Daytona Beach, FL — Anyone who has seen Ford v Ferrari, the blockbuster 20th Century Fox film depicting Ford Motor Company’s effort — spearheaded by Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) — to unseat Ferrari as the king of Le Mans, saw this before the credits rolled: “Revered by racing fans worldwide, Ken Miles was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.”
“The goal that our late president Ron Watson had from the outset was that induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America would be seen as the ultimate motorsports credential just as with Cooperstown for baseball,” said George Levy, president of the MSHFA. “The mention in the film is proof that the goal is being realized.”
Miles (pictured above, left) was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2001. Shelby (pictured with Dan Gurney in the photo above, right) preceded Miles into the Hall in 1992. And there were many more MSHFA inductees who had a role in Ford’s success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. Some were depicted in the movie and some were not. Other Hall of Famers took part in the 1966 race that saw the first-ever victory by an American car.
Phil Remington, Shelby’s master fabricator, played by Ray McKinnon, shared the screen quite a bit with Damon and Bale. He was inducted into the MSHFA this past March in the Class of 2019.
Remington, who died in 2013 at the age of 92, was presented for induction by his daughter, Kati Blackledge, who this year has finally seen her father gain some deserved recognition on both the silver screen and with his enshrinement into the MSHFA.
“The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a wonderful organization, and I was truly impressed when I set foot inside the museum for the first time when my dad was inducted,” Blackledge said. “I remember looking around and thinking it is very cool my dad is now part of something this big. To my knowledge, my father was never in a winner’s circle photograph his entire career. He cared about victories, but not the glory associated with winning. He had an internal satisfaction from winning, but never cared about the spotlight. Then, finally, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America comes along with a call from Ron Watson saying this man — who literally spent his entire life winning races behind the scenes — is going to be inducted, and I thought, ‘finally he got the big win.'”
Including Shelby, Miles and Remington, nine different MSHFA inductees are portrayed by actors in the movie.
Denis Hulme, Miles’ co-driver in 1966, was played by race car and stunt driver Ben Collins. Hulme joined the Hall of Fame in 1998.
Bruce McLaren was inducted in 1995. Played by Benjamin Rigby in the movie, McLaren, like Miles, was one of Ford’s primary development drivers and won the 1966 race with co-driver Chris Amon.
1991 MSHFA inductee Dan Gurney won pole, set fastest lap and led the 1966 race comfortably before his Shelby American entry broke. He and A.J. Foyt (MSHFA Class of 1989) became the only Americans to win the race in an American-made car in 1967. Alex Gurney, Dan’s youngest son, played his father in the film.
John Holman and Ralph Moody also ran Ford GT40s in the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours. A Holman & Moody entry finished third. Holman, who was inducted into the MSHFA along with his partner in 2005, was played by Christopher Dargah.
Actor Darrin Prescott played 2003 inductee Bob Bondurant who, along with 2013 inductee Masten Gregory, drove a North American Racing Team Ferrari 365 P2 at the 1966 24 Hours.
Lloyd Ruby, inducted in 2005 and played by Adam Mayfield, won the previous two legs of sports car racing’s Triple Crown (Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans) with Miles and was slated to drive with him at Le Mans before he crashed his plane two weeks prior to the race. “Hard Luck Lloyd” was sidelined for a month-and-a-half, missing his date with history.
The MSHFA’s 2020 induction ceremony will take place March 17.