Yesterday, the Gaumont cinema on the Champs Elysées was the venue of a special screening of LE MANS ’66 with members of the film cast and crew and several past and present Le Mans 24 Hours drivers, hosted by race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Director James Mangold and actors Matt Damon and Christian Bale were in Paris for the occasion, visibly delighted to play a part in telling the tale of one of the most enthralling episodes in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On stage alongside Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, the three men heaped praise on the ACO who did the utmost to ensure the film accurately portrayed the racing scenes and pit-lane atmosphere of the time. Audiences in two cinemas in Le Mans were able to view the interviews as they happened.
In all, a thousand people were treated to a preview screening of the film that focuses on the larger-then-life characters involved in Ford’s quest to end Ferrari’s domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which came to a head in 1966. Fans of sporting and human endeavour were rivetted by the intense emotions and pulse-racing scenes of the world’s greatest endurance event and spellbound by the grit and determination of two men bound by a common goal.
Among the guests at the special screening were:
- Drivers who have lifted the Le Mans 24 Hours trophy on several occasions: Tom Kristensen, Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo, Gérard Larrousse and Benoit Tréluyer
- Motor racing dignitaries: Pierre Fillon (ACO President), Jean Todt (FIA President) and Richard Mille (FIA Endurance Committee President)
- Television presenters: Denis Brogniart, Jean-Pierre Gagick, Guillaume Pley, Vincent Cerutti
- Sportsman: Camille Lacourt
- Comedian: Tom Villa
- Models: Giovanni Bonamy and Ted Ranghella
- Youtubers: Simon Says, Captain Popcorn, James Baker
SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story, visionary American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.