Hollywood and the movies have had a love affair with speed and motor racing since the silent films. James Dean had a passion for Porsche cars – shared by Steve McQueen who produced and starred in the film Le Mans but raced cars for many years, his best finish being 2nd place in the Sebring 12Hrs in a Porsche 908, sometimes entering car and motorcycle races under the false name of Harvey Mushman – including racing a Mini at Brands Hatch! But McQueen wasn’t the only actor to race… Paul Newman starred in the film ‘Winning’ and was a serious racer too – finishing 2nd at Le Mans in a Porsche 935 and going on to form the successful Indy team, Newman Haas. From the same era of ‘too cool’ and ‘too good looking’ actors was James Garner who starred in the film ‘Grand Prix’ – a film role that allowed the racing bug to bite which included entering the Baja 500, Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Then there’s Tom Cruise in ‘Days of Thunder’ but he prefers a P51 Mustang fighter to get his adrenaline flowing. There have been many, many racing films (some of them not so good e.g. Driven) and there have been a few that have achieved cult status – ‘Two Lane Blacktop’ being one but there have been very few actors who have been ‘cooler’ off screen than they were on it. One final word on the subject – Patrick Dempsey is a very good racing driver and is highly respected in the motor sport world – he raced a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to 4th in class at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race with co-drivers Joe Foster and Patrick Long – his second go at the greatest race on the planet having raced there in 2009… and he’s an actor in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. To quote McQueen (and Dempsey feels this way too having said he’d race full time if he could give up acting) – ““I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races or a racer who acts.” We now await the next instalment – Rush… it has a lot to live up to.