One of the most-anticipated motorsport films in recent memory has drawn the attention of one of the best-known automotive enthusiasts in the entertainment business, Jay Leno.
With “Ford v Ferrari” just weeks away from its theatrical debut, star Matt Damon made an appearance at Jay Leno’s Garage to talk Cobras and Le Mans with Leno, who claims one of the film’s key characters as a personal hero.
Shortly after being introduced, Damon, who plays Leno’s hero, Carroll Shelby, in the film, helps Leno re-create the cover of the May, 1965 cover of Road & Track depicting Shelby alongside the Ford GT40, Mustang GT350 and the Shelby Cobra.
Damon—who Leno credits as an actor and director, the writer of “Good Will Hunting,” and Ben Affleck’s BFF—in that order, stars alongside Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles in the movie documenting Ford’s attempt to build a car that would dethrone Ferrari at Le Mans in the 1960s.
Damon’s admiration for the builders and drivers of what many consider racing’s defining era comes through in his comments about the figures he studied while making the film.
“These guys were a special breed,” Damon says, “They would just get the biggest engine they could and put it on the lightest thing they could find.”
“There are stories from back then of guys flipping a car and fuel dripping on them and they’re just in the middle of cow fields; they’re in a pasture, and nobody’s going to come save them. It’s still a dangerous sport, obviously, but not like what these guys were doing,” he says.
After discussing the Ford vs. Ferrari feud and the movie itself, Damon takes Leno for a ride in the genuine 289 Shelby Cobra he drove to the set, and the two admire its old-school brawn as they cruise around southern California.
“Ford v Ferrari” hits theaters on November 15.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.