October 20, 2021
The 1966 24 Hours Le Mans infamously ranks as one of the most controversial finishes in the history of racing. Memorialized in Hollywood’s “Ford vs. Ferrari,” the ‘66 Le Mans pitted the blue bloods of racing against the underdog Americans. Ford stole the show, taking the top three spots. However, declaring the winner between the three paradigm-shifting Ford GT-40s wasn’t as simple as who crossed the finish line first.
The prestigious 24 Hours Le Mans race remains the oldest endurance sports car racing. That also entails a set of archaic rules, written in French. To further complicate things, Ford Motor Company executives battled over who should win for reasons beyond the race track. This is the controversial finish of Ford vs. Ferrari as told by those who were there.
Multiple Ford Teams
When racing for 24 hours consecutively, something often goes wrong. That is why large racing teams like Ford or Ferrari field more than one car in renowned races like Le Mans. In 1966 three teams represented the American car manufacturer: Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson, and favorite Ken Miles along with Denny Hulme. Miles had just come off victories at Sebring and Daytona with the scorching GT-40.