Created by Steve McQueen in 1968 to produce the movie "Bullitt," the Solar production company recruited no less than 41 drivers for the filming of "Le Mans," following the 1970 edition of the 24 Hours.
Among them figured six previous and future winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Masten Gregory, Jacky Ickx, Richard Attwood, Gérard Larrousse, Derek Bell and Jürgen Barth. Along with Jochen Rindt, in 1965 Gregory won Ferrari's ninth and last victory. In 1969, Jacky Ickx and his Ford GT0 passed Hans Hermann's Porsche 908 for the victory in the last lap...Hermann going on to win in 1970 with Richard Attwood. Second that year, Larrousse won two consecutive wins with Matra in 1973 and '74. Thereafter, Derek Bell became one of Jacky Ickx's favourite teammates: the Brit winning three of his five wins at his side. As for Jürgen Barth, it was also with Ickx, and American driver Hurley Haywood, that he reached the highest step on the podium in 1977.
Steve McQueen spent a lot of time with the 41 drivers hired for the film. He was no longer an actor playing a role, more like a driver-producer. He left at their disposal a private airplane, chartered by Solar, to take them to races in which they were competing during their participation in the "Le Mans" movie. One among them, the New Zealander Rob Slotemaker, was in charge of putting the cars into skids or spins for the filming of reshoots as necessary. One of the aspects of filming the movie that imposed upon the drivers the most was the extended waiting periods between takes. Masten Gregory tempered his impatience by...learning to play chess!
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Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY JUNE 13-14 1970. After having won Porsche's first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, British driver Richard Attwood and German driver Hans Herrmann were recruited for the filming of "Le Mans."