You’ve probably heard of, or maybe you’ve already seen, the movie Ford Vs. Ferrari (internationally known as Le Mans ’66) which is currently showing in theaters. It chronicles the legendary showdown between Ford and Ferrari at the historic 24 hours of Le Mans race. Now, having seen it, I can say I had no gripes with the film and if you love cars then you need to see it. But I have to be honest, the film left me wanting.
Wanting what? Well, it wasn’t that the film hadn’t entertained me or that they had one too many inconsistencies with realistic driving, instead it was just that I wanted more. The epic racing scenes with battles between Ferrari’s 330 P3’s and the underdog GT40 were by far the best part of the film, so how about another Le Mans racing movie?
Of course this begs the question of which race, or what car, the next film will focus on, and there’s no question. I’m talking about the first car to dethrone the GT40, and the most revered sports car of all time: the Porsche 917. The 917 kickstarted Porsche’s dominance in endurance racing for the many years to come, and like the GT40 it also comes with its own interesting origins.
Developed under the direction of the late Ferdinand Piëch the 917 went from conception to finished product in a mere ten months. For it to race in Le Mans, FIA regulations stipulated that at least 25 examples of the vehicle would need to be produced. When Porsche showed the FIA 18 built 917’s plus 7 unassembled examples, they weren’t satisfied. So, after some quick work, Ferdinand Piëch lined up 25 917’s outside of their factory, and told the FIA inspector to pick out any one of them and drive it.
Also similar to the GT40, the second time was the charm as it wasn’t until 1970, Porsche’s second year in the race, when a 917 crossed the Le Mans finish line first. Coincidentally, the 917 would’ve beaten the GT40 and won Le Mans overall in 1969 had it not been for a gearbox failure. The intertwined history of the GT40 and 917 make up for a perfect sequel to Ford Vs. Ferrari. There’s so much to go on that this movie practically writes itself.
So, to any filmmakers out there, please make this movie. The roar of the GT40’s V8 was great and all, but I think I speak for all audiences when I say that a Porsche developed flat 12 engine is what really deserves to be blasted over theater surround sound systems.