Speed Channel Talks with Shelby about Le Mans

“Henry Ford II looked at the circumstances (a struggling Ford GT program) and said that we have the might of the Ford Motor Company with an army of engineers and unlimited budget, but we’re getting our butts kicked by a bunch of California hot rodders working out of a rented speed shop by the Los Angeles airport. We need to have that guy running our program,” Despain recounted. “In the middle of the World Championship effort (with the Daytona Coupe), Shelby had to essentially subcontract it to a guy named Alan Mann, who went on to win that championship for Shelby’s cars.

“Shelby and his team devoted their attention to the GT-40. It was not an easy task, as it took them until 1966 to get all the pieces in place and finally win the race. When they did, it was a dominant and historic performance.”

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[Source: Speed]