DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – IMSA and Hollywood have enjoyed a longstanding connection, both on and off the silver screen.
Movie stars like Patrick Dempsey, Paul Newman, Tim Allen, Dax Shepard and Michael Fassbender have driven in IMSA-sanctioned races over the years. They all followed in the footsteps of another movie star-turned-racer, Steve McQueen, who starred in one of the most renowned sports car movies of all time, 1971s "Le Mans."
Here are five films worth checking out for any IMSA enthusiast:
1. "Ford vs. Ferrari" (2019)
The Academy Award-nominated film starring Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles looks back on the fabled battle between the Dearborn, Michigan-based automotive manufacturer and Maranello, Italy’s sports car constructor. IMSA fans with a sharp eye will notice some familiar places in the background.
2. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" (2019)
Based on Garth Stein’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, this film features the story of IMSA racer Denny Swift – portrayed by Milo Ventimiglia – and his wife, Eve (played by Amanda Seyfried), as told through the eyes of Swift’s dog, Enzo, voiced by Kevin Costner. Patrick Dempsey was one of the films producers, ensuring the authenticity of the IMSA racing scenes. Fair warning: keep the tissues handy for this one…
3. "Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story" (2020)
This Netflix documentary chronicles the racing life of one of the 50 Great IMSA Racers as identified in 2019’s "IMSA: Celebrating 50 Years" book. Ribbs raced everything from Formula Fords to NASCAR, IndyCar to Trans-Am, and achieved considerable success in IMSA, winning races for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers Toyota team.
4. "Hurley" (2018)
He’s on IMSA’s Mount Rushmore as one of the greatest of all time. He’s a five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner, a three-time overall 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and a two-time overall winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. This documentary, with Dempsey as Executive Producer, tells the Haywood’s story on and off the racetrack.
5. "Le Mans" (1971)
Starring McQueen as Michael Delaney, a Porsche driver still reeling over a fatal accident in the previous year’s race, "Le Mans" follows Delaney’s race-long battle with Ferrari racer and arch enemy Erich Stahler, played by German actor Siegfried Rauch. An added bonus film worth checking out is the 2015 documentary, "Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans," which chronicles the filming, which included McQueen doing most of his own racing stunts.