The History of Ford’s GT40
“Next year, Ferrari’s ass is mine!”
Maybe not the finest choice of words, but Carroll Shelby’s prophetic proclamation is a rallying cry for underdogs everywhere.
In 1963, the Ford Motor Co. tried to buy the iconic sports car company, Ferrari. But even after Ford invested millions in the possible acquisition, Enzo Ferrari refused.
Frustrated, Henry Ford wanted retribution. This sparked a rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo that would change motorcar racing forever.
Ford decided the best way to exact revenge on Enzo was to beat him at his own game.
He challenged Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Dubbed the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, Le Mans is the world’s oldest active endurance sports car race.
While traditional races favor speed, Le Mans also tests a car’s endurance, pushing both driver and machine to their limits.
Ferrari had dominated Le Mans for four consecutive years. Ford appointed Carroll Shelby to head the GT40 program and to build the car that would dethrone Ferrari.
A massive underdog, Ford’s GT40 came up short in both 1964 and 1965. In fact, Ford’s cars didn’t even finish the race.
Determined not to suffer another defeat, Shelby predicted that the next year would be Ford’s year.
This time, he was right.
In 1966, Ford crushed Ferrari and swept the podium.
Ford continued its dominance in ’67, ’68 and ‘69.
How Ford won
Unbridled determination helped propel Ford to the top.
But it wasn’t hard work alone.
Up until this point, very little science had been applied to motor racing. Today manufacturers obsess over aerodynamics, diagnostics and any other number of variables that contribute to speed, efficiency and control.
Back in the ‘60s, the science of sports car racing didn’t exist.
To gain an edge over Ferrari, Ford decided to invest heavily in science and innovation.
By putting greater emphasis on a scientific approach, Ford helped make the ‘60s one of the most technologically innovative periods of motorcar racing.
The science of sales
At XANT, we identify with Ford’s road to success. We believe that science holds the power to unlock human potential.
Data science can pinpoint holes and gaps in your sales process. It can help you understand where to focus your efforts, find hidden variables and maximize productivity.
XANT helps sales teams accelerate revenue by applying data science to the sales process.
XANT offers the industry’s leading sales acceleration platform built on Neuralytics, a predictive and prescriptive self-learning engine that drives revenue growth by delivering an optimized experience for both salesperson and buyer.
The platform fuels sales rep performance and provides buyer personalization with breakthrough innovations in predictive sales communications, engagement tracking, forecasting, rep motivation and hiring.
To demonstrate the striking similarities between Ford’s GT40 and sales acceleration technology, XANT created a short video commemorating Ford’s historic win.
The video quickly racked up more than 60,000 views on YouTube and was referenced by the popular automotive publication, Road & Track, and multiple car racing blogs.
So how does an underdog pass a big dog? With investment, scientific innovation and sheer force of will.
See the GT40 story in brilliant HD in the video below.
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