Classic Sports Car

SILVER SCREEN ACES

The usual suspects, and then some, who turned their hands to motorsport away from the safety of the silver screen

- WORDS RICHARD HESELTINE PHOTOGRAPH­Y AUTHOR’S OWN/GETTY

Thespians who could act the part on track

There have been countless films rooted in motorsport, most of which comprise one big credibilit­y chasm. Invariably, a driver will go faster by shifting down a gear while suddenly discoverin­g an extra inch or two of throttle movement. Either that or they will make eye contact with, and gesticulat­e wildly to, another driver while travelling at north of 200mph. Oh, and at some point they will probably have to drive through fire in a bid to locate their misplaced mettle, and… well, you get the idea. Such celluloid ‘gems’ require rather a high tolerance for suffering on the part of the viewer, not to mention the jettisonin­g of reason.

However, while few racing flicks can be traced back to anything like reality, a handful of stars made the leap from thespian to driver in real life. Some were a bit rubbish, others conspicuou­sly less so. Gathered here are 10 of those who clearly loved driving a racing car, and not merely as filmic artifice.

Some, such as driver/team owner Paul Newman, achieved a lot, while others competed only for a short time but made an impression for all the right reasons. Conversely, another built his own car long before he ventured into showbusine­ss. It’s far from definitive, but these were rather more convincing as racing drivers than the racers who have had a go at acting…

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