Ford v Ferrari at 24 Hours of Le Mans - Did it really happen like in the movie?

For obvious reasons, the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans is always scheduled in the middle of June to take advantage of the longest days and shortest nights of the year. But the coronavirus virus has put paid to this year’s schedule and the race is one of many prestige events on DAIMANI that has been rescheduled, in this case to September 19-20.

After 24 hours of flat-out racing the leading cars will expect to have driven more than 5000 kilometres [around 3100 miles] or the equivalent, by road, of Paris to Teheran. The records remains 2010's epic which covered 5,410 km (3,360 mi).

This year’s race, and the often under appreciated thrill of endurance racing, will have the added benefit of the huge marketing push offered by last year’s film Ford v Ferrari [or Le Mans 66 in some countries] starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon which premiered in November.

The USD225m-grossing blockbuster tells the story of the 1966 race, as American car designer Carroll Shelby [Damon] and driver Ken Miles [Bale] battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari.

It's a real delight of a film to watch, with lots of crossover for those perhaps unaccustomed to the sport. As Shelby/Damon narrates:

‘There's a point at 7,000 RPM... where everything fades. The machine becomes weightless. Just disappears. And all that's left is a body moving through space and time. 7,000 RPM. That's where you meet it. You feel it coming. It creeps up on you, close in your ear. Asks you a question. The only question that matters. Who are you?’
But as brilliant as the film is, how true is it to what actually happened? In November last year, the Hollywood Reporter took readers through the real-life characters in this intriguing review.

And the good people at Motorsport TV, an OTT platform with rights to Le Mans footage, created this wonderful documentary that answers, What Really Happened?

The official and updated VIP hospitality offers from organisers Automobile Club de l'Ouest can be viewed here.

All of the other official VIP hospitality offers for this year’s updated motorsports calendar can be viewed on the DAIMANI platform here.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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