Ford is an international company with branches all over the free world. The Le Mans event is one of the most important automobile races in the world. We feel that a good showing by our products at Le Mans will reflect favorably on us in the countries where we do business. We also consider Le Mans important because of its toughness — the test to which it puts cars as far as durability and all-round performance are concerned.
Enzo Ferrari has been quoted as saying he is being "steamrollered" in Le Mans-style racing by the wealth of Ford Motor Co. What is your reaction?
We're still newcomers to this type of racing. Taking on the highly established racing teams of Europe involves considerable expense. Also, we're trying to do in a very short period of time what these established teams have devoted many years to. We're simply doing what we think is necessary to try to establish the superiority of our products in a specific area of competition.
It is often said that racing improves the performance and safety of passenger cars. How has it contributed to the Fords on the streets?
Participation in sports, stock and drag car racing has helped us develop better power plants, better steering, better suspension systems, better brakes, better aerodynamics and better all-round handling and performance. (By the way, it has helped the rubber companies build safer, longer-lasting tires, too.) Many of these advances already have been incorporated into our passenger cars and trucks, and many more will be in coming years. We call our GT cars "laboratories on wheels." While in some cases it may take considerable time to translate our racing knowledge into production-line vehicles, we're convinced that what we're learning in our present GT program is helping us build better, safer and more efficient automobiles for general use.