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The 24-hour war


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#1 rvec

rvec

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 05:41 PM

Run time: 1 hour 39 minutes.

Production Company:  Chassy Media

Directed by: Nate Adams and Adam Carolla

This is an interesting and exciting DVD describing the battle for supremacy at Le Mans between Ferrari and Ford during the 1960s. I my opinion it is well worth the $20 price tag.

The story evolves on parallel tracks tracing the beginnings of Henry Ford’s auto empire and Enzo Ferrari’s racing dynasty. The former was a company based on mass produced cars and trucks for the common man. Through racing and winning, Ford was seeking to increase its market share over other domestic manufacturers particularly General Motors. Ferrari, on the other hand was, a company headed by an autocratic and volatile leader focused on being the best in racing. Enzo financed his passion for racing by selling road versions of his race cars to the very few who could afford them.

As most auto enthusiasts know, Ford tried buy Ferrari in the early 60s but in the end was rebuffed by Enzo. Henry Ford II had directed his company to spent millions performing due diligence on Ferrari and was furious that Enzo abruptly terminated negotiations.  This set in motion the greatest battle to dominate the premier event in motor racing, Le Mans.

The stage being set, the film goes on describe the development of the GT40, from the small block Mk I, the big block Mk II, J Car, Mk IV to the return the Mk I after a rule change in 1968 banned big block motors. While the GT40 was being developed, the film also describes Ferrari’s attempts to counter the threat. Many of us know how it ended with the GT40s winning Le Mans four years in a row beginning in 1966.

Even so, the film is fascinating from several points of view. The GT40 development process began in 1963. Ford signed a contract with Eric Broadly of Lola, and hired John Wyer. The cars were very quick out of the box; however, reliability was a major problem.  After failing to finish in two major endurance contests, including Le Mans, development was handed off to Carrol Shelby and that was a major turning point. Shelby and his team started making things happen. Not only did they produce a winner out of an existing design but helped to develop a completely new car dubbed the Mark IV.  The film documents the trials and tribulations of bringing a concept to a Le Mans winner including breakdowns, crashes and tragic loss of life.

Although race footage is a central part of the film, it is woven into a series of interviews with the principal figures involved in the battle. Some of the clips were old while others were quite recent. I particularly enjoyed Dan Gurney describing his unlikely win with teammate A. J. Foyt in a Ford Mark IV in 1967 and how he and his teammate coasted into the braking zone at the end of the Mulsanne straight in order to save the brakes.  There are also interesting clips of Mario Andretti, Bob Bondurant, the chief Ferrari Engineer during the 60s (Mauro Forghieri), Enzo Ferrari’s son and many more.


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Rich Vecchio









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