The Maserati 8CTF "Boyle Special" has been credited with sparking the horsepower challenge between American car manufacturers when the 8CTF became the first Italian car to win the prestigious Indy 500 in both 1939 and 1940. Following in Maserati’s footsteps, another Italian car, Ferrari, emerged as a consistent winner. Ferrari's dominance over numerous top races throughout the 1950s and early 1960s further fueled competition. At that point, none of the big 3 had produced a car that won the Le Mans race. American car manufacturers took to the challenge. The result would lead to faster, safer, more efficient, and more durable automobiles.
Lore has it that following the 1963 Le Mans race in which a Ferrari took 1st place for the 4th time in 5 years and a Ford Cobra V8 achieved 7th place, an audacious Ford engineer approached Mr. Ferrari to question how Ferrari, with its annual production of a mere 300 cars, could best the vast engineering resources of the Ford Motor Company. Ferrari, intrigued, inquired about Ford's car-building process. The engineer proudly enumerated the array of testing equipment, analysis tools, and scientific measurement devices utilized throughout the Ford design and manufacturing procedures. In response, Mr. Ferrari offered a unique perspective, stating that their approach differed: “We start with the driver and build a car around him”.
Through steadfast determination, Ford achieved remarkable success. From 1966 through 1969, the GT40 dominated the Le Mans race, emerging victorious and claiming the coveted
1st place position in each of those years. The Ford GT40's triumphant streak at Le Mans stands as a testament to the relentless pursuit of American engineering and the unwavering commitment of the Ford team. These victories solidified the status of the US as a formidable contender in the world of motorsports.