Newman’s team took second place (first in their class) at the 1979 24 Hours of
Le Mans. Steve McQueen wanted to drive the 1970 race for his docu-like drama Le Mans, but he was not allowed for
insurance reasons. However, for fans in the 1960s, the real stars of the
endurance motor race were Ford and Ferrari. Nate Adams & Adam Carolla (the
actor-comedian playing it straight and staying off-camera) chronicle the
rivalry blow-by-blow in The 24 Hour War (trailer here), which releases
today on VOD.
makes the head spin in the context of today’s world, but Ford very nearly
acquired Ferrari in the early 1960s. The deal was motivated by racing—Ford wanted
to catch up with Chevy fast—and it fell apart due to racing—Old Man Enzo simply
would not allow for any interference with his management of Ferrari racing. Once
the deal was off, Henry Ford II rolled up his sleeves and built up the Ford
racing operation the old-fashioned way—with buckets of cash.
HF2 got what he paid for with some truly innovative designs and sometimes he
was frustrated by simple engineering flaws. Those were the breaks in motor
sports. Of course, some of those breaks were fatal. Like Frank Simon’s Weekend of a Champion (featuring racing
fan Roman Polanski), 24H War takes us
back to a time when deaths behind the wheel were a regular, weekly occurrence.
& Carolla observe several intriguing historical ironies surrounding the
rivalry and take stock of the larger than life figures leading their respective
companies. They also have sit-downs with a host of Ford and Ferrari drivers,
who are not exactly shrinking violets either. However, it is rather baffling
that Carolla of all people would give Ralph Nader some camera time to tsk-tsk
the Big Three for marketing horse power.
Regardless, Adams and Carolla keep the film
motoring along at a good clip and they obviously have good rapport with the
motor sports community, having previously collaborated on the even more
entertaining Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman. Even if you are not a motor sports fan, you should appreciate
the recent bumper crop of surprisingly engaging racing docs, also including Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans. It
is still kind of dull to watch cars race around and around a track, but the
behind-the-scenes stories are fascinating stuff—at least those recorded by
Adams and Carolla. Recommended for sports fans and those interested in the
history of the American automotive industry, The 24 Hour War is now available on iTunes.
Labels: Adam Carolla, Documentary, Le Mans