20th-century motorsport history: Ford vs. Ferrari





By Frank Spenser

Among the many sports confrontations, one can note the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, which took place in the sixties. Little is known about the competition between the two car manufacturers. In this article, we will talk about this confrontation.
The Ford Motor Company has been controlled by the Ford family for over 100 years and is thus one of the largest family-owned companies in the world.


Today Ferrari is one of the most prestigious and well-known companies in the world. It owns the most powerful car - a special model Ferrari Enzo. It was named after the founder of the concern. The maximum speed of the car reaches 350 km/h, and the car can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds. Today, anyone can delve into Ferrari rent a car Dubai to ride this magnificent car.


In the early 20th century, Henry Ford designed the car that beat Alexander Winton, America's finest inventor, in the race. This win was the starting point for Ford when many investors took notice of the company and decided to start investing in the Detroit Automobile Company.
Much changed, however, when his grandson Henry Ford II took over the company. Initially, he did not want to take part in the race, but after that, he realized that it was participation in sports that would perfectly advertise his production.
In turn, Enzo Ferrari produced cars exclusively for taking part in races. At first, he was the head of the racing department of Alfa Romeo, and after a few years, he began to independently produce racing cars, which at that time were the best and fastest. In the fifties of the 20th century, Ferrari cars became the main European symbol of speed and success in a variety of racing series. While Ford was just getting started in racing, Ferrari was already a leader.


In the sixties, the most popular races were races, which lasted from 12 hours to 24. In these races, cars could demonstrate not only their speed and power but also strength.
The legendary competition “24 Hours of Le Mans”, which took place in France, became the place where the confrontation between the two companies unfolded.
In the early 1960s, Henry Ford II decided that his company should win the best survival races - and wanted to buy a Ferrari. He negotiated for a long time with Enzo, who was already close to agreeing to become part of the American giant and lead their racing direction. But the Americans insisted that at the Indianapolis 500 - America's premier advertising-profitable race and where Ferrari wanted to compete under its name - the new company would still only display Ford-branded cars. This problem became a stumbling block and the deal ultimately failed.
A year after the start of negotiations between the two owners, Ford brought a sports car to the competition, which was supposed to lead the leadership. It was the GT40, a super-powerful racing car that surpassed any Ferrari racing car in terms of technical parameters. The speed of the Ford racing car was unmatched, but the Ferrari cars showed their endurance and won the victory as before.


The owner of the company Ford was furious with this outcome and began to look for specialists who could modify his car to snatch victory from Ferrari for the next year's competition.
Carroll Shelby turned out to be a suitable specialist, in 1959 at the wheel of an Aston Martin he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, overtaking a squadron of the best racers of Ferrari.
A year later, none of the Ford racing cars was able to finish, which once again led to defeat. However, in 1966, Ford brought an all-new and improved GT40 called the Mark II to the race and took the first three places in the winning car. This did not delight Henry Ford II, since the pilots were New Zealanders and the cars were based on the British model. He believed that for an absolute victory, the car must be completely American. It happened the following year. The all-American GT40 Mark III with two American pilots defeated Ferrari.

But Ferrari subsequently experienced a recession - and remained Ford's most important rival on the tracks in numerous racing series. A beautiful reminder of the great confrontation of the 60s is considered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016, exactly 50 years after the Ford pilots took the first three places in the competition. In this race, the main thing was also the confrontation between the Americans and Italians - and the Americans again became winners