In “Go Like Hell,” a book about Ford’s desperate quest to beat Ferrari at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, author A.J. Baime writes about the importance of a driver becoming one with his car.
Ford, with its endless budget, thought it could simply buy victory by throwing money at it. Hire the best engineers. Buy the best parts. Contract the best drivers.
But when Ford’s machines faltered at the 1964 race, and even more disastrously in 1965, the company learned a hard lesson: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
The following year, Ford took a more tactical approach. Almost immediately after the June 1965 race, it got to work on winning in 1966. Carroll Shelby and his driver/engineer, Ken Miles, took the car out as often as they could.
“Finally the car was getting the development work it needed, and with each lap, Miles’ intimacy with the car grew deeper,” Baime wrote. “His colleagues described ‘an almost mystical sense’ of the car’s inner workings.”
These tests helped Ford and Carroll Shelby home in on the car’s critical issues. With Miles’ feedback, they learned what worked, what didn’t, and where improvements could be made.
That’s how I plan to treat this sports section going forward. I need to develop the same connection with it as Miles did with his car. Only then can I get it running like a fine-tuned machine.
However, the fall season is just days away. So, I don’t have time to wait and see. Our car is being entered in Le Mans as-is.
But with your help, we won’t falter. As I learn who’s who and put names to faces over the next few months, I’ll need my dedicated readers to keep me in the know.
At a game? Take a picture and send it. Think you have a good story? Tell us about it. Are there areas where our coverage could be stronger? Shoot me an email and let me know.
Unlike Ford, our resources are not unlimited. We can’t throw money at every problem.
But we have something greater. We have a network of tens of thousands of readers, all intimately familiar with the inner workings of their communities.
As Ford ultimately did in 1966, we can capture that checkered flag by working together.
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