Henry Ford II had wanted a Ford at Le Mans since the early 1960s. In the spring of 1963, Ford reportedly received word that Enzo Ferrari was interested in selling to Ford Motor Company. Enzo cut the deal off prematurely as Ferrari wanted to remain the sole operator of his company's motor sports division and out of spite, an enraged Henry Ford II, directed his racing division to build a Ferrari-beater on the world endurance-racing circuit. With the Ferrari deal broken, Henry Ford II famously gave the directive.“If we can't buy 'em, we'll beat 'em”!
He set his sights on that and in 1966, Henry Ford II said, of Lemans, “You'd better win”, which they did, finally displacing Ferrari (who won at Le Mans six times in a row from 1960 to 1965). The Ford GT40 went on to win the 24 hours of Le Mans four times in a row, from 1966 to 1969. It was built to win long distance sports car races against Ferrari and thoroughly succeeded, establishing a legendary motorsport tale.