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Motorsport Heroes – Five stories, one enduring spirit
Posted By: Editor   |  03 Jan 2019   |  6:27 pm GMT  |  47 comments

Michèle Mouton, Mika Häkkinen, Tom Kristensen & Felipe Massa to feature in a major theatrical release.

Motorsport Network’s first major feature film commission, Motorsport Heroes, revealed its cast list and offered a sneak preview of its compelling narrative today.

After an intensive period of filming and editing, Motorsport Heroes’ BAFTA and Sundance-award winning director & producer, Manish Pandey, took time out to outline his vision for the forthcoming film.

Motorsport Heroes tells the story of five legends of motorsport, whose lives are intimately intertwined and interconnected as they all scale the heights of their sport, while contending with profound personal challenges along the way.

Not only does the film have Pandey’s trademark emotional punch, immortalised in his first feature, Senna, but the biographical landscape of each of the characters is resonant with drama and pathos. This is achieved with Pandey’s technical approach to the narrative that makes Motorsport Heroes genuinely radical – the film will break the mould not just for its rich chronicle, but also for the manner of its storytelling.

Heroes puts four central protagonists together in a setting that is conducive to recounting their incredible life stories, their successes as much as their trials and tribulations. But rather than script the story, Tom, Felipe, Michèle and Mika relay their own recollections, they share their experiences and thus the narrative we are drawing out is entirely organic, driven by our heroes themselves,” Pandey said.

Michèle Mouton is a singular star of motorsport, the most successful female competitor in top level motorsport, who scaled the heights of a male-dominated sport and won rallies at world championship level. After retiring as a competitor, she carved out a noteworthy career in motorsport governance with the FIA and founded the international circus of motorsport, the Race of Champions, where all of Heroes’ characters coalesce.

The second hero is Mika Häkkinen, who requires little introduction as Michael Schumacher’s nemesis and arch-rival. The two-time Formula 1 World Champion and winner of 20 Grands Prix is one of the most celebrated drivers of the modern era, but his story is spiked with the trauma of his life-threatening accident and head injury in Adelaide in 1995.

After competing against Häkkinen and Schumacher in F3 in the early stages of his racing career, the film’s third character is Tom Kristensen, the greatest hero of the 24 hours of Le Mans, the world’s most famous and gruelling motor race.

In one of the many coincidences and connections explored throughout the film, Häkkinen is racing against Kristensen in a touring car race when the Dane suffers his own life-threatening crash at Hockenheim in 2007.

Survival and achievement in the face of adversity becomes one of the recurring themes as the film unlocks the story of Felipe Massa, a talent who blossomed while teammates at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher, who mentored the young Brazilian. His spirit and perseverance is also in part considered through the lens of his 2009 head injury during the Hungarian GP and his subsequent rehabilitation and return to racing.

Pandey continued, “To frame and catalyse their stories, our ‘cast’ spent a weekend together in an English stately home, doing what you do in a county house setting – sharing breakfast together, venturing out for a walk in beautiful parkland, retreating to seats around the fire and as the group bonds and find common experience, so the film journeys into some of the darker reaches of their lives where each of our Heroes are realised as they relate how they found the reserve of spirit to overcome challenges that would crush lesser people.

It is a story best told by those who were there and by setting these four motorsport personalities together, the intimacy and commonality of their shared experience means that we learn far more about the essence of a racing hero by telling their stories in their voices,” he concluded.

As the four interweaving narratives that criss-cross the film are brought to life with archive footage, the film bears witness to the recurrent presence of Michael Schumacher, who touches all four stories, providing Motorsport Heroes with its fifth story, rich in triumph and tragedy.

The film has formed a partnership with the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière (ICM), a global powerhouse of neurological research founded by Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher, the president of the FIA Medical Commission, Professor Gérard Saillant and Louis C. Camilleri, the new chairman of Ferrari among others. The ICM’s foundation and continued work provides a backdrop to the life stories played out in Motorsport Heroes.

Motorsport Network’s President, James Allen said, “I’m already moved just watching some of the early rushes from this film. No-one tells a story like Manish Pandey, as we all saw with Senna. And like Senna, I believe this film’s appeal will cross over to non-motorsport audiences. Racing drivers are not like the rest of us – they test themselves to an unreasonable degree. There are as many challenges and setbacks as moments of glory. This film conveys this in a unique way.”

Motorsport Heroes is scheduled for general release in May and will also be available across Motorsport Network channels.

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I’m really pleased to see Michele Mouton included in this project. She is certainly not the token woman – she thoroughly deserves her place. The single most successful woman in the history of Motor Sport who competed on a level playing field with the men.

MIchele makes a complete nonsense of the proposed all-women racing series.


Before heroes there were people. I am not even going to say that I used to enjoy the content of JAonF1. This site must have generous donors to exist. It feel soulless… anyway.

ThisMoviePromo peace just underlines the road F1 are right now – nowhere. Skirtrising is the name of the game F1 owners find themselves wrapped into. Even Verstappen (talented but schizophrenic) will not save them.


we should have a racing museum with stories and mechanical parts to we can go on to see Motorsport heroes.


Happy New Year to all.
This article reminds me of something i read about this time last year (i think) regarding the 2018 season being filmed for a Netflix F1 series…
Does anyone have any info on that?


Ferrari didn’t want to participate. That’s what I know, nothing else.

Maybe it’s fun to watch behind the scenes.

But they should have made a documentary about the so called title fights between Mercedes and Ferrari. But that would have eventually turned out to be very dull, as we all now know. The title fight that is.

A few highlights would have been nice like Monza ect.

The strategy briefings at Merc and Ferrari I would have watched though


Really looking forward to watching what should be an excellent film. Fascinating characters, and the link back to Michael is a perfect touch.

…but… shouldn’t the title be “Motorsport Heroes – five stories, one enduring spirit”…?

As written “…enduring one spirit” it reads as they are having to survive one sprint, not share in the one sprint… unless they only served Jonny Walker Black Label at the country retreat… which would be enduring one spirit… unless the author’s meaning is they are all enduring the one spirit of Michael? (I think not…). Or my own English is off due to too much Christmas Spirit….!


You’re right, a slip on our part! Amended.


Happy to help! 🙂 thanks for acknowledging and Happy New Year! Hope 2019 is excellent for us all!


Good to hear about this. Now I’ll echo others’ question as to whether we can expect a Top Five Drivers of 2018 article from JA, or a season review, etc. I’m sure he’s busy with his presidential duties now, but I think everyone here would like to read JA’s take on those subjects. Thank you.


I think we’re past this now, no? 2019 you can’t be reviewing 2018. It’s a December thing.

How about we flip it and go top 5 motorsport movies of all time? Not much choice, right?

I’m going with:

Le Mans

Grand Prix



Talladega Nights


Not sure about Talladega nights. Maybe “Weekend of a Champion” by the infamous Roman Polanski is a better choice. At least as far as serious insights into f1 in the seventies is concerned.


That Polanski film was goid, apart from the scene of Jackie in his Y fronts!


It was supposed to be an intimate insight into Jackie’s weekend and that was as intimate as they could have realistically gone.

But seriously, it’s great to to be able to see Monaco in 1971, as well as the cars of the time, in such amazing quality on the big screen.

Films like that are real treasures today as far as I’m concerned.


Honest a goodness, never knew this movie existed. I guess I have something to watch over the off-season.


There you go.


It would be Hamilton first and the rest is completely open for debate.

Max / Vettel /LeClerc in any order of 2nd, 3rd and 4th as all three had many highs and lows.
Then Kimi who was arguably the most consistent after Hamilton.


Alonso, Ricciardo, Vettel, Kimi then up for debate


Lol … well at least we know who your top 4 favourite drivers are, in order.


Where would you have Alonso NickH? RaceFans had him 4th while F1Metrics has him 2nd!

I think 2nd is ridiculous, but F1Metrics has always inflated Fernando’s rating from the get-go. Even 4th is too high imo … yeah he beat Vandoorne 21-0 in qualifying, but in the positions he was racing there was simply no pressure on him.

People can say it’s not his fault the McLaren is slow, yet it’s also the case that Fernando engineered his way out of two top teams whenever he was paired with a top-line driver.

I think being in a title fight should add weight to the performances. As an example, I would be more forgiving of Vettel’s mistakes while under the pressure of the title fight, than I would be of Verstappen’s early errors, when sometimes it really seemed harder to not win, as in China.

There are three pressure situations I can think of for drivers, depending on their current situation in F1. There is the pressure that comes with being in a title fight. There’s also the pressure of having to drive to keep your place in the sport. Lastly, there’s the pressure of going up another top-line driver, and having to beat them to maintain or enhance your position in the driver pecking order.

As far as I am concerned, Alonso faced none of these pressures in 2018, and that should factor into any rating.


Jeez light the Beacons sound the baby alarm🔊 the “rug rats tiny d 👾” is back!
I thought he fell down a plug hole🙈


I know you missed me, BJ


I agree I wouldn’t have Fernando in the top 5. Top 10 yes.

I think you have to give more weight to the cars at the front as there is more pressure to deliver. That’s why I’d have Vettel in the top 5 as despite his errors he still delivered some impressive wins. Same with Max.


and Hamilton drops out of the top 5 given that he had way superior machinery


So the president of the company that produced the film thinks its good? Got it.


A little like FIA thinking Formula 1 regulations deliver a fair competition?

Or like us thinking FIA is something other than a marketing organization?


Archive footage from that era in really good quality is pure gold as far as I’m concerned.

Just make sure the engine sounds are really high in the mix, especially onboards.


Michele Mouton a proper speed queen.
Legend, a woman with big Kahunas.
When Rallying had some crazy fast cars and some amazing crashes. The cars were metal coffins even though they had the speed, and the mad adrenaline speed rally drivers.
Lancia Delta had the fuel tank under and behind the drivers seat. Crazy design flaw (with no regard for the driver & co-driver), on impact just ended up in a fireball.
Plus the crowds were crazy playing chicken with these monsters come at them at speed. Few deaths were an inevitable consequence.
Did anyone watch the BBC prog on Rallying recently shown again mid last year…Rallying the dangerous years. Just madness, but exciting cars Audi Quattro, Lancia Delta, Opel Manta, Ford Cosworth and That Leyland Metro Monster (looked nothing like a metro more like a Renault 5 LeMan Hot Rod).
Them were the days. Rallying in 21st century just looks muted in comparison.
Michele Mouton you rock !!👍👍👍👍


Good call on the Rallying The Dangerous Years programme about the group B cars and the crowds lining the stages at Mexico I think, it was unbelievable.


Check about 2:00 leading to the onboard footage about 2:35 !!

They also did a good F1 prog, Grand Prix Killer Years, good footage and far better than the title sounds.


Yes watched the F1 Killer Years too. Some amazing sad footage. Unbelievable to realise that some cars were a made from lightweight zinc components that just ignited on impact !! Shocking incidents were drivers still drove on around burning cars and drivers. Remember a British Driver stopped and then tried to slow the other cars for help , to no avail. Then tried hopelessly to free another driver. Meanwhile the Steward had a small water extinguisher that couldn’t put out a child’s Sparkler, let alone a car.
Rally driver in 80s became more popular than F1 at the time, it was the biggest thing on tv. Until they tamed the group B cars. It all fell flat after that.

regarding Liberty,fair enough, they maybe trying new things. But if you loose the essence of the sport then surely the sport becomes a totally different sport.
Too much tinkering the wrong way and you end up with a stinker of a sporting format !


I watched a WRC crash compellation video and Kimi really featured on it with some clumsy crashes that you could point at and laugh. It was an enlightening experience. Made me wonder about the skills needed to drive there vs. F1. With such variable road conditions in WRC, you really can’t have engine modes saving your butt turn by turn, can you?


Sebee, you think rally cars don’t have engine modes?


TimW, I don’t think they have them like F1 cars have them.

It’s one thing to have an engine mode for power band. It’s another to be software controlling energy recovery (braking and braking bias) and ERS (acceleration) and yet another to have instant torque and near light speed control of the throttle with electric motor. And then of course you have to remember that F1 is laps of constantly repeatable pattern, vs. highly variable stage, where they don’t get to do a bunch of laps to find optimal software loop pattern in Free Practice.

So, I don’t think the two are comparable at all. Not even close. What do you think TimW? An I off base with my logic? I think WRC is way harder on the driver and driver skill as they search for every inch of traction.


Sebee, yes I think you’re wildly off base, as usual. Ers deployment has nothing to do with engine modes, as it isn’t controlled by the engine, neither is braking for that matter.


Blimey, a comment from JA. He’s still around then.

James, James….. Mr Allen! Over here matey. Remember us?? We were your faithful support from JAonF1…. you remember, don’t you😳

No!! Ok then.


Only Tumbleweed and cold wind heading our way James k. Back in the old days the harvest was plenty and the articles , F1 news stories kept coming. Thick and fast.
“There’s A Storm Coming !! ” (as the end credits of Terminator , music pipes in).
Mad Max style strange painted stick man shouts… “No more happy times here…!”


Perhaps at some point in the future when James is retiring, he’ll negotiate JamesAllenonF1.com URL as part of his severance package? And he’ll come back here, and we’ll gladly welcome him back, right? We’re not the kind to leave an e-friend!

He may think he’s some President, but he’s really just and only James Allen to us. 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

James…. Why Massa???


Wondering T.A. did you at least get an email with my reply that’s not posted?


Don’t want to cast a negative light on this, but….

Once I was a keen Häkkinen fan. But then Kimi came along. And even before that Mika stopped being cool as soon as he won his first title in 98.

Massa? Nah. Not my kind of driver… And Massa without Smedley makes no sense whatsoever….

But then there are stories of perseverance, drama, pathos, input from Michael Schumacher. Might be worth a try why not……


Crying in the bushes didn’t help the cool Finn narrative, must say.


Yep remember that well.
Assume that gave DC a great boost.
After being threatened with the sack if he didn’t over to let Mika pass him to win the race.


Neither do you crying in front of the TV, help any narrative

But let’s leave that to your conscience.

Just like your hot showers scrubbing the shame away



maybe just that you needed a shower after that episode in the bushes…

But if we want to go the Freudian way it could really mean anything

The horror


Wow … you went from the TV to hot showers pretty quick!

Something you’d like to tell me Chris D? 😚


Phil, If Ferrari would have participated in that Netflix thing then that would have been binge-worthy.

Only for Kimi, but they declined, or maybe it was just Kimi who said thank you, but no thanks.

And as always it was the right decision.


Sounds like a great idea.

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