From the circuit to the big screen

"Le Mans '66" is the latest in a long list of films that have Formula 1 and NASCAR races as their theme, and which have been released in theaters.

On November 15, the movie Le Mans '66 was released in theaters in the United States. This tape, whose original title is Ford vs. Ferrari, is starring two important Hollywood actors, Matt Damon and Christian Bale, and tells the true story of how the engineer Caroll Shelby, at the request of those responsible for Ford Motor Company, managed to develop a car that was able to beat the Ferrari cars in the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1966. Le Mans '66, which has raised a lot of money and received very good reviews, follows in the wake of a good handful of films that have brought true stories to the big screen and fiction related to the engine. These are some of them:

Rush (2013)

Director Ron Howard recreated in this film the rivalry of Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the 1970s, focusing especially on the 1976 World Cup, won by Hunt by a single point, and in which Lauda almost died in a serious accident. The German Daniel Brühl and the Australian Chris Hemsworth were the protagonists of a film in which, according to critics, the bad relationship between both pilots was exaggerated.

Senna (2010)

The British Asif Kapadia decided in 2010 to tell the story of one of the most beloved and longed-for pilots of the Grand Circus, the Brazilian Ayrton Senna, who died in 1994 in an accident in Imola. This documentary pays special attention to Senna's last years and his concern for track safety, and has the testimonies of paddock personalities such as Alain Prost, Frank Williams or Ron Dennis.

Ferrari (2003)

This almost unknown biopic honors one of the most important figures in the history of Formula 1, Enzo Ferrari, and reviews his career since his beginnings as manager of Alfa Romeo to the foundation of the Scuderia in 1929. It also reveals an important detail of the life of Ferrari, which had to hide during the German occupation of Italy during World War II because the Nazis thought it manufactured weapons for the Resistance.

Days of Thunder (1990)

Tom Cruise was the actor who brought to life Cole Trickle, a NASCAR driver based on a real character, the pilot Tim Richmond. In this film, several runners of the moment, such as Rusty Wallace, Neil Bonnett and Harry Gant, made cameos. The competition itself collaborated with director Tony Scott in production, and builder Hendrick Motorsports provided the cars that were used in the film.

The last American hero (1973)

A young Jeff Bridges was the protagonist of this film based on an essay by Tom Wolfe, and he freely adapted the story of the NASCAR driver Junior Johnson. Elroy Jackson Jr., the main character, is a young man who seeks to earn money to get his father out of jail, and who ends up becoming a NASCAR driver despite the many problems he encounters on the road.

Le Mans (1971)

With this film actor Steve McQueen finally achieved his dream of making a film about motor competitions. The 24 Hours of Le Mans are the scene of this film, in which McQueen was the protagonist, and that meant a turning point in his career. More than 40 years later, the documentary Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans recounted the intrahistory of the film's production.

Grand Prix (1966)

This film was historic for several reasons. In the first place, because it was filmed in six circuits of the 1966 World Cup. Likewise, pilots such as Bruce McLaren, Phil Hill or Jim Clark participated in it, and technical innovations were applied that were subsequently awarded at the Oscars. In this film, John Frankenheimer created his own Formula 1 World Cup, making James Garner or Yves Montand pilots of the Grand Circus.

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