Motorsports provides plenty of material for Hollywood to draw upon when crafting biopics about drivers and competitors alike, from feats of sheer skill to fierce rivalries. Here are ten drivers whose compelling stories deserve biopic treatment onscreen.
Legend cars were introduced as an accessible, enjoyable racing class in 1992. These 5/8 scale fiberglass full-fender cars are divided into four divisions for experienced and novice drivers, from Pro to Semi Pro and back again.
1. Mario Andretti
Andretti started his racing career in modified stock cars before quickly transitioning into sprint car races for the United States Auto Club and indoor midget cars on their winter circuit, but ultimately wasn’t able to rely solely on this form of income generation for his family’s support.
After making his Formula One debut in a Lotus at Kyalami, South Africa in 1974, Andretti went on to win both the Questor Grand Prix (a non-championship event) and then go full season racing for underfunded Parnelli team in 1975.
Andretti not only excelled on short oval tracks and NASCAR, but he was also renowned for his performance at one of the world’s most acclaimed road courses; winning four Indianapolis 500s along the way. Hailing from Italy himself, Andretti was known to be fierce competitor who had no tolerance for losers; both himself and legendary rival AJ Foyt became household names throughout America.
2. Kenny Brack
Auto racing is an inherently hazardous sport where an instant of negligence could change or end lives, yet some drivers still manage to establish themselves as legends of motorsport history.
Kenny Brack competed full time in both Indy Racing League and CART from 1997-2003, earning several championship titles such as IRL in 1998. Furthermore, he became only the second Swedish driver ever to win Indianapolis 500!
Brack made an extraordinary recovery after suffering serious injuries in a 2003 Indy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Since then, he has worked as a test driver for McLaren Automotive and contributed significantly to both their 720S and Senna models’ dynamic development, and forthcoming models that may yet be announced.
3. Richard Petty
Richard Petty had racing in his blood from birth thanks to his father Lee and brother Maurice, both of whom encouraged him to become involved with their pit crew as an apprentice mechanic at an early age.
Petty made his debut as a competition stock car driver 16 days after turning 21 at an oval track in Toronto, Canada. Although he took first place, his father protested the race officials for what he saw as a scoring error that gave his son the victory.
Petty went on to win seven Daytona 500s and 200 total races during his NASCAR career, founding several racing teams including Petty Enterprises with its signature Hemi engine as its powerplant.
4. Mario Andretti Jr.
Mario Andretti and Aldo Andretti immigrated to America in 1955 from Montona, Italy and quickly began racing modified stock cars in Pennsylvania. Building their own racecars from scratch and taking turns driving, the two quickly earned fame for their racing prowess and won multiple races over time.
Andretti is an icon, boasting 52 championship car wins (second only to A.J. Foyt with 67). He has found success on road courses, oval tracks and dirt tracks alike.
Michael and Marco Andretti continue the family name’s legacy in motor racing through their sons Michael and Marco, both having successfully raced Formula One, Indy Car and Sprint Car series. Additionally, both have founded DC Shoes and Hoonigan lifestyle brands as well as featuring in viral YouTube stunt driving videos known as Gymkhana series.
5. Gilles Villeneuve
Gilles Villeneuve made his mark on Formula 1 history as the first driver from Quebec ever to reach that tier, impressing fans, colleagues, and media alike with his passion for speed and humorous persona. Determined to win and charismatic in nature he won over fans, colleagues and press alike.
Villeneuve developed his driving abilities on the roads of Berthierville, Quebec while tinkering with his own cars. Although he did not intend to make racing his profession of choice, his talent eventually led him down this path.
At Jarama in 1981 he used his superior straightline speed to drive an unruly Ferrari 126C1 turbo to victory while keeping five faster cars behind him thanks to its superior straightline acceleration. Prior to that he had been an exceptional performer at Montreal Grand Prix before joining Jody Scheckter at Ferrari in 1979.