He won his first race in the car, in Santa Barbara.

It’s appearance in Le Mans 66 must have been something of a trip down memory lane. Bruce Meyer bought the car in 2006.

Shelby Cobra

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

Matt Damon stars opposite Christian Bale in Le Mans 66, playing a young Caroll Shelby. He was instrumental in developing the GT40 to a state where it could legitimately take on Ferrari at Le Mans. Shelby had proven himself with his work on the AC Cobra.

Famous now, the Shelby Cobra was an experiment back in 1962 A Shelby-tuned Ford V8 was added to a small British roadster called the AC Ace, along with wide wheelarches and fat tyres.

The 1962 car on display at the Petersen is the very first production-specification, competition-ready car produced by Shelby. It’s also part of the Bruce Meyer collection.

Ford GT40 Mk3

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

The story culminates with the victory of the Ford GT40 over Ferrari at Le Mans, the American marque taking over the podium with a 1-2-3 finish. It’s only right that an example should feature in the display at the Petersen.

This is a road-going Mk3 from 1967. It differs from the 1966 cars most obviously at the front, with more bulbous lights for road use. Other changes include more space for luggage, movement of the gear shifter to the middle, plus a de-tuned power output of 310hp.

Just seven Mk3 GT40s were made, of which one is on display at the Petersen. The car’s significantly modified looks supposedly put off some buyers, who wanted something resembling the triumphant racers.

Ferrari 212 225 Barchetta

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

This is a very significant car in the story of Ford taking on Ferrari, in spite of being built 14 years before Ford’s Le Mans win.

Henry Ford’s relationship with Ferrari became obsessive over time. Before having his takeover offer turned down, however, he was like any other fan. This 212 225 was a special order by FoMoCo for Henry Ford II, used as his personal car.

It’s said the diminutive Barchetta served as inspiration for a great many design cues that appeared on the Ford Thunderbird in 1955.

Ford v Ferrari

Le Mans 66 Ford v Ferrari

“The story of Ford’s triumph over Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans will be told for generations,” said Terry L. Karges, executive director at the Petersen Museum. “We’re excited to see the film, but we’re most excited to offer fans of the movie an opportunity to see the cars that will be in the film and learn about other vehicles that are pivotal to the story.”

You can now experience classic Ferraris in Italy

Ferrari Classiche Academy

Ferrari’s new Classiche Academy is underway, and it makes possible one of the great automotive impossibilities: the opportunity to see, learn about, feel and drive classic Ferraris. This, and more, takes place over two days of immersion in the world of Ferrari at the marque’s Fiorano circuit.

Not quite the multi-million-pound V12 GTs of the 50s and 60s. You do, however, get the authentic 70s and 80s experience, with a 308 GTS and GTBi. Unlike any other supercar driving experience, Ferrari opens by taking you underneath these early era Ferrari supercars, to discover what makes them tick.

Ferrari Classiche Academy

Then you go for a tour of the Officine Classiche Ferrari, where you can view technical drawings and notes taken by engineers in period. The marque has an archive of notes, drawings and race reports going back to 1947. 

Driving classic Ferraris

Ferrari Classiche Academy

The track experience shouldn’t be the standard UK fare of ‘stay in a gear, don’t go over X,XXXrpm’, either. With the Classiche Academy, you get a course in vehicle dynamics and corner management.

You learn various driving techniques like high-speed counter steering, wet-weather driving, heel and toe and double clutching. It’s all stuff you’d at least hesitate to try on the road in your own car, let alone in someone else’s classic Ferrari.

Ferrari Classiche Academy

This is all because Ferrari wants to deliver pre-digital driving experiences and to encourage the learning of car control in cars with no safety net to catch you. Again, how many people who actually own these cars dedicate time to learning how to drive them?

Imagine in 30 years time if Ferrari offered a two-day course at Fiorano where you got to learn to drift ‘classic’ 458s? That’s the kind of thing this is for 70s and 80s supercar aficionados.

Ferrari reveals TWO new supercars in one morning

Is Ferrari trolling the Frankfurt Motor Show? On the eve of 2019’s biggest motoring bunfight, the Italian marque has staged its own Universo Ferrari event in Maranello, revealing two new convertible supercars. Cue media meltdown.

First up is the 812 GTS, a drop-top version of the 812 Superfast. Its name references the classic 365 GTS4 (‘Daytona Spider’ to its friends) – the last Ferrari spider with a front-mounted V12, launched exactly 50 years ago.

Secondly, there’s the F8 Spider. Following in the tyre tracks of the F8 Tributo coupe, it combines a folding hard-top with the V8 engine from the 488 Pista. A scintillating soundtrack comes as standard.

We elbowed our way through the crowds outside Ferrari’s Fiorano test-track to get up close with the new cars – and speak with the experts who developed them. Here’s what you need to know.

Ferrari 812 GTS

Coolest feature of the new 812? Look closely and you’ll spot tiny aerofoils atop each of the rear buttresses. They’re part of a complex aerodynamics package that gives the GTS identical on-paper performance to the coupe. That means 0-62mph in ‘less than 3.0 seconds’ and a top speed of 211mph.

Its hard-top folds in 14 seconds at speeds up to 28mph, or you can simply retract the rear window. Either way, you’ll enjoy Ferrari’s ferociously unhinged V12 – perhaps the most evocative engine of any production car – in all its 8,900rpm glory.

‘Production’ is the key word here as the GTC isn’t a limited edition. “We plan to make one car less than the market demands,” says marketing boss Enrico Galliera. UK prices haven’t been announced yet, but expect an 11 percent premium versus the coupe, meaning £292,000 before options.

One of those options is the ‘Grigio GTS’ paint seen here, which is unique to the car. It also gets bespoke 20-inch forged alloy wheels, offered in three finishes: diamond-cut, liquid silver and Grigio Scuro. Choices, choices…

Head of Design Flavio Manzoni says the styling was inspired by two of Ferrari’s icons: the 250 GTO and Daytona. No pressure, then. A long bonnet and swept-back cabin evoke classic grand tourers, while those distinctive rear humps (also a feature of the F8 Spider) set the GTS apart from the Superfast. You’ll note the ducts atop the rear wheelarches are missing, too – compensated for by an extra flap in the diffuser, says Ferrari.

The heart of the 812, of course, remains that 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12. Driving the rear wheels via an paddle-shift dual-clutch gearbox, it develops 800hp at a dizzying 8,500rpm. That should serve up ample “wild power, uncompromising passion and unbeatable sensuality”, to borrow a few superlatives from Galliera.

Lastly, there’s a driver assistance system called Ferrari Power Oversteer (FPO) to help you ‘realign the car correctly’. Thank heavens for that.

Ferrari F8 Spider

The F8 Spider was less of a surprise, but is more significant in terms of sales. Arriving just months after the F8 Tributo coupe (‘berlinetta’ in Ferrari-speak), it’s said to be ‘less extreme than the 488 Pista Spider, but sportier than the 488 Spider’.

Indeed, the open-air F8 weighs just 20kg more than its Pista equivalent and packs an identical 720hp. That makes it… quite rapid. Zero to 62mph is dispatched in 2.9 seconds, while top speed is 211mph – identical to the 812 GTS.

The car’s folding hard-top also emulates the GTS, being retracted in 14 seconds at up to 28mph. A redesigned rear spoiler wraps around trad-Ferrari twin taillights, but stowing the roof atop the rear deck means losing the coupe’s F40-style see-through engine cover.

It isn’t just any engine either. Ferrari’s sonorous turbocharged V8 has been voted International Engine of the Year four times in a row and the best engine of the past 20 years. Sampling the coupe version recently, our Richard Aucock described it as ‘ridiculously pleasurable’.

The all-important rev counter – redlined at 8,000rpm – takes centre-stage in front of the driver, with many controls, including the manettino dial, clustered on the steering wheel. There’s also an optional passenger-side touchscreen to reveal how fast you’re really going.

The electronic witchcraft of the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE) will help average drivers feel like Charles Leclerc at Monza, too. “This is not a stability controller, it’s a fun controller,” jokes Michael Leiters.

If you want one – and we really do – expect to pay around £225,000 when cars arrive in the UK this autumn. There’s still one more new car to come from Ferrari in 2019, of course, but execs remain tight-lipped. “We want to wow people,” says Enrico Galliera. They’ve certainly done that today.

In pictures: Ferrari 812 GTS and F8 Spider

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Ford v Ferrari: the real story of the GT40 at Le Mans

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

With Matt Damon and Christian Bale due to star in the upcoming ‘Ford v Ferrari’ feature film, we take a look at the on-track history that led to this famous feud. This is the tale of when Detroit fought Maranello at Le Mans.

The start of the ordeal

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

It counts as one of the most notorious stories in motorsport, and it all began due to a dispute between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari.

Ford had looked to buy the Italian manufacturer during 1963, yet found Ferrari unwilling to step away from the Indianapolis 500. This would have placed the two brands in direct competition on track.

As a result, the deal failed. Henry Ford II then directed his company to enact revenge on Ferrari at Le Mans.

Ferrari was the class act to beat at Le Mans

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

The Italian brand had established total dominance at Le Mans during the 1960s. Cars wearing the famous Prancing Horse badge had won every edition of the 24 hour race from 1960 onwards.

This included two victories taken by Belgian driver Oliver Gendebien, pictured here behind the wheel of a Ferrari 250 TR 59/60 on his way to glory in 1960. Beating the Scuderia was going to take serious commitment and engineering effort from Ford.

1964 Ford GT40 prototype

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ford initially courted Lola Cars, Lotus, and Cooper for a partner to build the new Le Mans racer. Lola was eventually chosen, partly because the Lola Mk 6 race car already made use of a Ford V8 engine.

Lola donated two Mk 6 chassis from its factory in Slough, while Ford set about creating a team to develop and build its new race machine.

1964 Ford GT40 prototype

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

The newly created Ford Advanced Vehicles team set about the development of a new racer, based at its own British factory.

Early prototypes of the GT40 made use of a mid-mounted 255 cubic inch (4.2-litre) Ford V8, whilst later finished cars would feature a 289 cubic inch (4.7-litre) unit. Famously, the GT40 name came from the overall height of the new race car being just 40 inches.

Ford GT40 team transporters ready for the off

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ford had taken only seven months to create the new GT40, with the completed car being shown to journalists on April 1st 1964. John Wyer was put in charge of running the Ford Advanced Vehicles team for the year.

The rush to get the new cars finished meant the GT40 would miss the season-opening Sebring 12 Hours race. Instead, the inaugural use of the car in anger would be at the first Le Mans test, less than three weeks after the cars were presented to the media.

1964 becomes a year to quickly forget

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Making a race debut at the gruelling Nürburging 1,000km in 1964, the driver pairing of Phil Hill and Bruce McLaren managed to qualify second on the grid. However, a suspension failure meant the GT40 failed to finish the race.

This would set the tone for the year, with 1964 at Le Mans a dismal failure. All three of the Fords would retire with mechanical issues, while Ferrari clocked up another win.

1965 shows promising signs for the future

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

After the disappointment of 1964, Ford switched management of the GT40 to Carroll Shelby for 1965. This came after his notable successes with the Ford-powered Daytona Coupe.

Victory came immediately, with a win for Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby at the Daytona 2,000km race, with Bob Bondurant and Richie Ginther taking third in a sister GT40.

Yet the remainder of 1965 would prove fruitless, with no more wins for Ford. Le Mans would again see all the GT40s fail to make the finish.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk I road car

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Whilst the early GT40s might not have proved to be successful on track, road car versions still rolled out of the factory, with the first example delivered to the United States in early 1966.

The Mk I road cars featured softer suspension, quieter exhausts, plus options such as air-conditioning and leather seats. However, they still featured a 335hp V8 engine.

A new hope: the 1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Whereas the Mk II may have looked similar to its predecessor, beneath the bodywork was a host of changes. In came a 427 cubic inch (7.0-litre) Ford FE engine, with an exhaust system nicknamed ‘a bundle of snakes’ for its elaborate design.

Kar-Kraft also modified the chassis from the original British-designed Mk I version, using higher strength steel. Extra robustness was added with upgraded suspension components, while a strengthened gearbox was also used. This featured just four speeds, instead of the five cogs found in the Mk I.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ford also dismissed Carrol Shelby as overall manager for the GT40 programme. Instead, priority was given to the Holman-Moody outfit who were responsible for running Ford’s NASCAR efforts. Henry Ford II was adamant that the GT40 must win in 1966.

However, the Shelby American team did continue as an official factory outfit, retaining Ken Miles as one of their drivers. The new GT40s would finish 1-2-3-5 in the ’66 Daytona 24 Hours, proving the changes were right and setting Ford on the path to glory.

1966 Ford GT40 Mk II ‘X-1’ Roadster

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ford also experimented with a potential for an open-top version of the GT40 during the 1966 season. Initially created for Bruce McLaren Racing in 1965 with a low-drag windscreen, on return to Ford the one-off roadster was updated to Mk II specification for Shelby American.

It’s only race event came at the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring where, after experimenting with automatic gearboxes during practice, a manual transmission was fitted for the race. When the engine of the lead GT40 Mk II seized, the ‘X-1’ Roadster of Miles and Ruby slipped through to victory.

1966 Ferrari 330 P3

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

With all the attention now on winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, Ford would face tough competition at the 1966 race.

Ferrari had updated its line of prototype racers, creating the new 330 P3. Thanks to fuel injection it now had more horsepower, and was built in both closed- and open-cockpit versions for the epic endurance event.

1966 Porsche 906/6 LH

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Although Ford and Ferrari were the main contenders in 1966, Porsche would also enter a small army of 906 racers at Le Mans.

A total of six 906 machines would contest the race, including three of the brand-new LH ‘lang heck’ prototype versions. Recent victory on the Targa Florio showed the potential of the Porsche.

Strength in numbers

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Keen to beat Ferrari at its own game, Ford entered a total of 15 Mk II GT40s for Le Mans in 1966. Eight were accepted for the race, with Shelby American running three cars. Holman-Moody also fielded another trio, whilst Alan Mann Racing would be responsible for the final two Mk II machines.

Qualifying demonstrated the performance of the GT40 Mk II, with the top four places all taken by Fords. With all eight GT40s inside the top 12, the strategy of total domination looked to be working.

Drama on the road to tomorrow

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ratcheting up the pressure on the Ford teams was Henry Ford II, acting as official starter for Le Mans in 1966. After the first lap his cars were in the lead, but the coming hours would see tense battle between Ford and Ferrari.

Overnight rain dampened the performance advantage of the big V8 engine in the Fords. However, the Ferrari prototypes began to suffer from overheating, dropping them out of contention.

Controversial photo finish for the win

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

By halfway through the race, Ford MK IIs occupied the top four positions, with Mk I GT40s occupying 5th and 6th. Yet even then, victory was far from secure. The no.3 Mk II, driven by Dan Gurney, blew a head gasket from racing too hard with the no.1 car of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme.

By late morning Mk II GT40s occupied the top three positions, and Ford Racing director Leo Bebbe attempted to engineer a dead heat at the end of the race. Ken Miles was told to slow down to allow the no.2 car of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon to catch up.

Miles was reported to be unhappy with the contrived photo finish, and lifted off just as the cars reached the finish line. This handed the McLaren/Amon car victory, with Fords filling the other podium places.

Mission accomplished for Ford at Le Mans

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

In just three years Henry Ford II had achieved his goal of beating Ferrari at Le Mans. The Italian company would never take an outright win at the French event again, with the Blue Oval ready to keep coming back.

Ford would go on to claim the P2 category of the 1966 World Sportscar Championship, further cementing its dominance.

1967 Ford GT40 Mk III road car

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

With the GT40 race car cleaning up on track, a bespoke road-going version was now being readied for the street. Unlike previous road-legal GT40s, the Mk III had specific features to make it suited to the highway.

An elongated rear gave access to a luggage compartment, whilst the bumpers gained small chrome overriders. Unlike the race cars, there was no bigger engine, with power still coming from the 289 cubic inch (4.2-litre) V8. Only seven examples of the Mk III were built, with just three in right-hand drive.

Tragedy of the 1967 Ford GT40 J-car

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Despite the success of the Mk II GT40, Ford didn’t rest on its laurels and set about developing the car even further. With power now sufficient, experimental aerodynamic changes to maximise the muscle were made throughout 1966 and 1967, along with a lightened chassis.

Tragedy struck during a test session, when Ken Miles was killed in a high-speed accident at Riverside International Raceway, with blame laid at the lack of downforce from the aero modifications.

1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

The experimental flat-topped roof of the J-car was dropped, but the resulting Mk IV still managed to look distinctive. Lengthened and streamlined to achieve a higher top speed, the Mk IV also featured the lightened chassis.

The death of Ken Miles was not in vain, with a high-strength roll cage also being fitted. Although the Mk IV only entered two races, it claimed a 100% success rate with victories in the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1968 Ford GT40 Mk I Le Mans

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Concerned by the high speeds seen during the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, for 1968 engine sizes were capped at 5.0 litres for cars in the Sports class by the FIA. This ruled out the Mk II and Mk IV versions of the GT40, but meant the earlier, smaller-engined Mk I was still eligible.

Now with reliability on its side, the Mk I took overall victory in 1968 driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi. It would repeat the same feat in 1969 with Jackie Ickx and Jackie Oliver driving, taking the total number of outright Le Mans wins for the GT40 to four in a row.

Ford GT wins 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Fast forward several decades and Ford found once again on the top step of the podium at Le Mans.

Living up to the reputation of its GT40 predecessors, the new GT race car, ran by Chip Ganassi Racing, took an impressive victory at Le Mans in 2016 in the LMGTE Pro class. Coming exactly 50 years after the first Le Mans win for the GT40, Ford was unsurprisingly ecstatic about the result.

2017 Ford GT ‘66 Heritage Edition

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

To mark the Le Mans wins 50th anniversary, Ford also announced a special edition of a car that hadn’t even actually started production yet. Remembering that historic 1-2-3 victory at the Circuit du Sarthe in 1966, the Heritage Edition featured a colour scheme inspired by the no.2 GT40 driven by Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren.

A Shadow Black exterior – available in either gloss or matte finish – was combined with silver stripes and alloy wheels in gold satin. Inside is a leather-wrapped steering wheel, along with extra carbon fibre and a limited edition plaque.

Ford captures the Le Mans-winning GT40 in Lego

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Along with the modern interpretation of the successful 1966 GT40, Ford also created a miniature Lego version. This had the benefit of being considerably cheaper than the full-size GT supercar, and produced in much larger numbers.

Paired with a Lego version of the 2016 Le Mans-winning Ford GT, the classic 1966 GT40 also comes with a retro driver minifigure. Fans can decide for themselves whether they want it to be Chris Amon or Bruce McLaren.

2019 Ford at Le Mans with historic liveries

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

Ford contested the Le Mans 24 Hour race again each year until 2019, which marked the final year of competition for the GT racer. However, the Chip Ganassi Team would be unable to replicate the success seen in 2016.

Not even racing with retro-inspired liveries for the 2019 edition of the 24 Hours race was enough to help clinch LMGTE Pro victory. Ford would manage fourth in class, with Ferrari taking first place on the podium.

Sunset on the Ford GT Le Mans project

Ford versus Ferrari at Le Mans 1966

In fact, Ferrari has continued to dominate the World GT Manufacturers’ Championship since 2012, taking five titles in seven seasons. It means that more than 55 years after Henry Ford II declared war on the Ferrari at Le Mans, the battle is still seemingly far from over.

The scheduled cinematic release date for ‘Ford v Ferrari’ is now November 15th 2019. It means only a few more months of waiting for fans to witness the recreation of this special chapter in motorsport history.