Watch the story of the controversy behind the Ford GT40's photo finish at Le Mans in 1966


Kahn Media, with the help of the Petersen Automotive Museum, has put out a documentary about the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans titled "8 Meters: Triumph, Tragedy and a Photo Finish at Le Mans." The video details the controversy behind one of the greatest racing achievements of all time.

In 1966, after two previously unsuccessful attempts, Ford was ready to challenge Ferrari for the win in the world's most well-known race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ford GT40 racing program was now in the hands of Carroll Shelby and Ford had several GT40 Mark II cars entered that day trusted to the hands of some very accomplished race drivers.

CHECK OUT: How The Ford GT Race Car Differs From The Road Car

After a few hours it became apparent that Ford would indeed win the race, and that's when the game of public relations politics began. Ford instructed the drivers to slow the pace to make sure the cars would finish. Then they decided that a side-by-side photo finish would be a great PR move. That meant the racing was over for the drivers and the team of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme in the number one car, which was leading, had to slow down to let the rest catch up.

In the end, the numbers one and two cars crossed the line at the same time with the number five car just behind. It looked like the result was a tie, but race officials had a different idea. They decided that the number two car, driven by Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren, was the winner because it covered more ground over the 24 hours than the number one car since it started eight meters behind.

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We learn all that and more in this documentary. We also see some great vintage footage, and we hear from automotive historian A.J. Baime, who wrote the book "Go Like Hell," which delves into the Ford-Ferrari rivalry of the 1960s. That book is slated to become a movie starring Tom Cruise as Carroll Shelby.  We also get archive footage of Shelby reminiscing about the race, as well as commentary from Amon, who perhaps most benefited from the win.

Watch this video. It'll catch you up on some important racing history that is quite timely given Ford's win in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, 50 years to the week after Ford bested Ferrari at its own game.

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