In 1966, the Ford Motor Company sent a team to France to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Primarily to show off the superiority of Ford automobiles around the world, but to also throw their victory in the face of its competitor Ferrari. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a literal 24-hour road race designed to test the endurance of both car and driver. The events leading to Ford possibly winning Le Mans is on full dramatic display in James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari.
“…Ford throws his company’s resources to build a car that will beat Ferrari at Le Mans.”
In the late 60s, Ford Motor Company was on the verge of failure. Needing to boost its sales and reputation, Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) convinces Ford CEO Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) to purchase the also failing Ferrari company. Instead, Ferrari would use the Ford offer to drive up its price for Fiat to ultimately make the purchase.
Scorned by the snub, Ford throws his company’s resources to build a car that will beat Ferrari at Le Mans. The one to accomplish this impossible feat is the last American to win the race, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), and the driver to pull it off is Ken Miles (Christian Bale). Why Ken Miles? Because he’s a driver that understands cars, their engineering, and how to push a vehicle to its limits just short of catastrophe. Why not Ken Miles? Because he’s a hot head and believes he is always right. Miles is not a political being either, as shown by his constant bickering with the guy in charge of Ford’s racing division, Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas).