With the off season most racers are getting ready for the new season, rebuilding a motor, upgrading to a new class, performing annual maintenance or even starting a full ground up rebuild of the race car. Now is also a perfect time to relax a little and enjoy some great racing movies. Here are some of my favorites.
Race Car Movies
The classic Steve McQueen racing movie. Very little dialogue but fantastic racing footage including some captured during the actual 1970 Le Mans race. The movie covers the battle between Porsche and Ferrari and offers some unique views with a camera car actually participating in the race.
The 1966 classic racing movie with footage captured from actual Formula 1 races and rare behind the scenes access to Ferrari. The movie features many cameos from actual Formula 1 drivers of that era. Formula Three cars were mocked up to look like Formula 1 cars and also modified to carry cameras and actual camera operators.
A fantastic documentary covering the life and racing career of one of the all time greats, Ayrton Senna. The movie uses archival racetrack footage and rare home video clips provided by the Senna family. It highlights his Formula 1 career, the intense rivalry with Alain Prost and the dynamics behind Formula 1 including the push for improved safety.
An excellent recent movie covering the 1976 Formula 1 championship battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Has some great camera angles and fantastic racing machinery on display.
1: Life On The Limit
A documentary chronicling the history of Formula 1 racing focusing on the risks, deaths and improvements in safety. It uses extensive and often rare archival footage. It is great to see inside how Formula 1 has progressed throughout the years.
Love The Beast
A personal favorite documentary that covers the love affair between Eric Bana and his 1974 Ford XB Falcon Hardtop. It offers a great insight into the life of a petrolhead and how the car connects him and his mates.
Winning The Racing Life of Paul Newman
A outstanding documentary covering Paul Newman's racing career. It has some great interviews and awesome footage of Datsun race cars.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Will Farrell at his finest in this hilarious take on NASCAR racing.
Days of Thunder
The story of a young racer getting a chance to compete in NASCAR. It includes appearances from several NASCAR drivers and features some footage filmed during the 1989 NASCAR season.
A look inside the life of young racers. It chronicles two young boys (Josh & Brandon) and a young girl (Annabeth) as they prepare for and compete during the World Karting Associations National Series championship.
Weekend of a Champion
A behind the scenes look at Jackie Stewart as he prepares for and races in the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix. It has some rare and candid insights into the life of a Formula 1 driver in the 1970s.
Truth in 24
A movie that covers Audi's entry in the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans. Offering unique behind the scenes coverage of what it takes to compete from the drivers and crew perspective.
Truth in 24 II - Every Second Counts
A follow up to the original Truth in 24, it covers Audi's entry into the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Again it offers rare behind the scenes coverage of what it takes to compete from the drivers and crew perspective.
One of the best documentaries that provides a candid insight into the world of motorcycle road racing. A look inside why people love to race on these open street roads despite the very real dangers and deaths that occur. It covers the Northern Ireland Dunlop Family as they race and compete at the Isle of Man TT.
On Any Sunday
One of the best documentaries covering motorcycling racing and the riders that do it. The movie includes impressive motorcycling racing footage and covers the different skills and approaches needed and used by the riders.
Hitting the Apex
A view inside the world of Moto GP. Features many famous riders as they compete for the coveted title. The movie covers the lives of some of the fastest riders as they come up through the ranks to best the doctor, Valentino Rossi.
Long Way Round
A Long Way Round is a documentary covering the 2004 motorcycle journey of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they travel from London eastward to New York. An arduous journey on motorcycles including tough border crossings and breakdowns along the way.
Long Way Down
A follow up to a Long Way Round. A Long Way Down is a documentary covering the 2007 motorcycle journey of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they travel from Scotland down to Cape Town, South Africa.
Dust to Glory Trailer
A documentary covering the Baja 1000 race filmed during the 2003 event. It provides a unique view of this challenging race including behind the scenes with the teams, racers and riders that compete.
Covers the development and entry of electric motorcycles into one of the hardest motorcycle races in the world the Isle of Man. Covers several teams as they attempt to win the race with zero emissions.