Matt Damon wanted to capture thrill of race car driving in Ford v Ferrari

Matt Damon had no hesitations over taking a lap of the racetrack with Mario Andretti at the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year.

Matt Damon was determined to capture the excitement of race car driving in Ford v Ferrari.

In the upcoming film, titled Le Mans '66 in the U.K. and other territories, the actor plays Carroll Shelby, an automotive visionary, who alongside his British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), builds the Ford GT40 and competes against the Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

Discussing the project during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, Damon explained that it was important to himself and director James Mangold to express the thrill of the sport.

"It's indescribable... You have to feel it to understand," he said. "And I think in (Ford v Ferrari), we try to give you that feeling ... to feel like you are in those cars going at those speeds, it's really, really exciting."

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active sports car endurance race and has been held annually since 1923. And while the competition continues each year, the vehicles used now are much safer compared to the cars driven back in the '60s.

"It's about their friendship and this crazy thing they tried to do in beating Ferrari in 1966," the 49-year-old shared of the plot. "It's a 24-hour race that still goes on every year, but it's not on a racetrack, it's on country roads that aren't built to be raced on. So, it's this incredible test of endurance. Two drivers man one car and they take turns and Ferrari was just dominant. But it was incredibly dangerous. At this time in 1966, the weakest part of the whole car was the brakes. So, these guys would be going 230 miles an hour (370 kilometres per hour) ... not knowing if they could stop. And a lot of people died doing this."

Elsewhere in the chat, Damon spoke about his experience at the Indianapolis 500 race earlier this year where he was invited to take a lap with 79-year-old race car legend Mario Andretti.

"I was like, 'Yep, absolutely,'" he exclaimed. "I wouldn't do it with anyone else."

Ford v Ferrari hits cinemas from 13 November.

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