‘THE COBRA FERRARI WARS’ comes to TV in the UK

In 1959 Carroll Shelby, a Texas cowboy, chicken farmer and Aston Martin racing driver, achieved the unimaginable and beat Ferrari at Le Mans. For Shelby the victory was a personal one, the culmination of a decade of hard work in Europe racing against the previously undefeated Enzo Ferrari, a man whose imperious manner had rubbed Shelby up the wrong way.

With the arrival of the new Ferrari GTO and Shelby’s retirement from driving, it seemed as if Ferrari’s return to total dominance at Le Mans was assured, but Shelby wasn’t done yet. He had a dream - he’d build his own car and team and return to Europe. And so began the Cobra Ferrari wars.

British director Richard Symons has spent over four years researching, filming and compiling unique, never-before-seen footage of this dramatic era in motor racing history. The Cobra Ferrari Wars documentary is produced to recapture the spirit of the 60’s in it’s racing action, soundtrack and graphics and is a compelling tale of courage and dogged determination that will be shown on BBC television this Summer.

The unique footage tells the story of how self-belief and circumstances combine to propel a bunch of Southern Californian hot rodders and their charismatic leader against incredible odds to wage war in Europe and give Enzo Ferrari the hiding of his life.

From an idea and just one employee, Shelby’s three year roller coaster ride sees him go on to make some of the most desirable cars on the planet (the Cobra, the Shelby Mustangs and the GT40), grow to 800 employees across 5 racing teams, and ultimately to beat Enzo Ferrari and the European establishment on its own stomping ground - Le Mans.

For petrolheads and those intrigued by this titanic David and Goliath struggle The Cobra Ferrari Wars makes compelling viewing. The programme will be shown first on BBC4 Digital on Monday June 17 at 9.00pm (following the Le Mans racing weekend), and will migrate to BBC national TV soon after. Check local TV listings this summer for actual broadcast times.

Editor's note: for anyone interested in this era of racing, this promises to be a great programme to watch. I have had the book for some years now and read and re-read it many times. Set those VCRs right away!