Ever since the success of the Senna film in 2010 there has been talk of more films, with racing at their heart, making it to the big screen. It’s fair to say that racing films have not really enjoyed much success beyond the piston head market. Whilst I can watch “Le Mans” and “Grand Prix” many times most critics were not impressed. There have been other racing movies since but none has made much impact – but that looks like it could soon change.

The 1976 F1 World Championship battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, McLaren and Ferrari, was one of the most epic racing seasons of all time. Hunt, the flamboyant English playboy, was a darling of the British public and Lauda, the precise Austrian World Champion, was the villain. Added to the patriotic drama was the amazing story of Lauda’s recovery mid way through the season after a terrible fiery crash. And set against all of this was Hunt’s tortuous private life, his insecurity, and his disintegrating marriage.

Bringing all this drama to the screen would not be easy but the producers have picked a great director in Ron Howard (Apollo 13 etc). Take a look at the trailers on YouTube. The film looks like it will be fantastic. I Thought I was going to have to wait till mid September to see the film with everyone else but last week the Goodwood Road Racing Club announced they had organised an exclusive preview showing of the film, with an introduction from one of the producers, in Soho on Monday evening. I can’t wait. Luckily I read David Benson’s excellent slim summary of the season (“Hunt v Lauda”) a few months ago so a lot of the story will be fresh in my mind. I recommend the book. It can be picked up for a couple of quid on eBay.

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